'There Will Be Water In The River,' Promises Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett

Monday, December 2nd 2013, 6:20 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Incumbent Mayor Dewey Bartlett was re-elected in November and took the oath of office Monday.

At the inauguration, the mayor promised to continue many things he's already started, but said nothing more certain than this: there will be water in the river, and soon.

As Dewey Bartlett begins his second term, the Mayor says he'll continue to work on making City Hall more efficient and customer service oriented.

The budget is the most pressing problem, both for the current year and what Bartlett says will be a tough budget next year. But when it comes to transformative events ahead, Bartlett says the river is what's next for Tulsa.

It was the central promise of his inaugural speech.

"I am sure as I am standing here that we will have water in the river and development in between, around and on both sides of the river," Bartlett said.

11/13/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett: Second Term Will Be About Job Creation

But Bartlett says river development will not wait on City Hall--it's going to be spurred by private development, like the Kaiser Foundation's Gathering Place and the Creek Nation's Margaritaville casino development. Between them, it's more than $500 million of investment.

"That is going to be transformative in its own way and we'll see some tremendous development just because of that. And there will be water in the river. I can't tell you how it's going to happen, specifically, but there will be water in the river," Bartlett said.

Bartlett's term this time is for three years, and while he says he's looking forward to it, he says he has not yet looked beyond that or even considered if he might run for a third term.

"You know, we'll see," he said. "There are no term limits for mayor or for city council. I think I better get through the first couple of years first. And I've got to talk to Victoria and the family, they haven't even discussed it, so we'll wait and see."

A couple of city councilors were also sworn in Monday. Councilors Phil Lakin, Jeannie Cue and Karen Gilbert ran unopposed.

And Cathy Criswell won her election to become Tulsa's new City Auditor.

All of the officials who took office Monday have shorter than usual terms. That's so everyone will run for office at the same time next time.