City wrestles with a proposed budget of more than $800m

Mayor G.T. Bynum presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2017 – 2018 budget to the Tulsa City Council in April.

The total proposed budget is $824 million, which includes all city funds, operations and capital funding from the latest tax increases. The general fund, which funds most core services and operations, is funded at $269 million.

“With help from my colleagues on the Tulsa City Council, I believe we have developed an initial budget proposal that will set Tulsa on a new course,” Bynum said.

The city expects a flat growth rate in the general fund for the upcoming fiscal year, but city government will be able to  grow and spend more tax revenue due to Vision Tulsa program funding and other factors, Bynum said.

The budget includes three academies of thirty police recruits with 90 new officers to be hired. The budget adds three mowing cycles in the city of Tulsa for a total of eight cycles, representing a 77 percent increase in the level of mowing. It funds a new program for public drunks and addresses the problem of “panhandling.”

It replaces some fire and safety equipment that is over a decade old and will fund a fire academy of 35 firefighters. It may include pay raises for some city employees. The budget adds Sunday bus service for the first time in Tulsa Transit’s history. It funds construction of some new playgrounds throughout the Tulsa Parks system.

In increases the number of employees in street maintenance and traffic engineering.The Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) wants a 4 percent rate increase for water, a 9 percent increase for sewer and a 9 percent increase for stormwater services.

The City Council will review the budget and a vote must be taken before June 22.