Morlan & Associates PC on Tuesday filed an amendment to the petition it filed on July 10 in Tulsa County District Court, challenging the legality of the resolution approved by the Tulsa City Council creating “Stadium Assessment Improvement District No. 1.
Morlan represents a number of owners of property inside the Inner Dispersal Loop that will be subject to assessments for 30 years beginning July 1, 2009. The assessment will help finance the construction of a proposed baseball stadium between Elgin and Greenwood avenues north of Archer and to pay for unspecified maintenance, cleaning, security, shuttle services, upkeep, marketing, management and other services for the streets, sidewalks and alleys inside the IDL.
Morlan claims cities in Oklahoma are not authorized to finance the construction of public recreational facilities with special assessments. In addition, Morlan claims that a baseball stadium does not “specially benefit” their properties and as a result the assessment of their properties would constitute a taking of their property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Morlan also claims the attempt by the City of Tulsa to assess itself and Tulsa County over a 30 year period to pay principal and interest on bonds sold by a public trust created to construct and own the proposed stadium violates Article 10, Section26 of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits municipal and county governments from becoming indebted beyond a given fiscal year without the approval of 60% of the voters.
Morlan does not object to the city constructing a baseball stadium downtown, but does not believe that it is fair for the City Council to impose a $90 million obligation of the 1,400 plus properties inside the IDL, he said in the filing.
“It is their position that multi-propose public recreational facilities like arenas and baseball stadiums should be paid for by all of the taxpayers and not just a few,” Morlan said in the petition.