Shawnee city commissioners will go into executive session at the start of Monday’s meeting, which will be held at City Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Shawnee city commissioners will go into executive session at the start of Monday’s meeting, which will be held at City Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Commissioners will hold the executive session for discussion of matters relating to sales tax enforcement action, including discussion of retention of outside counsel.

Following the executive session, the City Commission meeting will recess to convene the Shawnee Airport Authority and Shawnee Municipal Authority meetings and then City Commission will reconvene where commissioners will considers matters discussed in executive session.

One item on the consent agenda for City Commission is a budget amendment for general fund 001, which is intended to add additional money to legal services in the city attorney’s budget to accommodate for on going legal services and add additional money to city manger’s contractual services for public relations.

“I am requesting a budget amendment, increasing outside legal services by $100,000,” City Attorney Mary Ann Karns wrote in a memo to the mayor and city commissioners.

Karns outlined in the memo three outside matters pending that are unlikely to be resolved this budget year. Those matters include City v. Arnett, the police officer discipline case, Nash v. City of Shawnee, the paving dispute and City v. Hunter Mechanical, dealing with the City Hall HVAC system.

“We incurred fees for the arbitration of the insurance dispute (most of that in the prior budget year) and had substantial arbitration expenses in the Arnett case,” Karns wrote. “The increase will ensure that we have sufficient funds to complete these matters with sufficient funds to take care of needs as they arise in the remaining months of the year.”

An agenda item related to the consent agenda item for City Commission is discussion, consideration and possible action on a contract with Anglin PR to kick off a public education campaign that educates citizens how sales tax is used to provide necessary city services.

“Some time ago staff began this discussion with commissioners explaining the need for this,” City Manager Brian McDougal wrote in a memo to the mayor and commissioners.

McDougal wrote, “Since the economic downturn of 2009, it has been clear the City of Shawnee has a need to educate our citizens and retailers regarding sales tax and how important it is to the continued viability of providing the services our citizens expect and at increased service levels every day.”

According to the memo, Shawnee currently levies no property tax and the General Fund revenues have only ‘modestly grown’ and are 77 percent funded by sales tax.

“With the initiatives that we have undertaken and will further consider in the future in sales tax collection, we need to educate the retailers and citizens to this critical need,” McDougal wrote. “The success of local government programs and initiatives depends on citizens who are informed and involved.”

In the memo, McDougal explains with the initiatives the city is undertaking “such as sending out a letter to tribes requesting they remit sales tax” that retailers and citizens are unaware of the method of which their city government is funded in the State of Oklahoma.

He further explains the state limits Oklahoma municipalities to three revenue streams which include sales tax in which any increase must be approved by the voters, property tax, in which the city currently levies no property tax; however, if it did it would also need a majority approval of the voters, and court ruling, which the memo explains the City Commission could, at their discretion require the taxpayers to fund a judgment made by the court.

The cost of the initial contract scope of the work for the agenda item will be approximately $45,000, according to the memo.

“The encumbrance for this will be from contractual services out of the City Manager’s budget,” according to the memo.

The additional money needed to handle the project will be coming from the increase of sales tax.

City staff researched firms that would be able to assist with the initiative and Anglin PR in Oklahoma City is the staff recommendation.

There will be a time when citizen’s can voice concerns or opinions, as well as ask any questions to the mayor and commissioners, during citizen participation, which is item number six on the agenda for Monday evening’s meeting.