Tulsa Mayor Orders City Budget Cuts

Wednesday, March 18th 2009, 4:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tough times mean tough choices for the City of Tulsa. The mayor is asking every department to slash its budget by 7%.

Mayor Kathy Taylor says Tulsa needs to reduce the budget by as much as $16 million for the next fiscal year. That means every department will have to find ways to tighten its belt.

There was no shortage of people basking in Wednesday's perfect weather at Riverparks.

Many say they enjoy the recent improvements there, and are hoping a budget shortfall won't steal their sunshine.

"I would hate to see any kind of decline. Right now, it's so beautiful. It's a great place to come spend time. And I would hate to see any kind of change," said Nicole Hughes, Tulsa resident.

"I think the officials should take a pay cut," said Michael Veach, Tulsa resident.

Tulsa's budget problems will likely affect the Parks Department, as well as every other branch of city government.

"We're no different than any business in this nation. We've got to do more with fewer dollars," said Mayor Taylor.

Mayor Kathy Taylor says the recession has affected revenues. The city relies on sales tax for much of its funding. So until people start spending again, she says sacrifices will have to be made.

"Sales tax is our bread and butter. That's how we pay salaries. And when sales tax is impacted when times are tough, it makes it a lot more difficult budget year," said Mayor Taylor.

Despite the looming cuts, Mayor Taylor says Tulsa is still in better shape than many other cities nationwide. She says adjusting to a shrinking budget will be tough, but it's an unfortunate byproduct of tough times.

"Tulsa is feeling the global economic picture, but we're not feeling it as much as the majority of other communities," said Mayor Taylor.

The city also has an ongoing hiring freeze. The mayor hopes the budget cuts will allow the city to avoid making any layoffs.