2011 Brought Snow, Government Efficiency to Tulsa

Mayor of Tulsa

BREAKING THE ICE: One of the worst blizzards in Oklahoma’s history met Tulsan’s strength and reliance last year. NEW PARTNERSHIPS: The city of Tulsa developed new partnerships with a variety of entities including the Tulsa Zoo in 2011. This has enabled projects such as the Giraffe Experience that was opened last summer.


Without a doubt, 2011 will be seen as a year of great challenges and achievements for Tulsa. When we began 2011, we put forth our Vision 2020 that called upon all of Tulsa to be a part of Tulsa’s renaissance as we recaptured the community spirit that first made Tulsa a city known throughout our region for its culture, business, neighborhoods and citizenship.

Who can forget the worst snow and blizzards ever to hit Tulsa in our history? Yet as unprecedented as that was, Tulsan’s everywhere rose up to help one another and to pull together. Remarkably, unlike other cities hit by these storms, there were no storm-related deaths in Tulsa. The efforts of the police and fire departments, , Tulsa Transit, the public works department, and so many others showed Tulsans the level of commitment and professionalism of your city workers.

As we moved out of the storms we moved into the preparation of the city’s next budget. We decided that for the first time, a citizen’s budget would be prepared using the results from the first ever citywide citizens survey. By addressing the concerns, needs and priorities expressed by the citizens in the survey, the budgeting process moved smoothly to adoption.

With widespread citizen support for the government efficiencies identified in our strategic review, we launched 18 government reforms to save costs, reduce the size of the government, and to establish new public and private partnerships in the delivery services.

Notably, our new partnerships with Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc, the Humane Society and Tulsa County produced the type of collaborative value Tulsans were looking for. Over the next five years these 18 reforms will save Tulsa taxpayers over $25 million dollars.

Though a great deal of day-to-day time was spent on dealing with the problems of the past and of today, we did focus on building a better tomorrow for Tulsa. We adopted the first energy sustainability plan in Tulsa’s history, we kicked off the nation’s first intergenerational summit and our Across The Generations project, and we moved forward with implementing PLANiTULSA by hiring the first planning director Tulsa has had in many years and approved moving forward with several small area plans.

Economic development and job creation still remains our number one priority. Early in 2011, we issued a 10 Point Economic Development Report. This report identified a number of pro business / pro growth initiatives such as the establishment of a small business Ombudsman to troubleshoot impediments to private development, we move over 40 parcels of land from public hands in the hands of private developers, we rewrote the city’s purchasing code for the first time in 50 years, we joined in holding job fairs and monthly meetings with small business owners to hear their concerns, we launched the rewriting of the city’s zoning codes, and we joined with the University of Tulsa in producing the first competitive analysis of Tulsa’s strengths compared to our peer city competitors in attracting new business.

We saw in 2011 that Tulsa can pull ourselves up, as we always have, to put our “can do” spirit ahead of “can’t do,” to focus on what needs to be done, to move ahead in building a city of tomorrow around responsibility, opportunity and community.

As we begin 2012, I am convinced that when the best of the past merges with the promise of the future, when ideas can transform our important institutions, and when excitement drives our ability to conquer any challenge, we will continue to be proud to call Tulsa home.

Updated 01-23-2012

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