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This article was archived on 6/19/2015

Council Approves Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget

The Tulsa City Council approved the City of Tulsa fiscal year 2015-2016 budget Thursday. The motion passed by a vote of 8 to 1. The budget totals $760 million, up about 7 percent from the previous year.

The Council's amendments to the Mayor's proposed budget totaled $941,000.

"This year's budget process was relatively problem-free. We worked well with the Mayor's Office and worked collectively as a Council. We ended up with a few modifications, which are minor but important," said Council and Budget Committee Chair Phil Lakin.

"Three amendments stand out for me. The civilianization of roles staffed by police officers could mean more officers on the street. Increasing mowing cycles will make the city more presentable and prove to our citizens we can take care of their city, as they must take care of their own lawns. And putting a list of priorities in place for when revenues become available ensures that we live within our means, which is rare for governments," Lakin said.

Amendments will be funded not by raising the budget, but through reductions in other areas, resulting in $941,000 in revenue. These reductions will fund the following:

  • $327,000 for phase one of Police Department civilianization
  • $150,000 for new emergency siren installations
  • $120,000 to increase the number of mowing cycles
  • $105,000 for phase one of the MTTA Downtown Circulator
  • $75,000 for the Fire Department resource allocation study
  • $75,000 for MTTA Compensation Adjustment
  • $45,000 to purchase software to track merchandise sold in pawn and other second-hand shops
  • $28,000 to leverage County funding for the River Parks Authority
  • $16,000 for Community Intervention Center (CIC) programs

The CIC, a juvenile intake and referral center, is allocated $280,000 in the budget, but was in danger of not having any staff due to current cuts at the state level.

The biggest change to the proposed budget is the addition of $327,000 to implement a process to civilianize positions in the police department. These desk positions are currently staffed by sworn officers, but over the course of the Council's plan, will be replaced by civilians at a significant cost savings.

Reductions in the budget come from the following decreases:

  • $469,000 reduction of the Enterprise Fund fee-in-lieu-of-taxes to 6.2 percent instead of 6 percent
  • $160,000 deferred demolition of eight previously closed pools
  • $99,000 deferred Council positions
  • $91,000 deferred Auditor positions
  • $30,000 outside litigation costs
  • $22,000 repairing headstones
  • $21,000 use of Unassigned Fund Balance
  • $16,000 computer replacement
  • $15,000 Leadership U program
  • $14,000 EMS Jacket Pilot Program
  • $4,000 IT Cost Allocation - PMP Certification

In conjunction with the budget, the Council adopted a resolution to express policy objectives relating to future budget priorities if revenues become available. These priorities are, in order:

  1. Phase two of the MTTA Downtown Pilot program
  2. One temporary seasonal neighborhood inspector
  3. Performance audit personnel
  4. Graffiti abatement crew and equipment
  5. Municipal Courts community courts personnel
  6. Family Safety Center programs
  7. Three temporary seasonal neighborhood inspectors
  8. Crime Prevention Network programs
  9. Community Intervention Center programs