Tulsa County's ' 4 To Fix' campaign

Monday, December 5th 2005, 10:27 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa County wants your vote on an extension of the "4 To Fix" sales tax. It would raise an estimated $62-million over 5 years to pay for more county improvements.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says the usual crowd at the Tulsa County courthouse is part of the reason the county wants money to renovate the building. While some courtrooms are chronically overcrowded every day, much of the 4th floor is vacant and practically unusable without a major renovation.

Tulsa County’s Paul Wilkening: "what we're going to do is to create criminal courtrooms the way they need to be created."

Under the 4 To Fix program, the courthouse would get a $5-million renovation.

The county also wants to expand the juvenile justice bureau, where the staff works in cramped quarters and the most important files are kept outside in a trailer. The holding cell for suspects is this tiny bench that can't handle more than 2 at a time. The courtrooms are too small and the building wasn't designed to keep criminals and victims apart. Tulsa County Judge Doris Francein: "we have attorneys conferring with clients in the hallway with 100 other people out there."

And if the 4 To Fix county tax passes, the next phase of improvements could begin at Expo Square. The county has a plan to convert the now empty Armory into meeting rooms and a kitchen. The popularity of the rest of the fairgrounds is driving the demand for more convention services. Paul Wilkening: “We have state of the art barns, but not any place to have a big meeting, so that's what we want to do with the armory and continue the master plan for parking and so forth.”

That's another $19.5-million that includes a renovation of the exchange center that houses the flea market - one of the oldest buildings at the fairgrounds that haven’t been touched by the other improvements all around it.

And besides the money for the fairgrounds and the courthouse, 4 To Fix is broken down into two other propositions - $13-million for county parks and $22-million for roads.

All of these items - $62 million in all - are on the ballot that goes to voters next Tuesday.