Winners And Losers As City Finalizes 2015 Budget

Thursday, June 19th 2014, 10:27 pm
By: News On 6

There are winners and losers as the City of Tulsa passed next year's budget. Councilors and the mayor made tough changes and cuts to the budget, but some groups once in jeopardy, walked away with full funding.

Once on the chopping block, the group at Henthorne PAC is funded for the next year. Henthorne advocates rallied in a last minute effort to save the programs and the theaters they operate.

6/18/2014 Related Story: City Council Close To Finalizing 2015 Budget

Councilor G.T. Bynum said his fellow members have worked the past two months to restore programs previously on the cut list.

"Our job is to do the best we can maximizing the tax payers dollars, and I think this budget does that," he said.

Programs making the cut that were in danger of not being funded include school crossing guards who receive $250,000. $210,000 goes to saving a bus route and the city's lift system, $108,000 for the performing arts, and $80,000 will go for the Main Street revitalization program.

But the city will cut jobs. About 150 positions will be lost. The city said most of those jobs are vacant, left by workers who retired or departments that have hiring freezes in effect.

"You haven't seen a huge drop off in service quality because the employees that we have at the city of Tulsa have picked up the slack and kept be ball moving," Bynum said.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett said, "Right now I'm very pleased with the council's vote and now we can move ahead."

Bartlett was also optimistic about more sales tax revenue coming into the city and helping out an already lean budget.

Because the performing arts cuts caused such controversy during the budget discussion, councilors are creating task force to address funding for them.

The total budget came out to $688 million.