Spurgeon Predicts Strong Year

Managing Editor

STATE OF THE CITY: On Dec. 9, Michael Spurgeon gave his first State of the City address as Broken Arrow’s City Manager. Spurgeon spoke about the city’s positive financial situation and its continuing growth as well as his future plans to survey citizens on the city’s sanitation and recycling programs and create a yearly financial newsletter to provide greater government transparency.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

Broken Arrow City Manager Michael Spurgeon made it clear in his State of the City address on Dec. 9 that his focus is on maintaining what works in the city while searching out the areas of improvement.

One area where the city is doing well is in its financial efficiency.
The City of Broken Arrow recently received a Stable rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Spurgeon plans to work at holding onto that rating and maintaining a balanced budget as well as looking at the long term: “I want to focus on a sustainable vision: how are our decisions going to affect us five years down the road; I want us to be financially efficient with our tax dollars.”

Another area that the city is doing well is in its local relationships, namely with the school district and the local business community, he said, mentioning the regular communication he has with Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall and Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce President and Wes Smithwick.

“It’s important to have good relationships between the school district, business community and the city and that the city is involved with all of those conversations,” he said.

The city is also doing well in its growth of downtown Broken Arrow.

The city’s efforts to spur private investment in the Rose District through its public investments, which include creating a district and streetscaping projects, have since brought more than $25 million in private investment to downtown.

In the past six months, the district has seen the opening of additional restaurants and specialty stores, new construction, and renovations of existing buildings.

Three additional stores will soon open along Main Street. Bank recently completed its new headquarters, and First National Bank is in the middle of renovations on its existing Main Street location.

As the Rose District continues to draw commercial interest, the area is increasingly seeing businesses choose the Rose District as a place to expand with second or third locations, such as with the case of In the Raw and Andolini’s, notes Warren Unsicker, vice president of economic development for the Broken Arrow Chamber’s Economic Development Corporation. “That is a good indication that Broken Arrow is beginning to be viewed as a completely separate market from nearby cities.”

Reflecting on the success of the Rose District, Spurgeon said, “I want to continue building on the momentum of downtown and also encouraging the growth of downtown residential because that encourages further economic development.”

Development is also moving forward north of downtown around Bass Pro Shops on 61st Street between Lynn Lane Road and Elm Place, where construction began in June on the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. Nearby, two additional hotels are currently under construction. The Stoney Creek Hotel is expected to open in 2016, with the conference center to reach completion in 2017.

With the conference center, “we are going to have more opportunities to bring people to Broken Arrow,” said Spurgeon, who plans to put a greater emphasis on tourism for the city in the coming years.

Areas where Spurgeon has found room for improvement includes the city’s platform for receiving public online requests.

“In 2016, the city will be looking for an interactive tracking software to be used in connection with citizens request for assistance,” said Spurgeon. “Our goal would be to include the ability for citizens to download an application to where they can request assistance on their smart phone.” More information about that program will come available summer 2016.

Also in the new year, Spurgeon promised citizens that they will see a number of roads, stormwater, parks and public safety improvement projects take place. Also, based on feedback that Spurgeon has received from residents regarding a city recycling program, early next year, citizens will be asked to complete a survey addressing the city’s sanitation and recycling programs.

When Spurgeon first entered his role as Broken Arrow’s city manager in September, he spoke with Greater Tulsa Reporter about the need for the city to regain the trust of its citizens, due to the many changes in city managers that the city has experienced over the recent years.

One way he plans to do that is through greater government transparency.
He announced that a yearly financial newsletter will begin to be published at the beginning of each fiscal year.

The goal is to begin distributing the annual financial newsletter in August or September, he said, shortly after the fiscal year budget is approved.

Updated 12-22-2015

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