By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A budget shortfall for the City of Tulsa will mean furloughs for all city employees. And, it almost meant layoffs for police and fire, what has been the most protected function of city government. The Tulsa City Council spent hours talking about the budget on Thursday night.
The meeting started with a show of force by the firefighters and their families to make a point that they've been cut enough. And, it was the fire department that consumed most of the discussion.
The council was ready to vote on the mayor's revised budget, but at the meeting, Councilor Bill Martinson presented an idea for a 20% cut to police and fire that drew fire from most of the council and almost everyone in the meeting.
The budget as proposed by the mayor was already a 7% reduction from last year and the idea to make further cuts from public safety led to impassioned arguments against it from the employees, the police and fire chiefs, the mayor and several councilors.
In the end, the council turned down the extra layer of cutbacks and approved the budget as suggested by the mayor.
That means no layoffs for police and fire, but eight furlough days for all city employees and significant cutbacks in service for almost all other departments.