Proposed city of Tulsa bond issue put on the back burner

Thursday, December 16th 2004, 10:29 am
By: News On 6

This week's failed Tulsa County library bond has not only put the library's plans on the back-burner. It's at least partly the reason for a delay in a public works bond for the city of Tulsa.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, they don't want to suffer the same fate as the library. A crushing defeat for the library has city officials thinking twice about other bond votes. Mayor Bill LaFortune: "When you look at the library, I think it's relevant to consider what happened in terms of our planning and having an organized campaign."

The city needs somewhere in the neighborhood of $240-million for things like street repairs, and flood control projects, and police labs. City councilor Chris Medlock: "It's fixing' potholes and making sure that the toilets flush and work so, the basic stuff that we do."

The library failure isn't as big a factor in Council Chris Medlock's mind. But he says it wouldn't hurt to wait at least not "too" long. “It's an extension that we've traditionally done every five years. We're now in our sixth year, so we've already delayed it by virtually a year from what it was originally proposed when I came onto the council."

Unlike the library, officials stress this general obligation bond would be an extension of current tax rates, not an increase. Mayor LaFortune: "We're very clear about keeping the millage the City of Tulsa receives under the current property tax system keeping the millage for the citizens of Tulsa at or below the existing rates."

When it comes to infrastructure needs, officials can only choose between bond packages and the 3rd penny sales tax to pay for them. And with $3-billion in basic needs and counting, they can't afford for an election to fail. The mayor thinks once voters start seeing some actual construction on Vision projects, they'll be more agreeable to other public projects.

The vote had been set for February or March. They're now looking at April or May.