Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said the $555.3 million budget he presented to City Council members last week is “bare bones,” but urged consideration of new revenue measures in the proposed spending plan.
“You are not simply given a bucket of problems,” he told the council as he outlined the budget proposal. “I ask that you seriously consider these options.
“We are at a crossroads as we enter the new normal,” Bartlett said. “There are no easy answers.”
Bartlett offered a fiscal 2011 operating budget of $513.8 million, down 2% from the original 2010 budget, and a capital budget of $41.5 million, down 12% from 2010.
The operating budget includes an estimated $230 million of revenue from the city’s sales tax, the lowest level since fiscal 2007.
The council must approve a budget before fiscal 2011 begins on July 1.
The new revenue proposals from Bartlett include an annual registration fee of $50 for every business in the city, which he said would generate $500,000 a year.
In addition to the new revenue, Bartlett said the business fee would provide Tulsa with the economic database it would need to begin collecting the sales tax, which is now done through a contract with the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Self-collection would save the city some $800,000 a year, he said.
Another revenue proposal would raise the city’s parking meter rates and fines to the those levied by Oklahoma City. The mayor said that would generate an additional $400,000 a year.