Tulsa City Councilors send Fix Our Streets tax extension to ballot, amend Bartlett's proposal

TULSA - A proposed extension to "Fix Our Streets" has made its way onto Tulsa's November ballot, but not exactly the way Mayor Dewey Bartlett wanted.

Tulsa's City Councilors approved the extension, meant to re-pave and widen cracked streets and buy current officers and firefighters new equipment and cars -- which they say is decades old -- Thursday.

But councilors turned down the mayor's plan to take $60 million of those dollars to pay for the hiring of 70 new police officers, 45 firefighters and 15 street workers.

"It's still benefiting the police and fire department, just in a different way," said City Councilor Blake Ewing. "I think if you ask our firefighters on the street what our your key needs, they're going to say it's equipment. This is not us as a council saying we don't value public safety."

But Tulsa Fire Chief Ray Driskell thinks the councilors' move to nix that part of Bartlett's proposal is a dangerous one.

"Now I've got 24 people doing the same amount of work as 32. Guess what's going to give?" he hypothesized. "It's going to be the firefighters who give. It's going to be their bodies who give. It's concerning councilors are looking at that."

The City Council has planned five town hall meetings to hear from the community on the issue.

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