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Local & Regional

Bynum Proposes $859 Million City Budget

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Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 - 2019 budget to the Tulsa City Council focusing on public safety, business development and improving street processes to better serve drivers and business owners while properly funding the Emergency Operating Reserve.  

 

The total proposed budget is $859 million, which includes all city funds, operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa. The general fund, which funds most core services and operations, is funded at $278 million. 

 

“In this budget proposal we are working to address the issues that matter most to Tulsans,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “The City Council and I established at the outset that our goal should be a budget that makes Tulsa safer and more fiscally stable, while continuing to build on our capacity to recruit the best employees to serve the citizens. This budget will accomplish those objectives without any dramatic increase in revenue thanks to greater efficiency in our operations.”

 

The City expects modest growth in the general fund for the upcoming fiscal year, but meaningful investments were made possible by department leadership, who stepped up to identify savings. Through their efforts, the proposed budget will allow for the reallocation of resources for compensation and benefit increases that would not have been possible through normal revenue growth.  

 

Budget highlights:

·       Matches last year’s largest one-year infusion of police officers in the history of the City of Tulsa, with the addition of 90 patrol officers this fiscal year. 

·       Adds 45 new firefighters through academies to properly staff fire engines for emergency responses. 

·       Proposes pay increases for all qualified City employees. This is the first time in a decade all employee classes have been eligible for pay raises in two consecutive years.

·       Focuses on business development by separating Development Services and Planning into distinct departments, while establishing destination districts throughout the city with a diversified cultural experience.

·       Reorganizes and modernizes the Human Rights Department by creating the Office of Resilience and Equity to focus proactively on racial disparity, using the Equality Indicators report as a baseline. 

·       Provides funding to pursue a new parking meter master lease agreement that would replace all outdated parking meters downtown with no increase to parking meter rates.

·       Recommends hiring three new utility coordination positions for street projects that will provide more rapid and detailed management of project and utility work to better serve drivers and businesses owners while reducing project times. 

·       Continues funding for the Better Way program, Sobering Center and the Tulsa City Jail. 

·       Funds the full amount of mowing cycles to maintain medians and rights of way properly. 

 

Utilities:

The Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA), the entity responsible for water and sewer, is requesting annual rate adjustments based on a five-year asset management plan to keep up with the City’s aging underground facilities that requires investment now to ensure the same quality and reliable water for generations to come. The water revenue increase was initially projected at four percent, but will drop to two percent this fiscal year. 

Overall averages:

·       Water – 2 percent 

·       Sewer – 9 percent  

·       Stormwater – 9 percent 

 

The Tulsa City Council will review and discuss the Mayor’s proposed budget and must approve a budget for the upcoming fiscal year at least seven days prior to June 30, the end of the City’s fiscal year. After the budget has been approved, Fiscal Year 18 -19 will begin July 1.

 

Mayor Bynum’s budget speech and the proposed FY19 budget can be found online at: www.cityoftulsa.org/mayor