City of Tulsa

Josh Larios

Tulsa city councilors are still mulling over updates to regulations on backyard chickens.

In their latest round of proposed changes discussed last week, the minimum distance for a chicken coop to be from a residence is cut from 40 feet to 35. A significant portion of the city is zoned residential with lots a minimum of 60 feet wide.

District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee said fresh eggs can make a big difference in some Tulsans’ diets.

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A more than two-year legal battle over the City of Tulsa’s proposed Tourism Improvement District appears to be coming to a close, with the city winning the fight over the special assessment.

Tulsa County District Judge William Musseman granted the city’s request for summary judgement Wednesday, agreeing with their arguments the 3% assessment on hotels with 110 rooms or more was established properly.

City of Tulsa

Several city councilors said Wednesday they are concerned about Tulsa’s mask ordinance expiring April 30, but an extension is not currently on the table.

In Tulsa County, COVID-19 hospitalizations are manageable and new cases rates are back to levels seen before the ordinance was enacted last summer. Despite those trends, District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee is not ready to drop the mandate. Wastewater testing has detected at least one coronavirus variant in the city, and McKee said not enough people are fully vaccinated yet to get rid of a proven mitigation strategy.

The Tulsa Health Department recommended Friday the City of Tulsa can let its mask ordinance expire April 30, given current COVID trends.

THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said new cases and hospitalizations are at levels last seen in June, and more and more people get vaccinated every day.

"We’ll continue to scan the environment, watch the data and make the best recommendations to keep people safe. If that means recommending that we reinstitute our mask mandate, we would do that," Dart said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Residents are starting to move into Tulsa’s mixed-income River West community as phase one nears completion.

There are 74 total units opening up, with 37 for residents of the old Riverview Park public housing torn down to make room for the new apartments. The goal is bringing together people from all walks of life in a transformed Eugene Field neighborhood.

"River West is a community of inclusion and unity. This is what creating a better Tulsa by transforming lives and community looks like in action," said Tulsa Housing Authority Board Chair Rick Neal.

Tulsa Recycle Transfer Facility

The City of Tulsa is sending residential recycling to the incinerator for the time being because of a fire at the local processing facility last week.

A lithium-ion battery made it into the recycling stream, sparking a fire at the Tulsa Recycle Transfer Facility, referred to as TRT. City Refuse and Recycling Services Manager Maureen Turner said she doesn’t know how long the site will be offline.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney who has sued the city of Tulsa for reparations for victims and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has filed a lawsuit for the release of records related to the massacre and the coming centennial of the attack.

The records request was made in January for documents that include references to the 1921 massacre and internment camps where Blacks were held following the massacre, and records referencing the Black Tulsa community between 1908-1921, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court by Tulsa attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons.

Downtown Coordinating Council

The Tulsa City Council has voted to waive application fees for sidewalk cafés and parklets for another year.

The outdoor spaces have provided an option for restaurant patrons wary of lingering indoors during the pandemic, helping businesses in the process as they dealt with plummeting sales. Downtown Coordinating Council Executive Director Brian Kurtz says with a lot of employers within the IDL still having employees work from home, businesses haven’t fully recovered.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa is still waiting to learn how much funding it will receive from the American Rescue Plan.

The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden nearly two weeks ago. Mayor G.T. Bynum said Wednesday he feels a "heavy burden" to ensure the money Tulsa does get is spent responsibly because of what the package will add to the national debt.

City of Tulsa

The City of Tulsa launched a new program Monday to reward landlords who are trying to help with an affordable housing crunch. 

Another round of emergency rental assistance is available for Tulsa County residents.

The City of Tulsa and Tulsa County have chosen Restore Hope Ministries to administer a combined $19.6 million in federal aid from the relief package signed into law by President Donald Trump in late December to people in danger of eviction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Jeff Jaynes said the need remains deep.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council has been asked to approve transferring $4 million from a pandemic relief fund to cover some areas where the city is coming up short.

A convention and tourism facilities fund, which covers the Cox Business Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, would get $2.3 million.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum is challenging local businesses to help close the city’s gender pay gap by signing a pay equity pledge.

The Tulsa Pay Equity Pledge was proposed by the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women after the city audited its employee pay and found disparities.

Tulsa County women earn 84 cents to every dollar earned by men. Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women Vice Chair Dr. Meg Morgan said employers taking the pledge promise to tackle a variety of contributing issues.

City of Tulsa

City of Tulsa officials said Friday afternoon a voluntary boil order is no longer necessary, and they’re no longer asking people to conserve water.

Crews now have a handle on water line breaks after dealing with more than 400 caused by winter storms. At one point, more than 1,700 homes and businesses were without water.

The city is still using about one-third more water than typical for this time of year. Mayor G.T. Bynum encouraged people to keep checking for broken pipes at their homes.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

 

Tulsa city councilors on Wednesday night approved outgoing Tulsa County GOP Chair Bob Jack’s nomination to an infrastructure board on a 5–4 vote.

Mayor G.T. Bynum’s nomination of the construction executive for the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board had been criticized by some councilors and citizens, in part because of disparaging comments about Black Lives Matter and north Tulsa he made last year. Councilor Kara Joy McKee said political parties aside, that’s why she couldn’t vote for Jack.

Tulsa Flag

Tulsa city councilors and the mayor’s office met virtually on Wednesday for their annual retreat to lay out priorities for the coming year.

Many big plans from 2020 are still on the table because they got derailed during the coronavirus pandemic. Those include neighborhood revitalization, raising all city employees’ pay to at least $15 an hour, and making permanent a joint mental health response team that includes Tulsa police, fire and mental health professionals.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

City of Tulsa departments have been asked to scale back their fiscal year 2022 plans 3% to help balance the budget.

CFO James Wagner said the city can’t repeat actions from this fiscal year, like using reserve funds and furloughing employees. Steps departments could take include eliminating vacant positions.

Wagner said whether that’s temporary or permanent should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

City of Tulsa

Crews continued work Monday on dozens of water line breaks across the City of Tulsa, meaning hundreds of people are still without running water.

Officials said 40 crews were at work, and the city's water main breaks dashboard showed 60 active breaks as of 5 p.m. Tulsans are asked to keep conserving water — no washing cars, no running high-use appliances and no long showers.

Updated Feb. 22, 9:10 a.m.  

A City of Tulsa entity focused on boosting downtown is carefully watching a state Senate bill out of concern it may undermine its work.

The Downtown Coordinating Council has an eye on Senate Bill 489, which would let certified historic hotels opt out of an improvement district — areas created by local governments where an assessment can be levied on businesses to pay for marketing services, improvements not related to streets and other benefits.

Tulsa city councilors met Wednesday with what’s become a rare controversial nominee for a city authority, board or commission.

Mayor G.T. Bynum picked construction executive Bob Jack for a seat on the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board. Jack is chair of the Tulsa County Republican Party.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Over the next several months, the City of Tulsa will merge the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Tulsa industrial and parking authorities, and the Economic Development Commission into a single entity.

Tulsa City Hall

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Thursday that applications are open for up to $6.5 million in grants for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Tulsa

Tulsa's city council voted unanimously Wednesday night to extend the expiration date of the city's mask ordinance.

It requires people 10 and older to wear masks in public places and was set to expire at the end of the month. It will now be in effect until midnight April 30.

"This is so important to our city. We are not out of … our pandemic. Just because people are getting vaccinations does not mean this is over," Councilor Jeannie Cue said in a committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

After eight months, half-day furloughs every Friday have come to their expected end for hundreds of City of Tulsa employees.

The furloughs were implemented to help the city deal with with a $13 million budget shortfall. Mayor G.T. Bynum said current fiscal year revenue is staying within a range where extending the furloughs is not necessary, but he and the city council are gearing up for another budget shortfall in FY22.

City of Tulsa

The City of Tulsa’s housing policy director is leaving that job to make an interim role permanent.

Becky Gligo has been picked as the executive director of Housing Solutions, the organization leading work to end homelessness by members of the A Way Home for Tulsa Coalition. She’s led Housing Solutions on an interim basis the past 10 months while also working at the city.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In a report from a COVID mitigation working group, as of Friday, the Tulsa Health Department is not recommending any additional steps from the City of Tulsa right now.

"They feel that we’ve taken the most action of any municipality, quite frankly, in the state, and we’re hoping to see more participation from our nearby partners," City Councilor Lori Decter Wright, a member of the working group, told fellow councilors during a Wednesday committee meeting.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council wants to give the Muscogee (Creek) Nation two more years to decide whether it can commit $16 million dollars to building an Arkansas River Dam near 101st Street.

The deadline for that was Dec. 31 of this year. The council voted last week to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2022. Councilor Phil Lakin said the additional time will ensure everyone’s budgets have recovered from 2019’s spring floods and the coronavirus pandemic and will give Tulsa officials time to meet with Muscogee (Creek) officials about the matter.

City of Tulsa officials took their oaths of office Monday on an inauguration day with limited attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor G.T. Bynum’s uncle, Judge William LaFortune, administered his oath in Bynum’s office. It was broadcast online. After the two bumped elbows, Bynum gave a short speech calling on Tulsans to overcome divisive forces, especially as the city approaches the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre centennial.

City officials have gained some insight into how much the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged down Tulsa’s economy.

City of Tulsa Chief of Economic Development Kian Kamas told city councilors last week her team had started to see signs of slowing commercial development activity in late 2019.

"And in 2020 with COVID kind of in full force, we’ve definitely seen a slowdown in commercial activity. You can see in November, we issued three new commercial permits as compared to the 2013 through 2019 average of 11 permits per month. So, down quite substantially," Kamas said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Updated Dec. 7, 11:20 a.m.  

The City of Tulsa’s economic development team will roll out two incentives early next year to encourage business growth along bus rapid transit lines.

One program will reimburse city fees levied on businesses along Aero’s existing Peoria Avenue line and coming Route 66 line. The other will set up a revolving loan fund with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation to offer low-interest loans to commercial and retail establishments.

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