Tulsa Mayor Reveals $711 Budget For Next Fiscal Year - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa Mayor's Budget Proposal Includes Water, Sewer Rate Hikes

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Mayor Dewey Bartlett speaking to the city council. Mayor Dewey Bartlett speaking to the city council.
Copy of the city budget presented to the city council by the mayor. Copy of the city budget presented to the city council by the mayor.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa's mayor unveiled his plans for a new city budget, which continues cutbacks in general government, while protecting and building up the police and fire departments.

The Bartlett budget revealed Tuesday reflects the rising cost of everything and a growing share of the budget going to public safety.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett walked into what could be his last budget presentation to the city council, depending on whether or not he's re-elected. The council gets their turn at the numbers now, while city department heads determine what it's going to mean for them.

The mayor pledged to protect public safety above all other services.

"This budget avoids any cuts in personnel in the police and fire budgets and preserves our ability to hire cadets," Bartlett said.

Read the mayor's speech to the city council.

The mayor proposes a general government budget that's 2 percent less than last year.

It does include one new academy for both the police and fire departments, but a slowdown in hiring for every other department.

"I'm excited about this academy and I'm looking forward to more, so we can get up to a size our city should have," said Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan.

While police staffing should increase, the fire department is already fully staffed, but would manage to just stay there.

"Fully staffed means that we get the number of people on a fire scene that we need, and if we don't, have enough people have to suffer until we get there," said Fire Chief Ray Driscoll.

The budget highlights for the public are proposed water and sewer rate increases of 7 and 9 percent, respectively, and continued growth for the police and fire departments.

For city employees, the current hiring freeze will thaw into a hiring delay to save money on payroll. Bartlett is proposing no raises for general government employees outside of police and fire and suggests cutting a few positions through reorganizations.

Bartlett said, with a flat income for the city and rising costs, it's the best he can offer.

"It's the reality of our situation, that's it unfortunately," Bartlett said.

Read mayor's memorandum to city council.

The mayor said he does plan to pursue a vote on changing what's now a county sales tax into a city tax for public safety. It would give the city another $12 million a year to run more cadets through the service academies.

The city council has the next two months to look over and make any changes they want to the budget, but the two sides have to agree on it by July 1, 2013, when it takes effect.

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