Tulsa's $253,000 pavement-striping truck goes unused
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 5:14 AM
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Tulsa’s City Council.
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City crews have not striped an inch of pavement this calendar year, and a $253,000 pavement-striping truck has sat unused in a garage for nearly a year because the city does not have enough people to operate it, city councilors were told Thursday.
"We literally do not have a crew right now doing striping," City Traffic Operations Manager Mark Brown told councilors. "We have five full-time employees on our organizational chart right now that install signs and that do pavement markings."
Brown said the city's striping and sign crew was cut from 11 full-time employees to five in 2010 as the city dealt with a decline in sales tax revenues.
"When we went through the reduction in personnel, we just never have gained those personnel back to do striping," Brown said.
In fact, the city's striping and sign crew includes four people with one position vacant.
City Council Blake Ewing placed the issue on Thursday's council committee agenda, saying, "It is not just an aesthetics issue. It is a safety issue."
Ewing said he has heard from constituents who are concerned about the issue and has noted striping problems himself.
"I want to be sure that the elected people understand the nuances of what is going on with it, understand the budget issue and even the efficiency issues of having a quarter-of-a-million-dollar truck that we haven't used in nearly a year," Ewing said.
The city has 1,249 lanes miles of arterial streets to stripe and an estimated 500,000 signs to maintain and replace as needed.
Brown said this year's pavement marking budget is $124,337 - which is split between materials and contract services.
The contract services portion is used to pay a private contractor to do striping, Brown said.
But so far this fiscal year - which began July 1 - the city has yet to use the contractor. When it does, Brown said, school crossings will be the first roads to be striped.
"That's our No. 1 priority," he said.
Brown said he requested $181,000 for five additional employees this fiscal year but did not receive it.
"I feel like re-establishing that crew and putting them back on the streets is the wise thing to do," he told councilors. "I can show you we used to put down millions of linear feet of stripe, but it has basically grounded to a halt."
Ewing and Councilor Phil Lakin said they plan to work with Brown to see what they can do about providing his department with the funding it needs.
"Because I agree with Councilor Ewing that it is not an aesthetics issue," Lakin said.
Original Print Headline: Pavement-striping truck goes unused
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
For lack of manpower to operate it, Tulsa's $253,000 pavement-striping truck has sat unused in a city garage for nearly a year, city councilors were told. Courtesy