Senate to hold study Thursday on state buildings and properties valued at $14 billion
Ponca City Now - September 18, 2019 3:20 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold an interim study Thursday, Sept. 19, to examine how the state manages its buildings and properties and how to innovate these processes, staffing and resources. The study, which will meet in room 535 of the Capitol at 9 a.m., was requested by Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City and Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton.
The senators explained state-owned buildings are valued at $14 billion and are located throughout Oklahoma, serving a wide variety of stakeholders. The Long-Range Capital Planning Commission, a part of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), oversees the annual agency capital requests and prioritizations. The Legislature finalizes and approves appropriations for capital improvements and/or bonds.
Kirt said years of deferred maintenance has caused a depreciation of state-owned assets and then costs more when the projects eventually are done. She said neither serves the public well.
“State agencies have critical and unique missions to serve the public and improve our state and their facilities serve a wide variety of needs—but our current way of planning and budgeting for our buildings is not serving its public purpose,” Kirt said. “Agencies have managed years of budget cuts while trying to keep up their standards of service to the public. In many cases, building maintenance and critical improvements have been delayed. Through this study, we hope to examine the problem and ways to improve our long-term stewardship of these assets.”
Montgomery said the goal of the study is to highlight how the current process of facilities management works and where improvements can be made moving forward.
“The goal should be to improve how we provide services to the public, especially in the context of other service provision reforms that are being proposed,” Montgomery said. “While this study will be able to go into detail, this process of asset management will require continual improvement and work going forward. I certainly believe this should be a launching pad for multi-stakeholder work to more effectively and efficiently provide state government services with a long-term approach.”
Speakers scheduled to make presentations Thursday include Dan Ross, Administrator of Capital Assets Management for OMES, FSB engineer John Semtner, and Gino Demarco, Deputy Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.