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City Councilors Continue Debate Over Public Safety Minimum Funding

City Hall at One Technology Center in downtown Tulsa

After another week of debate over public safety funding, City Councilor Karen Gilbert may pursue a charter change to set future spending minimums.

Gilbert was opposed this week to the ordinance dictating how the proposed public safety tax’s revenue would be spent because it only said the tax would not supplant funding rather than specifying a minimum funding level.

"If we're not putting something in here to make sure that future councils and future mayors look at something and actually use it as a guide, what is the purpose of this ordinance?" Gilbert said.

Currently, the city council can’t legally bind the future mayor or council to certain budget conditions. That could be changed through a city charter amendment, which requires a vote of the people.

Some councilors do want a clause directing future officials to consider a certain minimum funding level. City Councilor Connie Dodson is among those wanting more specific language.

"If they're not told that you need to look at, at least the last three, five years, whatever, what are they going to know is their reference to guard against supplanting?" Dodson said.

City Councilor Phil Lakin said he’s not opposed to the ordinance saying what’s been spent in previous years.

"Then it's in the ordinance for the public to know and for future councils and mayors to know this is what has been given, so if you're thinking about supplanting, make sure you check history first, because if you go below those numbers,then you're supplanting," Lakin said.