Emory Bryan, News on 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The finances for the City of Tulsa are improving enough to eliminate furlough days and pay cuts for city employees, which could happen as soon as next week.
There's also enough money to hire a planning director and start work on updating the zoning code, and to buy a new time and attendance recording system, according to Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.
"I think we are seeing a good opportunity to use our excess revenues," Bartlett said.
Bartlett has proposed new spending for those items, but urged caution on other new spending initiatives, until new numbers come in from sales tax over the Christmas holiday.
Read Mayor Bartlett's memo to the Tulsa City Council
Bartlett told the Tulsa City Council Tuesday morning that general fund income for the city was $4.8 million better than budgeted. Eliminating two furlough days and restoring a 3.1% pay cut for firefighters will cost $1 million.
"The firefighters are excited, we're glad to get some of our concessions back," said Dennis Moseby, Firefighters Union President.
With other spending already approved earlier in the budget year, Bartlett said the City has $2.5 million left over.
Bartlett said another budget shortfall is expected next year, but the gap that was once $18 million is now estimated at $6 million.
Part of the new spending is for an electronic time clock system for the City of Tulsa, which now handles the process manually.
One year ago, layoffs were looming for police and fire, and civilian employees. Now, with every month of sales tax looking better, there's even talk from the council of back pay for city employees.
"For right now, we're just looking back at getting whole again, and getting back to normal is where we want to be," Moseby said.
Bartlett and the City Council both support eliminating the furlough days and pay cuts, which will be restored retroactively to January 1.
The City Council is expected to vote on the corresponding budget amendment as soon as this coming Thursday.