Tulsa City Council Approves Compromise On Capital Improvements

Thursday, August 22nd 2013, 3:34 pm

The Tulsa City Council approved a $918 million list of projects Thursday night that will go before voters in November.

They've been adding and subtracting from the list for months, and just Thursday, made some modifications.

The council vote means the list is settled, and so is a possible conflict with the county over sales tax.

The city will actually ask for a lower tax rate for a longer time, so the county can ask for the rest without triggering a tax increase.

The vast majority of the city's tax proposal package is basic street work, such as major repairs to 36th Street North at MLK. Streets and bridges and sidewalks are on the list.

The city had 47 public meetings to discuss it, which led to some changes. Money for the BOK Center and Convention Center was pulled. Another change is that the city agreed to give up a portion of the tax rate if the county wouldn't ask for a tax on the same ballot.

8/13/2013 Related Story: Tulsans Take Final Chance To Give Feedback On Plan For Tax Dollars

"One, we wanted to avoid a tax increase if possible and we didn't want to have a competition between the city and county if we could find a way to address the true needs that we have without having that competition," said Councilor G.T. Bynum.

The agreement keeps the city list of projects the same and extends the tax a few months. The county will ask for a sales tax next spring.

"The county would get its money the same time if it's on an April ballot as November, and I think this makes it easier for people to grasp one project at a time,' said County Commissioner Ron Peters.

The city portion of the sales tax would drop from 1.167 percent to 1.1 percent. The county is expected to push for the remaining .067 percent.

The city tax would start next July, and end when the money is collected, that's expected to take about five years.

"Not everybody got what they wanted, but everybody understood that we had to come to an agreement of some sort," said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

The sales tax is the only way the city can pay for major street repairs, like the one planned for 11th street if the tax passes.

Voters will see it on the ballot November 12.

The county will come up with their own list and likely ask voters to approve in next April.

Find links to lists of all the proposed projects here.