Tulsa Mayor Proposes $824 Million Budget

Wednesday, April 26th 2017, 10:48 pm

By: News On 6

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed an $824 million budget for the coming year.

Some called it the most impressive budget they’ve seen, others said it’s a breath of fresh air.

The mayor’s motto is "aim high, work together, and work hard," and in the budget he’s certainly aiming high, and it will take a lot of people working very hard together to pull it off.

Bynum said he inherited a city that's in a difficult spot.

"Our revenue growth at the city has been stagnant for years," he said.

In his plan, Bynum wants to bolster public safety by hiring 90 new police officers and 35 new firefighters this year.

"We continue to be challenged with overtime costs due to our lack of manpower to cover normal shifts," the mayor said.

He also wants City employees to be rewarded for their hard work - they would get increases based on performance and the City would pay for the projected 10 percent increase in their healthcare costs.

Bynum said, "We have to ask our team here at the City to do more with less and I believe they are up to that challenge."

There's also money for new playgrounds, street repair projects and even an increase in funds to pay for lawn care at public spaces.

"Having a well-maintained city is every bit as important for our economic growth as it is for our civic pride," Bynum said.

An innovative idea is a program called a Better Way, which would offer panhandlers daily part-time work to help beautify the city - an idea Councilor Phil Lakin supports.

"A completely different perspective with your presentation with this, and your prioritization as well,” he said.

The mayor also wants a Public Inebriate Center. If picked up for public intoxication - not a DUI - instead of jail and a fine you could go to the center and are offered services, freeing up valuable police manpower.

Construction for that would be paid for by private donors.

Bynum said, "We're doing those things this year. This budget represents action, not talk."

The City said priority investments for citizens are being paid for through Vision money, Amazon sales tax revenue and other adjustments.

Wednesday night was just the mayor's presentation; the council will review the budget, take public input and is expected to vote on June 7th.


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