City Hall Report
BY KEVIN CANFIELD & ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writers
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 3:15 AM
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"There is no fluff or froufrou in this deal. There's going to be making sure that our fire stations aren't falling apart on the firefighters who live in them and that police officers can get to crime scenes without their cars breaking down."
- Councilor G.T. Bynum on the proposed $800 million capital improvements package
"We've got to get your buy-in to help you improve, because nobody knows your neighborhood like you do."
- Councilor Jeannie Cue on the need for local residents to participate in an upcoming 61st and Peoria Quality of Life Task Force
Week in review
EMSA times defended: EMSA CEO Steve Williamson defended his organization's response times Thursday, telling city councilors that residents of Tulsa have a world-class ambulance service.
"There are always going to be some (calls) that will not be within the response time," Williamson said. "To keep that from happening, you would have to overstaff by 150, 135 percent to meet all demand regardless of the blips in service levels."
Williamson said no city in the country could afford to do that.
"We do everything possible. That is why they are reaching the response time standard of over 90 percent," he said.
Williamson was invited to speak at the councilors' Thursday afternoon committee meeting by Councilor Karen Gilbert, who said her constituents' No. 1 complaint about EMSA's service is delayed responses.
The Tulsa World reported on Thursday that EMSA's figures show that ambulances were delayed in responding to at least 80 calls so far this year.
An earlier report indicated that ambulances were delayed to calls involving heart attacks, breathing problems, car accidents, seizures, suicide attempts and other serious medical conditions, according to records.
Dam improvements: The River Parks Authority is in discussions with the city, county and AEP-PSO to raise $1 million for temporary improvements to Zink Dam.
The authority has asked each entity to contribute $250,000 to the project with the authority also providing $250,000.
The funds would be used to replace the dam's three gates, replace seals and reposition silt that has accumulated in the Arkansas River north of the dam.
Soccer complex eyed: A former Tulsa Drillers pitcher is negotiating with the City of Tulsa to operate its recently constructed Mohawk Soccer Complex.
Richard Odekirk, a left-hander who spent the summer of 1987 in Tulsa, is the founder of Big League Dreams.
The Chino Hills, Calif.-based company operates 11 sports complexes for counties and cities across the country.
Odekirk said he would like Tulsa's facility to be his company's 12th.
"I am really hoping this comes to fruition like I think it will," he said, "because I am really excited about coming back."
Meter vote postponed: A proposal to raise downtown's parking meter rates to as much as $2 per hour as part of a deal to privatize the meters' maintenance is on hold.
City councilors agreed Thursday to postpone voting on the proposal indefinitely after several said they wanted more information about other options, including continuing to maintain the meters with city personnel.
"It sounds like there are still some outstanding questions," Councilor Blake Ewing said. "I definitely think we owe it to the public to not hurry this thing along if there's more research to be done and more conversations to be had."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett has asked the council to consider raising meter rates in most of downtown to $1 per hour and on some streets to 30 cents to $2 per hour - up from the current range of 20 to 50 cents per hour.
That would generate enough revenue to follow through with a city committee's recommendation in October to hire Tulsa-based American Parking to upgrade the meters and oversee their maintenance, officials have said.
Fix Our Streets taking shape: Major renovations of city facilities are being considered for the next rendition of the 2008 Fix Our Streets package as the proposal begins taking shape as a catch-all solution for bread-and-butter needs - streets or otherwise.
Unlike Tulsa County's Vision 2025 and Vision2 initiatives, the city's latest capital improvements package would focus on its $1.4 billion backlog of needs rather than desires, said City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who heads a task force examining projects for the proposal.
The city's Engineering Services Department has proposed spending $35.3 million of the next package's estimated $800 million on facility renovations - including a new roof and carpet for City Hall, repairs for police and fire stations and energy-efficiency upgrades for the Gilcrease Museum.
Nothing gets more basic than that, officials said.
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