Tulsa City Council Considers Eliminating Outdated Fees

Tuesday, April 26th 2011, 3:46 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa City Council wants to get rid of some of the fees the City of Tulsa charges, starting with the ones so obsolete they haven't charged them in years.

At city hall, there's a constant stream of people paying fees for every kind of city service. No single fee is outrageous, but the number of fees can be staggering.

City Councilor GT Bynum says Tulsa charges at least 500 separate fees.

"You can have different departments charging fees for the same thing, because you don't have one person at the City of Tulsa who can tell you all the fees we charge, when they were created and how much we're charging for them," Bynum said.

Bynum wants to create a city council task force to go through the ordinances and root out what fees are in there. He's pretty sure some are obsolete.

"But we have fees that we found, a peddlers license and I haven't heard of a peddler since Charles Dickens or the Godfather movies, so to find we had that license on our books," he said.

Besides that, Bynum says there's also a "fruit ripener" fee and another one for butcher shop scales that no one has used for years.

He says some originated 80 years ago and now there are somewhere between 500 and 1,000 individual fees. No one at City Hall is clear on how much money they bring in altogether.

"There is no comprehensive focused listing of all the fees we have," Bynum said. "We're literally charging people for things and we don't even know everything we're charging for."

The regulatory weight of all those permits adds up over time, says Bynum, who expects a lot of them can be eliminated without anyone objecting.

The council could set up the task force next week and staff is already going through some of the fees.