City Hall Report
BY BRIAN BARBER & KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writers
Sunday, September 09, 2012
9/09/12 at 2:51 AM
Read all of the week’s stories on the city.
"Our renaissance is true and real, and our future is bright. I encourage you to share in the vision. I encourage you to support Vision2. Working together for Tulsa, we can and we will move Tulsa forward." - Mayor Dewey Bartlett, during his State of the City speech.
"It's hard to get someone to vote 'yes.' But to get someone to vote 'no,' all you have to do is create a little bit of doubt." - Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, telling Tulsa councilors about the difficulty in passing a public improvements package.
Week in review
Pearl District: The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission rejected a proposal Wednesday to expand the use of the city's form-based zoning code within the Pearl District.
The proposal, which six of nine commissioners voted to oppose, was the first attempt by the city to apply the code to a new area since it was approved in 2011.
The form-based zoning code is a departure from how Tulsa has planned for decades. Unlike the traditional, use-based zoning code, which separates properties by use, it focuses more on a property's form and placement on a lot.
The intent is to help create more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods such as one might see in a large city.
It was first applied - with little controversy - to 125 parcels covering about 60 acres of the district between Fifth Place and 11th Street west of Peoria Avenue.
The code began to draw closer scrutiny when proponents requested that it be expanded to the entire district, which includes 1,172 parcels covering roughly 300 acres.
Opponents said they were not against the form-based code but were against applying it to the entire Pearl District, especially in areas where manufacturing and auto-oriented businesses are prevalent.
State of the City: Mayor Dewey Bartlett urged public support for the proposed $748.8 million Tulsa County Vision2 sales-tax package Thursday during his State of the City speech, holding up Oklahoma City as a role model.
"We can look down the turnpike to Oklahoma City as an example," Bartlett said during the Tulsa Metro Chamber-sponsored luncheon at the Tulsa Convention Center.
That city's successful Metropolitan Area Projects initiative, first approved in 1993, is now in its third wave of public improvement projects.
"Mayor (Mick) Cornett, we continue to look to you and Oklahoma City for inspiration as a leading example of rebirth, renewal and breaking new ground," Bartlett said.
"You've turned Oklahoma City into a destination, and we are so proud to be your sister city."
Now, Tulsa needs to continue its momentum started with Vision 2025 through the passage of Vision2, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, Bartlett said.
Tulsa and OKC councilors: Tulsa councilors sought advice Thursday from their Oklahoma City counterparts on how to put together a successful public initiative similar to that city's Metropolitan Area Projects.
The two councils held a joint meeting at Tulsa's City Hall to share ideas and discuss ways they could collaborate.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett - a member of his city's council - said Oklahoma City has always worked closely with its business community to put together tax packages because the business community funds the campaign.
"Ultimately, these elections are campaigns," he said. "The most well-meaning initiative that gets only 49 percent of the vote isn't worth a whole lot, and political capital was expended in the loss."
Projects included in a package have to be a mix of what businesses are looking for, what the council is looking for and what will help get it to 50 percent on election day, Cornett said.
"We all have our pet projects we'd like to see funded, but if it's polling at 28 percent, it's not a good idea," he said. "It might bring down everything. Your entire package is only as strong as its weakest link."
Sales tax up: Tulsa's September sales tax revenue was up 9.8 percent over the same month for the previous year, according to a new report released Friday.
The city's check for the month from the Oklahoma Tax Commission was for $18,848,845, compared with $17,160,220 in September 2011.
The money was collected on purchases from July 16 to Aug. 15.
A portion of the 9.8 percent revenue increase is due to Tulsa's sales tax rate increasing from 3 percent to 3.167 percent last fall.
That's when the city began collecting a 0.167 percent share that formerly went to Tulsa County. It's now used for the Fix Our Streets initiative.
About 4 percent of this month's tax boost can be attributed to an actual growth in sales.
Tulsa's fiscal year budget is based on achieving an overall 3.7 percent growth over the course of a 12-month fiscal year.
On the calendar
Tulsa County public hearing on its Vision2 quality-of-life projects: 9:30 a.m. Monday, Tulsa County Administration Building, Room 119, 500 S. Denver Ave.
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Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett gives his State of the City address against a background of the city skyline on Thursday at the Tulsa Convention Center. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World