Tulsa Budget Cuts: Across The Board or Prioritized
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's city leaders are working over the numbers as they deal with the budget crisis, while some employees' families are pushing for support.
The mayor has the input he asked for from the department, now he and the city council have to decide how much to cut and what the priority should be.
A group of two dozen people, mostly family members of police officers and firefighters, showed they are against any cuts for the public safety side of city government.
They believe the City of Tulsa has the money, just the wrong priorities.
Melissa Shaw organized the demonstration and believes the city could sell equipment to pay salaries, or just cut other places instead.
The News On 6 asked, "So you think the city could save the money and keep all these firefighters and police offices on the job?"
"I think so, we just need to find somewhere else to get the money," Shaw said.
If the police and fire departments were protected from cuts, the other departments would be cut even more.
If all departments share cuts equally, police and fire cuts save the most because they consume the majority of the budget. The minimal cut is projected at $2.9 million.
If other city services are cut by the same percentage; that's $608,000 from Public works, $218,000 from Parks, and at least $132,000 from Tulsa Transit.
One of the places that could be cut further to save jobs in police and fire is the parks department.
Whiteside Park has a community center, and even the minimal expected cuts would end up closing one or two centers like this somewhere in the city.
Nikki Phillips, a mother of two young boys, believes the parks department is a priority too.
"Some kids live in apartments and don't have a safe place to play and I definitely think that parks should be one of the priorities, we're here, enjoying it, meeting new friends. I think parks should be on the top of the list," Phillips said.
Over the next two weeks not much will happen at city hall but in the two weeks after that, the mayor and council will make their decision on the cuts.