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Citizen Leaders, Volunteers Invaluable to Norman Community

Wednesday, I hosted the mayor’s roundtable, a tradition started years ago by Mayor Dick Reynolds. It is a group of community leaders representing a variety of organizations and businesses. 

Its purpose is to create a space for representative residents to get together monthly and share information about what is going on around our community. It is a wonderful venue and I wish the idea had been mine. 

In this same way, I wish that the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast had been my idea, but, alas, it was one of many of Mayor Cindy Rosenthal’s good ideas.

These opportunities to meet, share and celebrate are an important way we find to work together and provide that synergy necessary to make Norman a better place for all of us. I am grateful for those citizen leaders that came before me who encouraged the establishment of numerous community forums.

One of the items we discussed at our most recent roundtable meeting was the Stormwater Citizens Committee. 

I recognize that most folks are not aware there is such a committee or how important its work is.

At the meeting, I asked one of the committee co-chairs, Andy Sherrer, to make a report on the progress of the committee.

Although there was not time for a long discussion, our members were very interested and had a variety of opinions. 

I thought the discussion was particularly timely, as two pieces had appeared recently in The Transcript about stormwater.

The Transcript opined that the recent weather in Houston reminded us that it might be time for Norman to revisit our need for a stormwater utility. 

A few days later, a member of the citizens committee, Bill Scanlon, wrote a very informative letter to the editor about his personal experiences with flooding and the activities of the committee. Bill has been and invaluable contributor to the stormwater conversation for several years now.

So to be clear, our council and staff have continued to have the conversation about finding a solution to our stormwater infrastructure challenges ever since the election a year ago in August failed.

The citizens committee was appointed by the council in the spring with representatives from all the wards, the business community and the environmental community. The co-chairs are Andy Sherrer and Amanda Nairn. 

The committee continues to meet every other week and has covered an incredible amount of materials related to our stormwater management needs: flooding, water quality, budgetary issues, financing options and infrastructure.

They have not yet even begun the task of looking at possible funding options.

We want to make sure there is adequate time for input from our residents in all parts of town before finalizing anything that might go to the voters. 

The citizens committee meetings are open to the public, as are all of our city committees, boards and commissions.

Information about the committee can be found on the city of Norman website. 

Thank you to the 16 residents serving on the committee, the three council liaisons, and the staff that is providing information and answering questions.

The work of this committee is invaluable to our community.