Some Councilors Not Supporting Street Plan

Thursday, October 30th 2008, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Several Tulsa City Councilors believe the street plan on the ballot next week is a bad plan that will do less and cost more than it should.  They want to see another plan on another ballot.

City Councilor Bill Martinson says after months spent studying what's needed to fix the streets, he's convinced the Fix the Streets plan is a waste of money.

"In short, I'm afraid the two initiatives on the ballot will end up costing Tulsa several hundred million dollars more than if we just did it right the first time," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson.

The key difference for what will happen with the streets is in maintenance, according to both Martinson and Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton.

"The biggest problem with the five year plan is that it doesn't actually fix the streets," said Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton.

The councilors want voters to turn down the five year plan on the ballot so a 12 year plan can be on the ballot in the spring.

Under both street repair plans the sales tax would remain the same.  Under the five year plan, property tax on a $100,000 home will go up $63 a year.  And, under the 12 year plan, those taxes would increase by $71, a difference of $8 a year.

To reach a street quality grade of 70 %, the five year plan would have to be extended twice, taking three years longer and costing more, by Councilor Martinson's figures, $400 million more to reach the same goal.

Martinson is an accountant and is convinced the plan on the ballot is not the most cost effective way to fix the streets.  And, for $8 dollars a year difference, he believes voters could get much more.

"We're going to have to invest money to get the infrastructure back," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson.

Both Eagleton and Martinson say they are not actively campaigning against the plan, just responding to questions about it.

Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum is supporting the plan and has also sent a letter to his constituents.