Tulsa Mayor Reveals City's Budget Plan For Next Fiscal Year

Thursday, April 28th 2016, 11:04 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett laid out his plan for the city's 2016-17 budget at Thursday night's city council meeting.

The city's total budget is $764 million, about 0.6 percent more than last year's.

However, the city's general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations, is $266.2 million, down $8 million from last year.

The budget outlines cuts in several departments, but the city was able to largely avoid layoffs, Bartlett said.

Of the $266 million general fund, Public Safety receives the largest chunk of money — 62 percent, or around $164 million. That amount is slightly less than last year, but the budget still allows for a police academy of 20 new officers next year.

Last September, Tulsa Police received a $600,000 grant from the Justice Department to purchase body cameras. The city's budget plan allocates $650,000 for research and testing to find the best product.

9/22/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Police Get Grant For Body-Worn Cameras

"It'll be a multi-month process to make a decision on which ones work best, which ones are compatible, which ones seems to have the less amount of problems," Bartlett explained.

Tulsa's 911 Dispatch Center, which is notoriously understaffed, would hire six more call-takers. The budget proposes a $75,000 study to find out how to make 911 more efficient.

Something all Tulsa drivers and commuters will be grateful for, the city plans to hire a full-time street maintenance crew.

Next year's budget eliminates 56 jobs from nearly every department. These are jobs that were already vacant, thanks to the city's hiring freeze enacted in December.

Bartlett said that freeze helped avoid layoffs — only three current positions could possibly be lost.

"By enacting that hiring freeze, we didn't add people that we would have had to turn around and let go," Bartlett said.

You can see the mayor's entire proposed 2016-2017 budget here.