City officials try to ease division on streets plan
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
7/01/08 at 2:48 AM
Document: Read the full $2 billion, 12-
year streets proposal
The mayor and City Council discuss the $2 billion proposal at a forum.
Trying to overcome internal differences about the 12-year, $2 billion streets tax proposal, Mayor Kathy Taylor and the City Council continued Monday night to discuss the plan and gather public input.
"I don't want you to get the idea from reading the paper that there's acrimony," Councilor Bill Martinson said at the outset of a town hall meeting that drew more than 100 people to East Central High School.
"Don't misconstrue dialogue with problems," he said.
It was only last week that the mayor told councilors not to continue to "quibble" among themselves or voters would reject the streets proposal.
The week before that, a possible summer election on the issue was put off until at least the fall because of the division.
The main sticking point for the council is the $120 million included in the proposal for five street-widening projects in south Tulsa.
Some councilors have argued that that shouldn't be included at all or that different widening projects should be considered, while other councilors fought vigorously to fund the widening proposal.
The issue was glossed over Monday night, with the focus instead on how the city's streets got into the shape they're in.
Tulsan Ron Jacobs said he's been following the debate over the proposal closely and is reserving judgment until city leaders come to a consensus on what they'll put to voters.
"Certainly something needs to be done," he said, "but I can't get behind it until they're all behind it."
Others who attended the meeting said they want officials to know that they think the proposal is too long and too much.
"I don't know if I trust our government to do what they say they're going to do with that kind of money," resident Dorothy Davis said.
"I think they should all go back to the drawing board and come up with something that we can vote to renew every few years or so, as long as they're doing a good job."
Resident Theresa Landers said she wants to see a shorter package that tackles the infrastructure in the older areas of the city.
"That's where we really need some help," she said. "It seems like they're always doing something in south Tulsa and ignoring the needs elsewhere."
Leon Carnes and his wife, Roberta Carnes, said the city needs to make do with the funding it already gets.
"I'm 67," he said. "My retirement check isn't getting any bigger, but my bills sure are."
The current proposal would be funded through extensions of existing sales-tax streams and an increase in property taxes equivalent to $70 to $75 per year for a $100,000 home.
Utility rates also would increase because they no longer would be subsidized by the city's third-penny and general obligation bond programs, which instead would be devoted to streets.
The primary goal would be to bring Tulsa's streets up to an average grade of a "C," or satisfactory, from a "D," or unsatisfactory, on the Pavement Condition Index and to maintain that level.
Brian Barber 581-8322
(All meetings will begin at
July 7: Salk Elementary School,
7625 E. 58th St.
July 14: Hardesty Regional
Library, 8316 E. 93rd St.
July 21: Rudisill Regional Library,
1520 N. Hartford Ave.