Tulsa voters will head to the polls next Tuesday to decide on a $918 million bond proposal. It's called "Improve Our Tulsa."
The money will go to city streets and bridges, as well as the police and fire department.
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) keep firefighters alive when they enter a burning building, but the expiration date on the equipment is almost up and the fire department says it needs Tulsa voters to vote yes next week so they can buy some more.
"Without it, we cannot operate. We're just like anybody else, we cannot operate in those environments," said Tulsa Fire Chief Mike Mallory.
The SCBAs are old and need to be replaced. One tank we saw was bought in 1999, and they only have a 15-year life span.
"Parts are going to become extremely hard to find, because this particular unit is no longer in production," Mallory said.
Mallory is hoping the "Improve Our Tulsa" bond proposal passes next week. Some of the money would buy new SCBAs for the fire department and repair many of the fire stations across town.
The $918 million proposal would pay for all of the city's capital programs for the next six years, and it would actually lower the city's sales tax but raise property tax.
The bond would also go to update the Tulsa Police Department's records division. Right now, TPD has stacks and stacks of paper files with all of its records. The only way something is computerized is if an employee scans it. The older files, pre-2001, are on microfilm.
"So it's a pretty antiquated system," said TPD Sgt. Howard Galbreath.
Galbreath said TPD takes in up to 90,000 reports every year. He said a digital record-keeping system is desperately needed.
"Having a new regional management system will allow us to be able to maintain electronic copies, decrease the amount of storage space, and also be more efficient and more effective," Galbreath said.
Councilor G.T. Bynum will be hosting a town hall meeting Tuesday night on the Improve Our Tulsa proposal. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Wright Elementary School Auditorium.