Tulsa City Council

The proposals for the City of Tulsa's Vision sales-tax extension are all now in, and those proposals are many and varied. Some are, indeed, visionary; others seem fanciful. Some are familiar; others seem quite novel. All of the proposals -- there were more than 130 in total -- address perceived needs of one kind or another in our community, and taken together, they tally more than $2 billion in spending. Now comes the difficult task of narrowing down the numerous needs, goals, and desires in these proposals to a coherent set of projects that will be put before voters in April of next year.

After some 18 months and a previous series of public meetings, the Tulsa City Council's Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force now has a draft proposal for funding a series of low-water dams on the Arkansas River. The $298 million proposal calls for three new low-water dam sites as well as a rebuild of the existing Zink Low-Water Dam, a maintenance and operations fund to ensure upkeep of all these facilities, and money for levee rehabilitation. (The levees in Tulsa County have been deemed among the most at-risk in the U.S.) Our guest on ST is the chairman of this Task Force, G.T.

From public transportation to park spaces, from educational opportunities to crime stats, from ethnic diversity to urban density, how does Tulsa measure up to other cities of its kind throughout the nation? In mid-January, the Tulsa City Council was presented with the annual Quality of Life Report for our city. This report -- per the City Council website, where you can read all of it -- is "an objective analysis of our community, compared to 20 peer cities.

This has been an anxious past few months for many in Tulsa's arts community. That community was very much caught off-guard by the decision of Mayor Bartlett's office to eliminate most of the City of Tulsa's arts funding. Alarming proposals to cut staff positions at the Tulsa PAC Trust, the Waterworks Community Arts Center, and both the Heller and Clark Theatres effectively galvanized supporters all over town, and these supporters quickly spurred the City Council to oppose the Mayor's proposals.

City of Tulsa

The Tulsa City Council is now moving forward on a $919 million capital improvement project that would continue this community's Fix Our Streets sales tax and property taxes for an additional 5 to 5.5 years in order to fund continued street construction, rehabilitation and widening projects, and a number of other capital improvement projects. Capital improvement, you ask? Well, it's not money for more police officers or more fire-fighters, as our guest notes today, but more money for the cars, trucks, and other equipment these city employees need to do their job (as but one example).

The opening prayer will be delivered by an atheist at Thursday night’s Tulsa City Council meeting. Dan Nerren, a founder of the Humanist Association of Tulsa, says it’s a ‘first’ as far as he knows. He says he will not be praying to a deity, but instead will address the invocation to the councilors themselves.

He says several groups for years have attempted to get the council to halt sectarian prayers. Failing that, Nerren says councilors have agreed to allow an invocation from his non-theist group.

In the midst of this drought, a flood control project is dedicated in memory of a former Tulsa City Councilor. Today, the mayor and other city officials honored the late Dennis Troyer at a large stormwater detention facility in the 6th District. His widow, Nancy, was on hand for the ceremony. She says he would be very proud of this gesture from the city he loved.