Two organizations in Central Oklahoma will receive more than half-a-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of its Economic Development Administration grant program.
The City of Moore will receive $300,000 to hire a disaster coordinator develop strategies during the rebuilding efforts after May’s devastating tornado. The job will also be responsible for managing disaster assistance at the federal, state and local level.
Organizers have launched a signature-gathering campaign for a $500 million bond issue to put storm shelters in public schools.
The group Take Shelter Oklahoma filed a petition on Wednesday with the Oklahoma Secretary of State's office to get the issue on a statewide ballot. Once the ballot language is given final approval by the attorney general, supporters have 90 days to gather about 155,000 signatures of registered voters.
The plan calls for the debt service on the bond issue to be paid by the annual franchise tax levied on businesses.
Leaders in Moore say tornado recovery efforts have caused sales tax collections to skyrocket in the city.
The Norman Transcriptreports that Moore received more than $2.6 million in total sales tax from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in September. That includes general fund receipts, which are up more than 12 percent from last year.
City Manager Stephen Eddy calls the numbers "amazing" and says rebuilding efforts from the May 20 tornado are likely responsible.
When the massive EF5 tornado ripped through Moore on May 20, it took out homes and business alike. Since then, the Moore City Council has been considering updating building codes to make homes safer. But as the Journal Record‘s Molly M. Flemming reports, the city’s construction standards for commercial buildings aren’t being altered much:
Those codes are likely to stay the same, with one slight change.