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Shawnee Receives Positive Financial News

 

March 18, 2021

Alex Sloan

Avedis honors first responders. Pictured from left Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt, Avedis board member Sarah Haselwood, Shawnee Fire Chief Tony Wittman, Avedis Board Member Dr. John Robinson, and Corp. Richard Ruiz with the Shawnee Police Department.

An Oklahoma City engineering start-up will be making Shawnee its new home, after the Shawnee City Commissioners voted 6-0 in favor of a rezoning ordinance making the move possible.

Electromagnetix, LLC, is a young company offering engineering services and component fabrication. Business Manager Wilma Schilling said the company primarily works on motor prototypes for the oil and gas industry.

"For our business... some people will think Oklahoma City is the place to be," Schilling said. "But for us, we're looking for different things."

Schilling said the company's business model calls for extensive collaboration between Electromagnetix designers, and client companies' representatives. And to accommodate this collaboration, Schilling said the company needs a location that is less industrial, and more comfortable.

With these requirements in mind, Electromagnetix owner Chris Middleton came to the city commissioners' meeting, requesting a rezone of 602 N. Kickapoo Street from neighborhood commercial, to highway commercial. Middleton said the property contains both an office building and a shop, which Electromagnetix will use to fabricate prototype parts for customers. This fabrication equipment can be a little noisy, which was the main topic of discussion amongst meeting attendees.

"When we talk about the noise that the machines would make, it's good to keep in mind that we're only talking about sporadic use," Middleton said.

Prior to applying for the rezoning, Middleton recorded the noise levels outside the Oklahoma City shop, and found they were comparable to normal highway traffic.

Apparently satisfied with the information presented, all present commissioners voted in favor of approving the rezoning. Commissioner Travis Flood was not present at the meeting.

The company has already began the process of moving to Shawnee, and Schilling said she expects the company to be fully relocated within the next six months.

"Shawnee has very good potential," Schilling said. "It has the culture, it has the community, and it has a long future of growing ... that's the main reason we decided to get a location in Shawnee."

But the Electromagnetix move wasn't the only positive financial news the city commissioners received on Monday. According to the monthly sales tax report, actual collections for March 2021 came in 25.3% above budget projections.

This continues a trend that has been ongoing since at least July, in which Shawnee's sales tax collections meet or exceed projections. Since July, over $2 million more in sales tax has been collected than had been budgeted for.

This week's city commission meeting began, as most do, with consideration of a consent agenda. These consent agendas consist of routine, generally non-controversial items that are voted on at the same time. But if any member of the board wishes to discuss an item further, they can remove an item from the consent agenda prior to the vote.

Commissioner Bob Weaver used this procedure on Monday, to set the record straight about his vote on the recently approved arts council ordinance. Weaver pulled consideration of the March 1 meeting minutes for further discussion.

During that meeting, Weaver spoke strongly in opposition to the ordinance, but ended up abstaining from the vote to approve it. Weaver said he hit the "abstain" button on his voting machine by accident, and wanted the record to reflect his opposition to the measure.

"The record shows that I abstained, and I'd like to change that vote, and make note that is a no," Weaver said. "And a definite no."

City staff advised that it would not be appropriate to change the March 1 meeting minutes, but Weaver's updated voting intentions would be included in the minutes for this week's meeting.

The city commissioners were also treated to a presentation by the Avedis Foundation, honoring first responders for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar presentation was delivered at the county commissioner meeting earlier that day. More information about Avedis' presentation can be found in the story on the county meeting elsewhere in this week's paper.

 

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