Look for Three Improve Our Tulsa Ballot Measures in November

Jul 11, 2019

Voters will likely see the proposed $639 million Improve Our Tulsa renewal split into three ballot measures in November.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said there are two goals with that structure, one being minimizing the number of ballot measures.

"The other big one is, on sales tax, you can put a lot of different things under one ballot item. With general obligation bonds, they have to be relevant under an overall category," Bynum said.

The biggest chunk of the proposal would be in a property tax question to pay for $427 million in bond-financed street and transportation projects. That would include street widening, improvements needed under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Central Business District street work, implementation of the Arena District Master Plan, matching funds needed for federal transportation grants, work for the Route 66 bus rapid transit line, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and the cost of issuing the bonds.

The other ballot measures would be for $193 million in temporary sales tax for other capital projects — including work in parks, city facility improvements and fire truck replacement — and $19 million in permanent sales tax for the city's rainy day fund.

"How does it impact us if two of the ballot measures get passed and one doesn’t, et cetera?" City Councilor Cass Fahler asked Bynum.

"None of these are reliant upon the others for approval. I think that the key is for us to put something forward that our neighbors want to vote for," Bynum said.

Bynum said if any of the proposals did fail, there would be enough time to put a replacement before voters ahead of the passing ones taking effect.

The council will take another look at the plan next week, then the city will hold another round of public meetings later this month. The ballot measures must be finalized by Aug. 7.