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Sallisaw looks toward its future with 2022 budget

Friday, May 21, 2021 - Sallisaw's recent growth is a sign of great things still to come, city planners say, and the Fiscal Year 2022 budget they introduced this week indicated the team's faith in the city's future.

The city has seen major increases in sales tax revenue in recent months, City Manager Keith Skelton said during the two-day meeting with the Board of City Commissioners, and despite suffering from some “growing pains,” Sallisaw is doing rather well.

“Our retail sites are killing it,” he said, generating lots of sales, thus increasing daily staffing requirements and adding to the local job market.

The proposed budget focuses on infrastructure, with the city setting aside $1,255,000 in its infrastructure improvement fund, a 41.81 percent increase from last year. Infrastructure projects in the works include remodeling efforts at City Hall, replacing a drainage tin horn under the runway at the airport, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and more.

The proposed 2022 general fund budget is $23,120,217, up 6.12 percent from 2021. The Sallisaw Municipal Authority's 2022 budget is $33,680,714, 16.18 percent more than was set aside last year. The city's capital improvement fund budget for 2022 is $3,315,431, an increase of $469,771, or 16.51 percent, from last year.

The 2022 budget proposal also includes a 1.5 percent cost-of-living wage increase for all city employees.

Skelton also discussed several proposed equipment purchases with commissioners, including a Dura-Patcher skid-mounted pothole maintenance machine and a single-axle, automated sanitation truck that can be operated by one person. Skelton said both machines would be highly beneficial to city crews.

The commissioners welcomed several area agencies to speak at the meeting, including the Boys & Girls Club, the Sallisaw NOW Coalition, KiBois Community Action Foundation and more.

More and more businesses are showing interest in moving to Sallisaw, Economic Development Director George Bormann said Wednesday. Skelton agreed. “Economic development is not easy,” he said, “but we've come a long way. We're getting the amenities in place and these investors are seeing this. There's been a lot of work behind the scenes. People just need to have patience. It all has to come together.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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