2019-05-15 ne-finalimprovetulsa3487

Mayor G.T. Bynum speaks at the opening of the final town hall meeting on the renewal of the Improve Our Tulsa program at the Greenwood Cultural Center on May 14, 2019. JOSEPH RUSHMORE for Tulsa World

Mayor G.T. Bynum on Wednesday offered Tulsans a peek at what the Improve Our Tulsa II ballot could look like in November.

Make that ballots.

Under the proposal presented to city councilors by Bynum on Wednesday, the $639 million renewal package would be broken into three separate ballots.

Street work and other transportation projects totaling $427 million — all funded through general obligation bonds — would go on one ballot.

A second ballot would ask voters to approve $193 million in projects funded through a temporary sales tax. The vast majority of the funds would pay for capital equipment, such as police cars and fire trucks, with millions of dollars allocated for improvements to city facilities.

If approved by voters, the third ballot would create a permanent, separate sales tax that would go into the city’s Rainy Day Fund. The tax would raise $19 million over the 6½-year life of the Improve Our Tulsa II program.

Bynum told councilors that he will be back before them next week for a final discussion of the proposal before it is presented to the public in a series of town hall meetings.

The mayor and the City Council will then incorporate the public’s feedback into a final version of the proposal that Tulsans will vote on Nov. 12.

Speaking after the council committee meeting, Bynum stressed that the public’s input is important. During the creation of the first Improve Our Tulsa package, he said, residents attending a town hall meeting noted that proposed funding for BOK Center maintenance was not needed because every ticket sold for events there includes a fee for building maintenance.

The town hall meetings are like “getting your teacher to look at you and point out the errors on your test before you turn it in and get graded.”

About two-thirds of the Improve Our Tulsa renewal funding would come from bond sales, financed with property taxes, and a third in sales tax.

The renewal would begin in fiscal year 2020 and end midway through fiscal year 2026, which is the end of December 2025.

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Kevin Canfield



Twitter: @aWorldofKC

Staff Writer

Kevin Canfield has covered local government in Tulsa for nearly two decades. He also has reported on downtown development, zoning and community planning.

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