City of Tulsa officials crafting another plan for upgrades to city-owned buildings

Voters took to the polls on Tuesday -- hours later both Vision2 propositions had failed.

Proposition 1 would have funded upgrades to city-owned buildings at the airport. Voters rejected it 56 to 44 percent.

Now the question is "what's next?"

IC Bus Company rents its building near the airport from the city of Tulsa, and has since 2001.

IC Bus Human Resource Director David "Red" Smith won't tell us what the future is for the Tulsa plant. David said the company must stay competitive in the market and corporate officials will decide if they stay or move.

"We don't have that crystal ball, nor do we have that opportunity to look in it right now to determine what might or might not take place in this facility," Smith said.

He did say the facility would be "more conducive for heavy manufacturing."

The city-owned building was built during World War II. It doesn't have air conditioning, and workers deal with a leaking roof and electrical problems , which has shut down production for up to six hours more than once.

This company was asking for $25 million from Vision2 to fix those problems.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett says this isn't the end. He's set to meet with everyone involved next week before coming up with another game plan to get upgrades to these buildings.

Bartlett urged the importance of the upgrades, saying other cities are luring these companies away. He says getting the upgrades could mean another tax package or finding private funds.

Councilor Blake Ewing thinks a capital improvements project could be the next answer.

"The city doesn't have a mechanism to create revenue to upgrade facilities without a capital improvements project," Ewing said.

Companies like IC Bus, American Airlines, and Spirit AeroSystems pay $1 a year for rent. Ewing says there's no rent money building up to pay for upgrades.

IC Bus officials say they've put in $15 million for upgrades. American Airlines says they've done the same for $447 million.

"We must and we will come up with other answers, other alternatives, other ways of accomplishing a similar path," Bartlett said.

City councilors will start putting together a capital improvements package in 2013. Residents would vote on it November 2013.

Print this article Back to Top