City Of Bartlesville To Face Tough Budget Decisions
By Chris Wright, The News On 6
BARTLESVILLE, OK -- Green Country cities continue to struggle with the economy in crisis.
Most of the attention has been focused on Tulsa's troubles, but other towns are also feeling the pinch.
Bartlesville is located in a relatively isolated part of the state, but it has not been immune from the economic challenges affecting all of Oklahoma.
The city has experienced a drop in sales tax revenue for eleven straight months and expects that trend to continue in the near future.
"Who knows how far this economy is going to contract? Every month I look for the bottom on this thing, and it's not here yet," said Ed Gordon, Bartlesville City Manager.
The poor economy has left Bartlesville with a $1.2 million shortfall.
It has already trimmed every department's budget and is requiring some furloughs for city employees.
That accounts for about half the shortfall but more cuts, $600,000 worth, still need to be made.
The city of Bartlesville says it hopes to make up for the budget shortfall without having to make cuts to its essential services like the fire and police departments.
Tom Gorman, City Councilor, said, "Our goal is to not make any major changes to the services and try to work with everyone to get our budget aligned."
City management says it will do everything to avoid layoffs, especially at the police and fire departments.
But just like everywhere else, it will likely face some tough times and tough decisions.
"But it's going to be equal sacrifice by all. Everybody's going to sacrifice the same," Gordan said.
City councilors have discussed making up for the shortfall by adding a $5.00 monthly fee to resident's utility bills.
They say most were opposed to the idea, and it was quickly shot down.