Mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen urges defeat of Vision2
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Thursday, October 04, 2012
10/04/12 at 8:20 AM
Read more about the proposal and the status of Vision 2025 projects.
Tulsa mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen on Wednesday urged Tulsa County voters to reject the proposed $748.8 million Vision2 package, saying the process has been rushed.
The proposal is touted as a 13-year extension of the Vision 2025 0.6-cent sales tax. But Christiansen said the two are very different.
"As a member of the Vision 2025 leadership team, we spent over a year taking public input and having public discussion with complete transparency and openness of what that vision entailed," he said.
Vision2 was publicly announced in August in a rush to get it on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The impetus of Vision2 by area leaders was to save American Airlines jobs by funding improvements to the city-owned facilities occupied by the company. The effort, however, was expanded to include millions of dollars for quality-of-life projects and a deal-closing fund.
When voters went to the polls in 2003 for Vision 2025, Christiansen said, they knew exactly what they were voting for.
By contrast, he said, most people he has talked to about Vision2 are confused.
Details emerge daily about how the package is structured and how different Tulsa County municipalities would spend their quality-of-life funding shares.
Also, the only public meetings that have been held about the package have dealt with the quality-of-life portion, Christiansen said, not the funding that would benefit businesses at the airport industrial park.
"I'm not opposed to talking about another Vision package," he said. "In fact, I think it's a good idea. But it needs to be done in a responsible manner."
Christiansen was a city councilor from 2002 to 2011 and is so far the only formally announced 2013 mayoral candidate.
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, a Vision2 supporter, has said he likely will seek re-election next year. Filing for the office isn't until spring.
Christiansen said he is concerned that the Vision2 ballot language specifies only dollar amounts, not the exact projects that would be funded, leaving the possibility for changes after the public vote.
"I don't see how you can ask the people paying the bills to support something that doesn't have more specificity to it," he said.
He added that the ongoing American Airlines' bankruptcy process means there are no guarantees about job preservation.
"I'm in aviation," said Christiansen, who owns Christiansen Aviation. "I love American Airlines. I know a lot of people who work there.
"But at the end of the day, I think we would be going too far to mortgage the future of the citizens of Tulsa County and still not know what the outcome would be."
Christiansen also said the city has so many other immediate needs it should address, such as street widening and repairs and public safety.
"This is the people's money," he said, "and I take that very seriously."
Election date: Nov. 6
Amount: $748.8 million
Tax impact: Extension of 0.6 percent Vision 2025 sales tax from 2017 through 2029
PROPOSITION 1: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Airport industrial complex buildings and infrastructure: $122 million
Airport industrial complex equipment: $132 million
Closing fund: $52.942 million
Bond costs and interest: $79.938 million
PROPOSITION 2: QUALITY-OF-LIFE IMPROVEMENTS
Tulsa County: $92 million
Tulsa: $157.92 million
Bixby: $11.3 million
Broken Arrow: $44.1 million
Collinsville: $3 million
Glenpool: $5.9 million
Jenks: $9.2 million
Owasso: $14.38 million
Sand Springs: $10.1 million
Skiatook: $1.16 million
Bond costs and interest: $12 million
Original Print Headline: Christiansen calls for defeat of Vision2, saying it was rushed
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Bill Christiansen: The former city councilor says Vision 2025 was a yearlong process of public input and transparency