Mayor G.T. Bynum told city councilors on Wednesday Tulsa is poised to rebound from the pandemic with his $799.4 million proposed budget for fiscal year 2022.
Bynum praised city departments for tightening their belts a bit and employees for taking furloughs to get through the pandemic. He said general fund revenues of $262.9 million for FY22 are down $29 million, but the city got $31 million in federal coronavirus relief funds in this fiscal year.
"If you take that out, we’re projecting a very minor increase in recurring revenue for the coming year," Bynum said.
Bynum told councilors his budget proposal gives qualifying employees a raise, maintains current police and fire staffing levels, and builds reserve funds. Bynum said his budget also begins shifting streets funding from expensive reconstruction projects to rehabilitation work to maintain almost $1 billion in improvements done over the past 12 years.
"This will be like getting a brand-new street on every roadway where we do this work," Bynum said.
Bynum said he’s also set aside funding to continue momentum on improving the city’s mental health system. That includes making the Community Response Team — a crisis intervention unit including police, firefighters and a mental health professional — an operation that runs five days a week rather than three.
"This will improve our ability to effectively assist people suffering a mental health emergency and reduce their future reliance on 911 for services," Bynum said.
The budget also covers a municipal court liaison to help people navigate the process and a text message alert system to remind people of upcoming court dates. A trial run found it improved appearance rates, reducing incarceration for non-violent offenses.
Councilors have until June 23 to review and approve a city budget.