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Improve Our Tulsa to go before voters Aug. 8

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the accurate timeline of Improve Our Tulsa packages and renewals, and additional information about the current package.

It’s official — Tulsans will vote on the next Improve Our Tulsa package come August.

The sales tax and bond extension will now net the city $814 million if passed. This cost increased thanks to a bond of $42 million, which was approved to address additional requests following citizen feedback.

City council voted 8-1 on Wednesday night to put the package before voters Aug. 8, with Grant Miller voting against.

The proposed package includes:

  • $93.8 million for inflation-adjusted costs for previously-approved street projects
  • $46 million for street widening
  • $79.7 million for Performing Arts Center upgrades including ADA compliance, Chapman Hall renovation and facilities updates
  • $47.5 million for a new public safety center to include police headquarters and municipal court space
  • $58.5 million to upgrade the fire department vehicle fleet
  • $95 million for housing initiatives

The Improve Our Tulsa renewal passed in 2019. Councilor Lori Decter Wright pointed out the first and second packages passed overwhelmingly.

“And I expect in August, we will have a similar return, because I know Tulsans love Tulsa, and they know we need to invest in our public servants and our assets, and that’s exactly what’s being proposed in this package," she said.

Before council approved the election, Miller claimed councilors didn't have enough time to do their due diligence on the package. He said he was told Tulsa County was going to preempt the city on the package, and council was moving forward too quickly because of it.

Commissioner Karen Keith said the county wasn't going to preempt the city, and said the package would benefit the county as well.

Miller also believed councilors should have looked at each proposed contract in the package, but others said workers in city departments were subject matter experts and did their due diligence.

The city presented several opportunities for public comment on the package through April. Councilor Jeannie Cue said her constituents kept talking to her about the package, and overwhelmingly supported it.

“They’re not just new items that have come to the table. These are things we know we’ve had to address,” she said.

For more information on Improve Our Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org.

Copyright 2023 Public Radio Tulsa

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.