Tulsa Mayor's New Budget Proposal Tops $640 Million

Thursday, April 28th 2011, 7:54 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's mayor released his plans for a new city budget Thursday night. Mayor Dewey Bartlett believes the city can afford to spend more than last year: a grand total of $643 million.

Read the mayor's speech to the city council

It's the second time Mayor Bartlett has drawn up a budget for the city and the first time, he says, that it's actually a "citizens budget," based on surveys of what taxpayers want the government to do.

"A lot good things have happened, so I'm very, very proud to present a budget that does address in a positive many of what of what the public would like us to do, plus increase the amount of money we put towards those activities, like pothole repair," Bartlett told the City Council Thursday night.

Bartlett budget proposal involves new spending, $76 million over last year. That money will go toward into everything from salary increases, to new equipment and major flood control projects, but Bartlett says citizens will notice the beautification emphasis.

"In this budget, we propose to double code enforcement efforts, continue to increase funding to address the demolition of dilapidated structures, increase moving on city land from six to 10 cycles," he said.

Citizens will also notice utility rate increases on water, wastewater and trash. It amounts to $4.37 more a month for the average home.

For city employees, there's a pay increase, and no furlough days.

"Over the past two years, they have all stepped up to do more work with fewer resources," Bartlett said of city employees.  "And it's time they receive more than our appreciation."

For Public Safety, new academy classes for police and fire, and maybe two academies for each.

"We have people who are retiring and we have to at least keep even with that and with the one academy per department this next year, we'll at least stay even, if we're able to afford 2 academies each we'll be ahead of the game, which would be good," Bartlett said.

The budget plan goes to the council now. They're sure to make changes over the next two months before the start of the budget year July 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, Bartlett said the city and the Fraternal Order of Police agreed to a new contract.

City Manager Jim Twombly said the new contract will give police officers an immediate, but one time stipend of two percent of their base salary this fiscal year, and restore satisfactory performance increases as on July 1, 2011. Twombly said most other aspects of the contract language remain unchanged from last year.

Agreements have not been made with the other city employee unions, but Bartlett said he expected all groups would have similar pay increases.