Tulsa, Oklahoma – Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor went before the Tulsa City Council to present her new city budget last night. The city gets most of its money from three-cents on the dollar sales tax. One penny---called the "third penny" --- is for use on voter approved capital projects. So, that means the city must balance the city's other expenses on just two cents sales tax. Mayor Taylor says putting together a balanced budget, as required by law, was a difficult task.
The general fund budget submitted last night tops $575-million. That is actually five million less than the city current budget. The Mayor says he cuts are strategically planned not to hamper customer service.
One example is in the parks department. Rather than printing a program guide, the offerings will be made available on line. That alone will save the city 60-thousand dollars. But that is not enough. Mayor Taylor says there will be employee cuts and furloughs. About 100-positions will be cut and employees will be furloughed for four days.
Public Safety is a top concern of Tulsans. Taylor says her new budget does include funding for a new police academy training class. She is also seeking federal funds to hire more officers . But that will require city policy decision from the city council.
In the spirit of full disclosure, prior to joining the staff at KWGS, I was employed by the Mayor's office. The budget proposal is now in the hands of the city council. It will have until July 1st to make modifications and approve the budget. We will feature council reaction to the proposal in the coming weeks as the members have time to digest the proposal.