Bynum Proposes Budget Aimed Solely at Maintaining Current City Services

Apr 22, 2020

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed Wednesday evening an $828.5 million total city budget intended to keep city services at current levels through the next fiscal year.

That figure includes all city funds, as well as operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa. The total fiscal year 2021 budget is down $26.1 million from FY2020.

Due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and plummeting oil prices, the general revenue fund is projected to decline $12.9 million, giving the city $256.6 million in its main operations fund.

"While in years past, this speech was about exciting new initiatives and opportunities for us to better serve Tulsans, the budget before you is about one thing: working as a team to continue serving Tulsans at existing levels," Bynum told city councilors.

To prevent cuts to services, Bynum announced last week most city employees would take furloughs equivalent to 10-percent pay reductions.

"Given our reliance on reduced employee pay to continue existing service levels, there are no new programs or positions in this budget," Bynum said. "I could not in good conscience propose anything new until we have restored pay to pre-furlough levels for those employees making this sacrifice."

The budget also calls for cutting new community policing spending and using more from city reserves.

Hiring and travel freezes will also continue, but Tulsans will not see a water rate increase in the coming year and other utility increases will be lower than planned. Sewer rates will go up 3% instead of 7%, and stormwater rates will go up 5% instead of 9.5%.