When a small, incorporated town within the Oklahoma City limits was being left behind by the surrounding competitive real estate market, the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® used an Issues Mobilization Grant from the REALTOR® Party to help secure two new bond packages to improve drainage, streets, sidewalks, and parks.
Situated within the municipality of Oklahoma City, the small town of The Village was missing out on the competitive real estate market that surrounded it because of its long-unmet infrastructure needs. To begin correcting that, and to improve the quality of life for its current residents, the town voted to put two new bond packages on the ballot in February 2022 that would improve its drainage, parks, streets and sidewalks. To help the struggling community and bolster relationships with its elected officials – all of whom supported the bonds – the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (OKCMAR) launched a public campaign urging a ‘yes’ vote. An Issues Mobilization Grant from the REALTOR® Party supported the effort, which prevailed at the ballot box with well over 70% of the vote.
Gary Jones, Government Affairs Director of the association, explains that OKCMAR has been increasing its involvement with smaller municipalities in its jurisdiction, and that its engagement with The Village was sparked by some ‘new blood’ on the City Council that took the initiative to organize the bond measures. “Because they’re not technically part of Oklahoma City, they’d been left out of the extensive municipal infrastructure efforts that had been going on around them. The town has an aging demographic, and needs younger people to buy in and shore up the tax base,” he notes, adding that a recent survey in The Village found that its parks would need significant improvement if it wanted to attract young families. “We saw this as an opportunity to help them deal with their own infrastructure problems that were affecting housing sales,” he says. Funds for the badly needed public works will be generated by a sales tax and a property tax increase of about $100 for the average home.
The Issues Mobilization campaign involved multiple rounds of emails and texts to targeted voters, digital ads, live calls, and a website. “The REALTOR® Party’s Campaign Services team did all the heavy lifting, and we got all the accolades!” reports Jones. “They really did a phenomenal job, that not only resulted in strong voter approval of the bonds, but raised the image of the REALTORS® as community partners. The Mayor and Vice-Mayor of The Village were very grateful for the REALTORS®’ efforts to motivate voters to get to the polls.”
It was a winning season all-around for the OKCMAR, which also supported the re-election of Oklahoma City’s incumbent mayor with an Independent Expenditure from the REALTOR® Party. Jones explains that Mayor Holt has been a great friend of the REALTORS® and has spear-headed several initiatives addressing the affordable housing shortage and homelessness that is plaguing the city. “We were concerned about voter turn-out,” says Jones, “but at the end of the day, the mayoral election had the largest election numbers since 1959. Having the REALTOR® Party on our team was a tremendous boost – as always.”
To learn more about how the REALTORS® of metropolitan Oklahoma City are using REALTOR® Party resources to improve infrastructure quality and support the election of REALTOR® champions, contact Government Affairs Director Gary Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405.641.1921.