City councilors put the finishing touches on the $639 million Improve Our Tulsa renewal package on Wednesday and scheduled a public vote on it for Nov. 12.
The proposal includes $427 million worth of street and transportation projects, $193 million worth of capital projects and $19 million for the city’s Rainy Day Fund.
“The City Council and I worked together through a very deliberative process to develop the program,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said after Wednesday night’s council meeting.
“I am grateful for our fellow Tulsans who make their voices heard every step of the way. They told us they want better streets, so the program is overwhelmingly focused on street improvements.”
The renewal package is a continuation of the $917.8 million Improve Our Tulsa package that was approved by Tulsa voters in 2013.
About two-thirds of the package would come from bond sales, financed with property taxes, and the other third from sales tax. The 6½-year program would begin in fiscal year 2020.
In addition to funding for streets, Improve Our Tulsa II would provide millions of dollars for new fire trucks, new police cars and investments in the city’s new Bus Rapid Transit system.
The proposal also includes approximately $2 million to overhaul the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter and $30 million dedicated primarily to improving park facilities.
Voters will be asked to consider three ballot initiatives — one for streets and transportation projects, one for capital equipment and facility improvements, and one for a permanent 0.05% sales tax to fund the Rainy Day Fund.
“This is a very basic but very important infrastructure program that will help us build the Tulsa we want without raising our taxes,” Bynum said.
Only one member of the public commented on the proposed package on Wednesday before it was voted on by the council.
Marsha Cooper said she hoped councilors would find a way to dedicate some of the funds allocated to parks to improve the city’s four golf courses at Page Belcher and Mohawk Park.
“In a way, we feel that by not funding any money for the golf courses takes away from our seniors,” she said. “We have plenty of money for the zoo, for kids, for the other 135 parks in our city.”
City officials have said the golf courses could receive some of the funding allocated for parks. City Councilor Jeannie Cue and Anna America, the city’s park and recreation director, have also proposed the creation of a citizens golf committee to help raise funds and advocate for the golf courses.
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