Tulsa City Hall Divided On Mowing And Graffiti

Wednesday, August 5th 2009, 6:51 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK - The City of Tulsa is dealing with two growing problems and there's a disagreement at city hall over what to do.  The problems are grass and graffiti that are growing and cutting into the budget. 

The bare bones city budget only had enough money to mow once a month and to pay for one crew cleaning up graffiti.  The city could do twice by taking money from trash and storm water fees.  It's all taxpayer money, but the city council says hold on.

A piece of land on North Mingo Road is just one of the 1400 places the city is responsible for mowing.  The city never cuts it as often as a homeowner would and now they'll scale back to cutting it to about once a month.

"We will do just two more for the year, one in September, one in October, next spring one in May, one in June," said the city's Paul Strizek.

City of Tulsa Contract Manager Paul Strizek said budget problems will turn into a noticeable difference on right of way all over the city.

"So, basically cut in half.  We thought we'd have money for 13 mowings.  We'll have the money for six," said the city's Paul Strizek.

"At this point and time there doesn't seem to be enough money to go around," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen.

At Tulsa City Hall, the mayor offered a plan to divert about $750,000 from trash and storm water utility fees into the fund that pays for mowing.  A majority of the Tulsa City Council thinks that's robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"And, it's earmarked and paid by the citizens for storm water so I don't think we should take it and use it for something else," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen.

Without the council's approval, the mowing budget will be half of what's needed.  And, the city will spend half as much as well on cleaning up graffiti.

They are cosmetic, not critical problems and while the council doesn't want trash money spent on mowing, the mayor's office says it's not dead yet.

They're hoping to convince the council it's OK this Thursday.