The Tulsa City Council unanimously approved the City of Tulsa Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget on Wednesday.
The total budget is about $845.8 million, which includes all city funds, operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa. General fund revenues, which fund most core services and operations, are expected to be $289.8 million. This is about 4 percent more than the original budget for FY19 and is largely due to growth in online use tax collections.
The Council and Mayor G.T. Bynum met in January for a retreat to discuss priorities for the upcoming budget year. Priorities include public safety, community development, employee compensation and economic development.
“The Mayor and the Council continue to work together extremely well, which benefits both our City and citizens,” Council Chair Phil Lakin said. “Unanimous approval of this budget is no surprise, because we collectively wrote it and prioritized initiatives that will make Tulsa a globally competitive, world-class city.”
Public Safety – The budget provides for the recommended number of police officers reflective of Tulsa's demographics by adding 90 new police officers. Also, the budget funds 25 firefighter cadets to counter attrition and keep staffing steady. To increase safety in neighborhoods, this fiscal plan includes resources to address more than 500 requests for neighborhood streetlights by funding the first year of a three-year program to install new streetlights. It also provides $246,000 to create and fund the Office of the Independent Monitor beginning in January.
Community Development - At the January retreat, Councilors and Mayor Bynum agreed that the City should be more strategic in addressing challenges created by vacant and abandoned housing. As part of this budget, the City will create a new Housing Opportunity Partnership (HOP) to address vacant and abandoned houses and create opportunities for homeownership. The budget also includes increased funding for animal welfare to pay for increased field coverage and extended shelter hours, following the Animal Welfare Reform Plan.
This year, Chamberlain Recreation Center - to be renamed the Jane Malone Recreation Center at Chamberlain Park - will reopen with two full-time staff and new fitness and sports equipment for residents. The Park and Recreation Department will add two new positions to promote parks programs and facilities, better engage the public on an ongoing basis, and develop and implement data-driven strategic planning and project management.
Employee Compensation – The budget ensures competitive employee compensation for all employee groups to help recruit and retain the best public servants.
Economic Development – The new AERO BRT route will debut this year with free rides for everyone for a month. Additionally, the budget tripled the City’s Economic Stabilization Reserve, also known as the Rainy Day Fund. This will increase the City's resilience during difficult economic circumstances.
The 2019-2020 Fiscal Year will begin July 1.
The full 2019-2020 budget book will be available online by June 29, 2019.