The City of Tulsa budget shortfall might cut more jobs, beyond the 100 positions already eliminated from the city work force. The current mayor, Susan Savage, says a lower than expected sales tax check for January means another round of cuts are needed.
News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says the City Finance Department appears quiet, but behind some walls at City Hall, plenty of people are crunching numbers. They're dealing with dwindling income - projected at the start of the budget year to be $216 million - but now looking like just $200 million - a $16 million dollar shortfall.
Mayor Susan Savage, â€œI don't know that there have to be layoffs." But Mayor Savage says nearly everything else is on the table - she's asked departments to make plans for a worst case 20% cut. Tulsa city councilor Sam Roop, "It's a little too early to tell what's going on here." But Councilor Sam Roop says the budget has room for more cuts - without a significant cut in service. â€œThey said the monkeys would go hungry at the zoo before and in fact they're not going hungry today and we cut the $11.3 they asked for.â€
To save money, the city won't open some north side swimming pools this summer - and they've cut back on the grass mowing schedule. "We're looking at expenses we can defer such as a firefighters class we were going to hold in May, will be deferred to September, that's $100-thousand in savings, and it won't impact staffing the fire department."
City Councilor Roop thinks the exercise might pay off - giving the public a more efficient government. "What they want, Bryan, is services at the least costs, they want efficiency in government I think the next administration will go a long way toward doing that.â€