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Mayor Bartlett Asks Department Managers To Cut Budgets

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Plan A is a 2% cut, just over $5 million dollars; Plan B is twice as much, just over $10 million dollars. Plan A is a 2% cut, just over $5 million dollars; Plan B is twice as much, just over $10 million dollars.
"We still got some overload upstairs that went in when Mayor Taylor was here and that may be where we need to start looking before we cut people down low," Roscoe Turner, Tulsa City Council, said. "We still got some overload upstairs that went in when Mayor Taylor was here and that may be where we need to start looking before we cut people down low," Roscoe Turner, Tulsa City Council, said.
Bill Christiansen, Tulsa City Council, said "The budgets in all the departments have already been cut and now they're going to be cut even more and it's a really difficult task." Bill Christiansen, Tulsa City Council, said "The budgets in all the departments have already been cut and now they're going to be cut even more and it's a really difficult task."

By Emory, Bryan, The News On 6

Tulsa, OK -- The City of Tulsa plans to make more budget cuts and layoffs, after the holidays are being considered.

Mayor Bartlett says all options are being considered because the sales tax is down and he says there is no sign of improvement on the horizon.

Since July 1, Tulsa has cut $16 million from the budget, now there's a plan to cut at least $5 million dollars more.

A new round of cuts is certain from city hall and layoffs are likely.

Mayor Bartlett told his top managers to plan for at least a $5 million budget cut.

Bill Christiansen, Tulsa City Council, said "The budgets in all the departments have already been cut and now they're going to be cut even more and it's a really difficult task."

The new city council met for the first time Thursday night while the Mayor will suggest the cuts, it is up to them to make the final adjustments to the budget.

Roscoe Turner, Tulsa City Council said "I didn't know it was going to be this rough when I was running for office, but now that it's happening, we're going to have to make some tough decisions."

Newly elected councilor Roscoe Turner believes layoffs are inevitable but thinks they need to start with administrators.

"We still got some overload upstairs that went in when Mayor Taylor was here and that may be where we need to start looking before we cut people down low," Turner said.

The new budget cut targets would go deeper into the city's $232 million dollars of spending.

Plan A is a 2% cut, just over $5 million dollars; Plan B is twice as much, just over $10 million dollars.

The heaviest hits will likely be in police and fire because they consume most of the budget.

An across the board cut would trim $3 million out of public safety.


Mayor Bartlett's Letter to the Department Managers:

Subject: Message to Directors

Management Team,

The December sales and use tax receipts from the Oklahoma Tax Commission received this week are below the revised budgeted amount for the month, and 14.5% below the same period last year. This decline follows the November receipts which reflected a 14.2% decline below November 2008.

This level of decline over a two-month period has never occurred in the 37 years for which the Finance Department has monthly records. These trends, along with further deterioration in the City's other major General Fund revenue sources require we develop a plan of action to adjust expenses to match projected revenues. As a result, we will be required to identify additional General Fund budget reductions. All options are being discussed, including additional layoffs.

Attached is a spreadsheet showing two target reduction amounts by department. A 2.2% target reduction amount will produce just over $5 million in savings and the accompanying 4.4 % cut will generate $10 million in additional savings this fiscal year.

I am asking you to prepare two reduction plans for your department: one reduction plan would achieve the 2.3% cut while the other would generate a 4.3% savings in our expenses.

I realize all departments have made great strides to reduce their budgets, and we are now asking you to go deeper. I know any additional cuts will impact our employees, create uncertainty for their families, and impact the services we provide to citizens. This is a serious situation, and we do not see an immediate improvement on the horizon. We must be prepared to take actions that will maintain a balanced budget, as required by state law.

The Finance Department's Budget and Planning Division will provide you with a template to use in this exercise. You will need to communicate not only the proposed cuts but also the effects on service levels. Unfortunately, given the city's recent fiscal problems, you should be familiar with the type of information we need. If you have questions, please contact your budget analyst.

Your plans will be due to the Budget and Planning Division by 5:00 on Friday, December 18. I anticipate any reductions we identify would not be implemented until after the first of the year.

Thank you,

Mayor Dewey Bartlett


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