How Would You Spend $65 Million?
It is a $65 million dollar question."It's a smart way of managing our resources," said Mayor Dewey Bartlett, spearheading an initiative to revamp an about to expire tax. "And to re prioritize that or the specific purpose of funding new fire academies, new police academies, and three new crews for street maintenance," said Bartlett.The street department would get 15 people."This is a great opportunity for us to have these people and have them here every day," said Dan Crossland.The Tulsa fire department, 45 firefighters."What this money will do for me is add extra firefighters out there to the field," said Chief Driscoll.And the Tulsa police department, 70 new cops."This could be a real game changer for the Tulsa police department," said Chief Chuck Jordan.But not everyone is onboard."The question is what are we trading in exchange for those things?," asked Tulsa city councilor GT Bynum, pointing out the flip side of re purposing the tax. "What we'd be trading is about $65 million dollars over 5 years in street projects, bridge projects," he said.But the mayor also points to the assurance factor of having a dedicated revenue stream for public safety."That is the sustainability phase that I think is so very, very important that we presently need," said Bartlett."The reality is in more years than not, our general fund budget at the city goes up enough to pay for all of these things anyway," said Bynum.Differing viewpoints that the mayor hopes the public will decide if the council gives the go ahead to put the matter on the ballot."To simply give the public the right to vote upon how the public wants to see their tax monies used by their government," said Bartlett.