Tulsa City Council at odds with Mayor about city budget

Tuesday, December 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa City Council rejected the mayors plan to cut the budget Tuesday.

The council wants a new plan that doesn't cut wages or employees - but the mayor's office says it's an impossible goal. News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says the mayor has offered up a combination of layoffs - and salary cuts to make up an $11 million shortfall in the budget.

The city council asked some hard questions Tuesday about why staff was being cut - and several dozen city employees watched, with questions of their own. Under the mayor's plan, some could lose their jobs - and others would take a 2 1/2% cut in pay, after January 1st. City employee Lori Gardley, "It would be easier to take a salary cut for everybody if we thought the city had done everything that they can and this was a last resort but when you look around and see plans for a Christmas party it's hard to say oh well we've done everything we can do."

City Administrator Bob Lemons said - "our objective is to provide a good wage for employees - It's not an easy conclusion we've come to." But he added he didn't think it was possible to make the necessary cuts without touching employees. The city is facing this budget shortfall because of the slumping economy - and a drop in tax income - and they don't believe the problem will get much better anytime soon.

The council and mayor's office will work together on the next version of the plan, but they're working on a short deadline to make some changes by the first of the year.