Tulsa's Mayor Ready To Trim The Budget

Tuesday, February 3rd 2009, 6:24 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- It's mid-way through the City of Tulsa's budget year and already the mayor predicts some cost cutting for next year.  Mayor Kathy Taylor briefed the Tulsa City Council on Tuesday morning on how Tulsa's economy is looking and how it's impacting the budget for city government.

At the halfway point in the budget year, the city finance director and mayor say more belt tightening is needed to make the current budget balance out by July.

"So we're mandated by law to balance the budget and we'll make sure that happens and that's why we're watching these numbers every week," said Mayor Kathy Taylor.

The mayor said unemployment, foreclosures and food stamps requests are up, while oil prices and building permits are down.  Those are all negative indicators for Tulsa's economy.

The mayor says Tulsa has to find more savings to balance the $262 million general fund.

"So what we want to do is offer quality core services to the public that we're required to do and balance the budget," said Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor.

For the last six months, city government income is up by $2.4 million.  That's $6 million less than what was expected, but something the finance director believes can be corrected.

"It's not nearly as severe as some of the other ones we've been through," said City of Tulsa Finance Director Mike Kier.

The next budget will have to account for a $1 million increase for salaries in the fire department, and at least a $1.2 million increase for police.       

The mayor says other departments will be cutting back on hiring and watching overtime to make up some of the shortage.

One part of the budget gap is a big decrease in fines:  traffic fines, code violations and parking tickets.  Altogether, they are about $2 million under what was expected.  

The administration is looking into that to see why that's happening.