It looks like someone might finally have a plan to do something about our crumbling State Capitol.
Press release from House of Representatives:
Lawmakers Vote to Address State Building Maintenance
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved by a House committee today authorizes the sale of unneeded state properties and directs that the money generated will then be used to maintain other buildings.
“This is an issue of basic stewardship,” said state Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton. “For too long, the state has failed to maintain its assets, and when money has been spent on maintenance it has been allocated in a haphazard fashion. This legislation requires better management practices, allowing us to liquidate unneeded properties to pay for the maintenance of those that continue to serve a public purpose.”
House Bill 2262, by Shannon, creates a Maintenance of State Buildings Revolving Fund, which will receive the revenue generated by proceeds from the sale of state-owned properties (both land and buildings). Money in the fund would then be used to maintain and repair other state properties and buildings.
In addition, the bill requires that the state’s Long Range Capital Plan include an index ranking state buildings based on maintenance needs. Money in the Maintenance of State Buildings Revolving Fund would be allocated to projects based on those with greatest need.
“We’re applying common-sense business practices to the management of state properties,” Shannon said. “Instead of basing funding on the political influence of individual agencies, spending decisions will be based on actual maintenance needs.”
House Bill 2262 builds on the Oklahoma State Government Asset Reduction and Cost Savings Program, a measure that Shannon shepherded into law last year. That legislation required the Director of the Department of Central Services to identify 5 percent of the most underutilized state-owned properties on a yearly basis with an eye toward liquidating them.
There are now more than 9,000 state-owned properties, according to the most recent estimates.
“Building a comprehensive inventory is just the first step in this process,” Shannon said. “Now we have to prioritize facilities based on their value to core functions, liquidate those that have outlived their usefulness, and use the money generated to address maintenance needs in other buildings. This plan will help pay for the upkeep of facilities that remain vital without increasing state spending or taxes.”
House Bill 2262 passed out of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. It will now go to the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Some state buildings, including the Capitol, are in such a state of disrepair that they are literally falling apart. The south steps of the Capitol have been cordoned off due to the danger of falling stone.