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Mayor Bynum proposes 2022 budget for City of Tulsa

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 23:25:01-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum proposed a $799 million budget for FY2022 Wednesday night.

The plan includes all city funds, operations and capital funding from Improve Our Tulsa and Vision Tulsa, according to the City of Tulsa. The general fund is projected to have $262.9 million in revenue.

In the mayor's proposal includes the following:

Budget highlights:

  • 1921 Graves Investigation Continues the excavation and geophysical work for the 1921 Graves Investigation.
  • Community Response Team (CRT)– Expands the CRT from three days a week to five days a week to address mental health calls made to Tulsa’s 911 system. As a rapid response team, the agencies work together to create more efficiency in operations and treatment while also de-escalating situations with individuals in mental health crisis, helping avoid costly stays in jail, hospital emergency rooms, and inpatient behavioral health hospital units.
  • Compensation Adjustments – Salary performance increases for eligible employees’ subject to collective bargaining units.
  • Mowing Cycles – Keeps the City of Tulsa full eight mowing cycles in place.
  • Municipal Court Creates a Municipal Courts Liaison to help citizens navigate the courts process and funds a text messaging system for court reminders.
  • Neighborhood Street Lighting – Continues to fund backlog of 500+ neighborhood street lights to improve safety in Tulsa communities. (More than 112 lights were restored last year alone.)
  • Public Safety Academies Funds two police academies and one fire academy to keep up with attrition, with plans to fund additional police academies in FY23.
  • Rainy Day Fund – Estimates $7.3 million in the Rainy Day Fund by the end of the fiscal year, due to a dedicated portion of the sales tax.
  • Tulsa Parks Department – Funds the opening of City pools, splash pads and day camps. Tulsa Parks will also expand day camps to the Jane Malone Community Center and Central Center.
  • Utility Rates – The water and refuse rates will remain flat and sewer and stormwater rates are set to increase by 3 percent, instead of the original 7 percent increase originally planned.

    Capital Budget highlights:

    • Animal Shelter – Provides funding for the construction of an expanded animal shelter.
    • Gilcrease Museum – Funds the construction of a new structure for the museum that can better protect the $2 billion collection and deliver a 21st century visitor experience to Gilcrease visitors that will begin in early 2022. Construction is expected to take 2-3 years.
    • Greenwood Cultural Center – Funds the design for a complete remodel of the existing facility, including the Main Atrium, the Goodwin Chapelle Gallery, the Opal Dargan Auditorium, various classrooms, office spaces, restrooms and kitchen improvements. Also includes general maintenance, painting, and fixture replacements will be done inside the Mabel B. Little House.
    • Police Records Management System – Brings the Tulsa Police Department new records management system online, which is the first wholesale update of the records management system since the mid-1970s. The new system will dramatically improve the flow of information, from 911 to officers in the field to judges in our municipal court.
    • Water and Sewer System Projects Funds $18 million in water system capital projects and $35 million in sanitary sewer system capital projects.

    A portion of the budget would focus on mental health resources for the community.

    Mayor Bynum said it was a priority for himself and the City Council to expand operations for the city's community response team.

    He said it’s a challenge for police officers to take on the role of mental health professionals.

    “I think our patrol officers would be the first to tell you that they would prefer to have licensed counselors out there responding to mental health crises and giving Tulsans the help that they need," Bynum said.

    Bynum plans to expand operations of the city’s community response team from three days a week to five. The team consists of a police officer, a firefighter and a mental health professional.

    The budget would also hire a civilian clinical services coordinator to help the team address the root cause of a mental health crisis.

    “Rather than sending a police officer by themself to deal with it, you’re sending this team out there with a mental health professional to respond to it," Bynum said.

    When it comes to staffing levels, Bynum said they won’t change for the fire or police department. But, he said those police staffing levels are low.

    “We are not where we need to be in the Tulsa Police Department," he said.

    Bynum said the city currently has about 840 police officers, but they need more than 100 more. He’s already planning to address that in next year’s budget with additional police academies.

    “Our plan for FY23, we get back to that 90 officers a year academy approach to move us towards that goal of 950 patrol officers," Bynum said.

    Part of the budget also brings TPD's records management system online. The first major update of its kind since the mid-1970s. Bynum said it will improve the flow of information between 911, officers and judges.

    Tulsa City Council must discuss and approve a budget by late June. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

    For more information about Bynum’s proposed budget, click here.

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