Tulsa County Leaders Hope Voters Will Continue Vision 2025


Tuesday, March 24th 2015, 11:53 am
By: Emory Bryan


Voters in most of Tulsa County will vote on a new version of the Vision 2025 sales tax, but it won't be a county vote.

That's because there will be no giant project - like the BOK Center - that might get support from people a long way from the project. There will be some river development, but it's going to be voted on city by city.

The leaders of just about every city in Tulsa County are calling for a vote to extend the vision 2025 sales tax. They're asking together for separate votes in each city.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said, "It's their decision, and they know what's best for their community because it's their community and not somebody else's."

That's especially important because of past votes on river development that failed with little support from far away communities.

This time, cities like Jenks would vote on river development if they wanted and something else if they didn't.

The agreement among the cities is that each would vote on the same day, likely in November, and the vision sales tax rate would stay the same - 6/10th of a cent.

Each city would develop its own list of projects, and each city would vote independently, so the outcome in one wouldn't affect the others.

Councilor G.T. Bynum said Tulsa's portion would include the river development package, but the specifics would be hammered out in public meetings this summer.

“This type of framework just wouldn't have worked together in the past. The cities didn't work together well. There was a real win-lose attitude where Tulsa has to win but Broken Arrow loses, we get sales tax and they don't. And you don't have that right now," he said.

Bixby's city manager, Doug Enevoldsen, said he figures a river project would be on their ballot as well.

"We think that will resonate well with the people, but we'll see what they think about that and get their ideas," Enevoldsen said.

In Broken Arrow, where river development is less supported, the money might pay for police or fire, according to Mayor Craig Thurmond.

“Public safety is our main goal, it's so important to our community and we don't want to let it slip at all, and funding it is one of our main challenges,” he said.

Tulsa County government is not part of the plan, for now, but the county wasn't part of that decision and has some things they would like on the ballot too.

That's still a subject of talks, but the cities seem clear they want to go it alone on this one as long as they're all together.