Tulsa Mayor Discusses $1 Billion City Budget Proposal

In April, Mayor G.T. Bynum presented the city's budget to the Tulsa City Council. For the first time, it's more than $1 billion. Mayor Bynum joined us to talk about where that money would go if approved.

Wednesday, May 8th 2024, 10:17 am

By: News On 6


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In April, Mayor G.T. Bynum presented the city's budget to the Tulsa City Council. For the first time, it's more than $1 billion. Mayor Bynum joined us to talk about where that money would go if approved.

What are some key points in the proposal?

"I think it's super important for folks to know that it's over a billion dollars because of our economic growth. It is not over a billion dollars because we've done some sort of tax increase or gone into debt or anything. We have to have a balanced budget every year. And we have not increased taxes in any way. This just reflects the growth in our economy over the last year that pushed our sales tax in particular over that kind of generation level.

And as with any budget, the most important thing is going to be public safety, staffing levels, and retention. The majority of our personnel funding that we have at the City of Tulsa is for the police department, the fire department and for those first responders. Public safety is the most important thing that we do as a city. And then close behind that is maintaining the great team that we have built here at the City of Tulsa, with pay levels that keep good employees on our team. City council and I, we don't go out and fix your water line if it breaks, or pick up your trash or respond if you're having a heart attack or somebody's breaking into your house. Our city employees do all of that. And so we want to make sure that we're funding compensation at a level that allows us to continue to attract great employees, but also retain them.

The other main thing that was super important for me, and that takes up a lot of funding in this, is rebuilding our cash reserves since the Father's Day storm. We had hit an all-time high for reserves at the City of Tulsa last year thankfully. Ten percent of our general fund was reserved for natural disaster. And then you had the Father's Day storm hit. Over 40-percent of our reserves were used to respond to that storm. The good news is FEMA will reimburse us for that, but it takes them about two to three years to do that. And we can't just hope that nothing bad happens for the next two to three years. And so there's a significant amount of funding in this to rebuild our cash reserves as well."

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