Tulsa Councilors Get Heated During Vision Renewal Meeting

Thursday, January 7th 2016, 7:07 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa's Vision renewal plan is almost set - the sales tax vote is now scheduled for April 5th.

But, Thursday there was a sudden change in the process and a call for another round of public feedback.

The notion of a final list was argued by the people making the list - some thought it was done, but the argument was over what the public would think now that the list is coming out.

At a meeting where projects and dollars could have been set, a couple of problems came up; one is whether it's legal to use tax money for a few projects on the list - the lawyers are looking at that. The other is whether the list should be final without public feedback.

Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing said, “They will laugh at us, and so if you guys think they've been adequately communicated with, I don't know what to say, they haven't been."

Ewing argued the list should be changed if the public gets a chance at feedback and wants something else.

An argument started over whether, at this point, the list was fixed or fluid and whether the public knew enough about it.

"We might understand it, but if the voters don't get it, they'll vote no and we can't allow that to happen," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

Ultimately the council decided to set up three public hearings on the vision list - over three days next week.

Councilor Phil Lakin said, "Is it too long? Too short, did we include the right things, did we leave something off? But we absolutely need that feedback before we finalize this list and ask them to vote on it."

The overall package would direct spending for about $750 million dollars on a list.

"It's yes, still a work in progress, but we're getting down to the nitty-gritty," said Councilor Connie Dodson.

They're working on the details of the public meetings, but those will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, followed by council meetings to absolutely finalize the list.

You can see the full draft list here.