Tulsa City Council Disputes Mayor's Budget Worries

Friday, August 13th 2010, 5:47 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News on 6   

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa City Council says Mayor Dewey Bartlett is overstating the budget problems facing the city and they want him to start spending the money they wrote into the budget.

8/10/2010 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor: City Doesn't Have Money For City Council Amendments

On August 10th, 2010, Mayor Bartlett urged the council to use restraint on new spending because of a weak recovery now and a large budget gap developing for next year. Bartlett included a budget analysis that showed the council had overestimated available funding by $869,000.

Read the fund balance document presented by the Mayor at the Council Committee meeting Tuesday, August 10th, 2010.

The Council released their take on the numbers late Friday, reflecting a rise in sales tax beyond what's written into the budget. Several councilors are urging Bartlett to restore funding immediately for highway lighting and both police helicopters.

Read the Council's document

Bartlett said in response he was using a fiscally conservative position because of the still uncertain economy.

"Foreclosures are up, income is down and employment hasn't improved" said Bartlett, who repeated he's not refusing to spend money on the council priorities.

Several Councilors believe otherwise.

"Sales tax collections continue to exceed expectations, but if it comes down to a choice, we need to take care of basic services that the citizens expect,"Councilor Maria Barnes said.

Bartlett said Friday he stands by his budget analysis.

"I presented information to the Council last Tuesday showing them that we must take into account approximately $18 million in new obligations in the next fiscal year. I stand by that presentation, as well as our fiscally conservative position," Bartlett said Friday. "I am advocating working together on this budget."