Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Vann Wants to ‘Offer Any Help I Can’

“I am looking forward to returning to the council and offering any help I can,” said Sallisaw’s past mayor, Shannon Vann.

Vann is a candidate for the Sallisaw City Commission Ward 4 post in the city’s Feb. 13 election.

Vann served 12 years at Sallisaw’s mayor. He is a native of Sallisaw and a 1986 graduate of Sallisaw High School. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and joined the Vann State Farm Insurance Agency in 1997.

“We still have some work to do,” Vann said about Sallisaw’s current status. Vann said he wants improvements to the city’s infrastructure and to the citizens’ quality of life.

Vann said he wants to continue improvements to the city’s electric, water and sewer systems, to the city streets, telecommunications, and sports complex.

He wants to see the city “financially stable” and he wants the city to have the “proper leadership to make that happen.”

Vann said, “Now is the time to reinvest in our community,” and “We should prioritize to the best of our ability.”

-About the proposed splash pad at the old middle school, Vann said he has not heard about the plan, which was approved after he left the mayor’s office. He 

-About the upgrade of the city’s water treatment plant, Vann explained that sometimes, during a heavy rain, the overflow bypasses the plant and sewage ends up in the creek. He said the city’s only options to funding the upgrade are through reallocating sales tax or raising utility rates.

“Limited grant options are available,” he said, “but we will need more than that.”

-About incentives to attract business and industry, Vann said that, although the state of Oklahoma is not competitive with other states, the City of Sallisaw can and has offered incentives, which have resulted in the expansion of industries already here. Incentives were offered to and accepted by SLPT, Cellofoam and Aviagen, which resulted in the expansion of all three.

“SLPT now has over 300 employees, compared to about 100 just a few years ago,” Vann pointed out.

-About an update of the city charter, Vann said, “If there’s a demand for it, and the citizens want to go through a revision process, I’m for it.”

-About utility rates and raises, Vann said, “It is irresponsible for an elected official to say never raise the rates. Costs go up. They are not totally within our control. We have to manage those costs and do the best we can with the best labor, maintaining the system and making improvements. We try to keep costs at a minimum.”

-About food trucks and the competition they offer to brick-and-mortar restaurants, Vann said, “Food trucks are a booming trend right now. Some cities have them all in one location, sort of like a mall food court. It’s just competition, and they add sales tax to the city coffers.”

-About new housing for the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, Vann said, “The chamber is a vital part of the community. About 200 local businesses belong to the chamber. They put a lot of work into the community and helping recruit retailers and industry. They play a big role. We have to find a proper resolution for the chamber. It is not the city’s obligation to build a new building for the chamber, but we should work with them in a partnership.”

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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