TULSA - Thanks, but no thanks. That is what one Tulsa county official said about an offer from city councilors on Tuesday.
The city and county have been fighting over a one-sixth cent sales tax.
The tax used to belong to the county, but the city has collected it for the last couple of years, and plans to use it again to help pay for capital improvements.
Tulsa County officials, led by commissioner Karen Keith, asked the city to split the tax with the county so the county can pay for a new juvenile detention center and expanded jail. Both the detention center and jail have outgrown their current facilities, county officials say.
But councilors say if they split the tax with the county they would have to cut from the $919 million in capital improvement projects already promised to voters.
"This is exactly what all 10 of us (including the mayor) set out to avoid when we started this process, which was surprises late in the game," said Councilor G.T. Bynum.
On Tuesday, Bynum offered a proposal pledging $5 million of capital improvement dollars to the county to help pay for the detention and jail projects.
As part of the agreement, councilors said they would work with the county later on to come up with a way to pay for the projects.
Other councilors jumped on board with the idea, but Keith said $5 million is not nearly enough.
"I appreciate the offer, but I'm not sure that gets us to where we need to go by any stretch," said Keith.
Keith said a new detention center and expanded jail would cost around $50 million and says because two-thirds of inmates at these facilities live in Tulsa, the city should have been willing to offer more.
On Thursday, city councilor are expected to finalize a list of capital improvement projects.
So far, the list totals $919 million.
The majority, about $650 million, would be spent on street repairs and transportation. About $65 million would be spent on police and fire.
Other departments and programs set to receive funding include:
-- $23 million - planning and economic development
-- $34 million - parks and recreation
-- $5 million - performing arts center
-- $9 million - Gilcrease Museum
-- $39 million - information technology/financial system replacement
-- $10 million - Tulsa City-County Library
-- $6 million - equipment management department
-- $10 million - Eugene field redevelopment
-- $18 million - capital equipment
-- $3.4 million - Levee District 2
District 4, represented by Councilor Blake Ewing, is set to receive the most funding for projects ($112 million) followed by District 8 ($83 million), which is represented by Phil Lakin.
Both Ewing and Lakin are opposed to sharing the sales tax with the county.
"I don't think it helps any of us trying to scramble to integrate this right now," said Ewing.
The breakdown of capital improvements by district is as follows:
District / Councilor / Funding Amount :
-- District 1 / Henderson / $73.5 million
-- District 2 / Cue / $47.5 million
-- District 3 / Patrick / $70 million
-- District 4 / Ewing / $112 million
-- District 5 / Gilbert / $43.8 million
-- District 6 / Steele / $26 million
-- District 7 / Moore / $35 million
-- District 8 / Lakin / $83.8 million
-- District 9 / Bynum / $55.5 million