OKC Council considers special election for amendments to City Charter, ONG franchise agreement
The Oklahoma City Council is considering a special election on July 9 for a proposed City Charter amendment affecting Mayor and Council employment restrictions, and a change to the Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) franchise agreement.
The proposed changes were introduced Tuesday, with a final hearing set for the Council meeting on April 23.
If the Council votes April 23 to call the special election, Oklahoma City voters would consider the changes July 9 as separate ballot questions. Each requires a simple majority to pass. The Governor of Oklahoma must also review and sign the voter-approved Charter amendment for it to formally become law.
Find more details on the proposed changes at okc.gov/agenda in documents attached to the agenda items from Tuesday’s Council meeting. The Council voted against considering two other proposed Charter amendments described in the documents.
>> Employment restrictions
The proposed Charter amendment on employment restrictions would allow more state and federal government employees to serve on the City Council.
The amendment would keep restrictions for elected officials and senior government officers like state legislators and school superintendents, who can’t serve on the Council. But it would allow other state and federal government employees, like teachers and engineers, to be Council members.
For example, under current rules Ward 2 Councilman-elect James Cooper must no longer hold his job as a public schoolteacher when he takes his Council seat April 9. But if the proposed amendment were already in place, he could hold both positions at once.
>>ONG franchise agreement
The proposed change to the ONG franchise agreement clarifies the definition of gross cash receipts, which determine the franchise fees ONG pays to the City.
After negotiations, the City and ONG agreed the definition should include certain receipts the City had contended should already be included.
If the change is approved, ONG’s residential and commercial natural gas customers in Oklahoma City could see an increase in their gas bill of about 0.1 percent.
ONG would pay the City about $225,000 in additional annual franchise fees, an increase of about 4 percent. Franchise fees go into the City’s General Fund, which pays for day-to-day operations like police officer and firefighter salaries.
>> Potential election and voting information
If the Council votes on April 23 to call the special election, all Oklahoma City voters registered by June 14 will be eligible to cast a ballot on July 9. Visit okc.gov/WardMap to see an interactive map of City limits.
To check or update your registration status, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website at ok.gov/elections. Find your polling place on your voter ID card or use the online voter tool.
Download a voter registration form at ok.gov/elections. They’re also available at your local county election board, post offices, tag agencies, libraries and other public locations.
Voters who have disabilities can find more information about voter assistance in Oklahoma at ok.gov/elections.
State law requires proof of identity to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are a voter ID card, driver’s license or another form of ID issued by the federal government, state government or federally recognized tribal government. Voters may also cast a provisional ballot by proving their identity with a signed, sworn affidavit, which is available at the polling station.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the potential special election would be 5 p.m. July 3. Apply for an absentee ballot or download an absentee ballot request form at ok.gov/elections.
Overseas voters, including military members, can get more information about overseas absentee voting at ok.gov/elections.
Early voting for the potential special election would be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 4-5 at your local county election board:
- Oklahoma County Election Board, 4201 N Lincoln Blvd., (405) 713-1515
- Cleveland County Election Board, 641 E Robinson Street (Suite 200) in Norman, (405) 366-0210
- Canadian County Election Board, 200 S Bickford Ave. in El Reno, (405) 422-2422
- Pottawatomie County Election Board, 14101 Acme Road in Shawnee, (405) 273-8376.
Regular voting would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 9 at your usual polling location.