Fall vote still scheduled for Tulsa mayor's 'Vision Plan'

Monday, June 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The idea of incentives for aviation, benefiting American and Boeing, prompted a downsizing on the Vision 2025 package.

And while a vote on both is likely on the same ballot, one member of the leadership team thinks it's a mistake. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says after more than a year of planning, the list could be final by next week, and the county commissioners could set the vote for September.

But one of the county commissioners thinks it's being rushed to the ballot and is likely to fail. It started as the ultimate democratic exercise - more than a thousand people considering every idea. In the last few months, a 14-person committee of elected leaders boiled down the list - and met several times to discuss the most promising ideas.

The list of recommended projects is being drafted in private, by a small committee headed by mayoral aide Karen Keith. "But I can assure you by July 1st, we'll all know what's on that list." Keith says it's headed for a September vote, along with a tax incentive package for American and Boeing. "When that came up we had to change, downsize the vision package somewhat, but what we'll end up with is a combination of an aeronautics package and a visioning package."

The combination could approach a billion dollars - requiring more than ten years of a penny sales tax. County commissioner Randi Miller thinks that's too much at once, especially for a vision package that's still being drafted. “And I don't think it's ready yet, the only thing that's ready is Boeing and American.”

She thinks a tax increase for Boeing, American and the vision package could doom all three. “I think we need to ask the voters for one package at a time, they are separate packages, one is the needs for the community, the dialog visioning is the wants.” But Keith says the mayor is confident Tulsans will see the potential in the packages - and vote for all three. “What we're hearing is doing something brave and bold and big, it's time to move ahead.” And it will move ahead some this week.

The leadership team will have a public meeting Wednesday and again next Monday to discuss the list. The leadership team can draft their own - and commissioner Miller says she has lots of questions when the public meetings resume.