In a vote that had a dramatic split on Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council cut $30 million from the MAPS 3 Convention Center budget setting it aside in a contingency fund. Council members considered three separate options for the convention center funding as part of their approval of a more defined MAPS 3 implementation plan.
Last month the council approved an implementation timeline which moved the convention center’s schedule up by 2 1/2 years. As a result, other projects broke into more pieces than the council had originally planned on. The convention center budget as it stands now, minus the $30 million, is $252 million. In addition to that, another $17 million in contingency money was included among the various $777 million MAPS 3 projects.
City Manager Jim Couch reminded the council that the budget is able to be amended in the future, just in case things don’t work out as planned. The option that was recommended by the MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board would have left the budget of the convention center at nearly $280 million. The other option would have split the $30 million between the convention center and MAPS 3 urban park budget.
The contingency fund option was the first one voted on by the council and passed with the support of Mayor Mick Cornett and Council Members Ed Shadid of Ward 2, Pete White of Ward 4, Meg Sayler of Ward 6 and Skip Kelly of Ward 7.
Councilmen Gary Marrs of Ward 1, Larry McAtee of Ward 3, David Greenwall of Ward 5 and Pat Ryan of Ward 8 voted against it. In addition to that, they also expressed a preference for the advisory board’s chosen option with Greenwall and Ryan advocating returning the $30 million to taxpayers if it was not going to be in the convention center budget.
Source: NewsOK.com – Oklahoma City Council lops $30M from convention center budget