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Mayor, chamber outline city's next challenges in annual address



In his annual State of the City speech today, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett harked on the recent past with last month's passage of the MAPS 3 initiative, but addressed what the city needs to accomplish in the coming years.

"The last 10 years of this city have been incredible, but it won't compare to the next 10 years," Cornett said.

Among the issues the mayor touched include dealing with the county jail, water rights and protection of the city's public safety departments. Very little of the speech focused on the current budget problems the city is facing as city leaders grapple with a $17 million shortfall.

The City Council has been debating whether or not to implement a use tax along with the MAPS 3 one-cent sales tax to fund public safety needs. Cornett said the use tax puts the city in a position to financially protect the police and fire departments. Other council members have voiced concern dedicating the use tax for public safety could put other city services in peril.

David Thompson, chair of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and president of OPUBCO, said the chamber will focus on bringing jobs to the Tinker Air Force Base complex, improvements to the airport, shoring up the funding gap with the I-40 and downtown boulevard construction, and working on passing workers compensation reform in the state Legislature.

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