Oklahoma City mayor gives State of the City address

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said in his State of the City speech Thursday that the metro is"¦for now"¦riding out the economic tidal wave that's hitting the rest of the country.

"This month there are dozens of mayors that are standing in front of audiences much like this one and they are explaining to their constituents why they must cut back on services, why they are going to have to raise taxes, and fortunately, I am not going to be giving that speech today," Cornett told the gathered audience of about a thousand at the Cox Convention Center. "In a golden age for our city, while our economy is more than holding its own, while the rest of the country in both the private and public sectors is dealing with massive debt and in many cases, bankruptcy, what do we do?"

Cornett said the city must move ahead now with the momentum accomplished by MAPS and MAPS II. He said that the city must develop its MAPS III proposal now.

The mayor said that while Oklahoma City's finance efforts, which are not debt-based but are accomplished by raising taxes, are sound, they take time. He said that MAPS III must be set in motion now in order for projects to take effect in the coming decade, long after the recession is history.

Cornett said the projects, by priority, include a working mass transit system, a new park as part of the Core to Shore plan, and a new convention center. He noted that the Cox Convention Center will be 50 years old by the time the new maps proposal takes effect.

"It is hard to argue with the theory that you need to replace your convention center every 50 years," Cornett said. -Ben Fenwick

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