TULSA, Okla. — Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed a nearly $945 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The proposal represents an increase of over $145 million - over 18% more than the original budget plan.
So what is in the budget?
1. Safety enhancements
One key point is the addition of real-time cameras known as Flock cameras.
Mayor Bynum is also calling for the creation of a real-time information center. This is the hub for cameras to help police quickly access the footage. He says he researched the use of real-time cameras in larger cities and it helps law enforcement solve crimes faster. It's another way to help keep residents safe and the cameras will only be placed in public areas where citizens agree they could be useful.
“We want the ability to provide the police with video information that they can use to respond to crimes in real-time," says Mayor Bynum. "We want to be able to assist crime victims without them necessarily needing to have a witness there who calls 911. But we also want the cameras to be very well displayed because that in and of itself is a deterrent.
Mayor Bynum says if the funding is approved, the information will be housed in a vacant space in City Hall. The total cost for the Flock cameras is around $2.5 million and would cover equipment, personnel, and the training.
2. Reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
For the past century, Tulsans impacted by the massacre have demanded justice. Excavation into the mass graves began last year at Tulsa's Oaklawn Cemeterywith dozens of bodies found. As part of the 2023 city budget proposal, those affected will get reparations. That starts with $1 million to continue excavations and DNA testing.
City councilors say the massacre isn't just a Greenwood problem, it involves all of Tulsa.
Mayor Bynum says without giving aid to the Greenwood District and those affected down the line, it only holds the neighborhood and Tulsans back.
3. Wage increase for city employees
The proposal suggests a $16 an hour minimum wage for full-time employees as well as a pay increase for qualified workers. This is geared towards adding jobs to the City of Tulsa. Right now, the city's website has 166 openings listed, including positions ranging from seasonal to full-time jobs.
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