Citizens Get Involved with Civic Innovation Fellowship

From Tulsa’s Mayor by Mayor G. T. Bynum

CIVIC INNOVATION FELLOWS: Front row from left, Xan Black, TRSA; Jane Beckwith, Holland Hall; and Grace Smith (1 Architecture). Back row from left, Kirk Elam, Bios Corporation; Nikhil Kawlra, Collegiate Hall Charter School; and Travis Lowe, University of Tulsa.

Courtesy City of Tulsa

Citizens often ask me, “What can I do to help the city?” My answer is, get involved in your community and help us build a better Tulsa.

One way Tulsans can use their talents, knowledge and experience to help our city overcome challenges is through the City of Tulsa’s Civic Innovation Fellowship.

We recently selected six outstanding Tulsan residents who convened in June to help the City of Tulsa tackle and resolve a long-standing problem: dilapidated or unmaintained properties. During the next six months, our Innovation Fellows will dedicate one night a week to help us reimagine a way to encourage residents to increase property maintenance and decrease the overall number of properties with code violations.

The City of Tulsa spends nearly $4 million annually addressing property code violations. In Tulsa, one-out-of-eight residential properties are vacant and in some neighborhoods, it’s as many as one in five. A few nuisance properties can lead to instability in the neighborhood, declining property values, and an influx of disengaged homeowners and tenants.

Currently, when a property-code violation is reported, the city’s Working in Neighborhoods Department inspects, notifies property owners with a citation, and follows-up to see if the nuisance has been resolved.

If the property owner does not remediate the violation, the city abates the nuisance by hiring a contractor to do the work, sends the property owner an invoice, and if not paid, places a lien on the property. Voluntary compliance by the homeowner is the preferred option as it leads to the correction of the violation, avoiding city-imposed fees with the deed when the owner is ready to sell the property.

Overcoming these obstacles while improving the health and enhancing the quality of life for our neighborhoods ties directly into the City of Tulsa’s strategic Action and Implementation Management () plan, which connects people, processes and purpose. This specifically addresses the four pillars of : Opportunity, Well-Being, City Experience and Inside City Hall.

Our Mission is to build the foundation for economic prosperity, improved health and enhanced quality of life for our community. Our Vision is that Tulsa will be a globally competitive, world-class city. Our Values are committed teamwork – we will work together toward common goals. We have high expectations and we expect excellence in our work, our organization and the City we are building.

As a city, we will continue to work together to address and solve problems. Together, we can achieve our dreams, thrive and build a better community for generations to come.

Updated 08-13-2018

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