By DEWEY F. BARTLETT JR.
Mayor, City of Tulsa
On Sept. 5, I was pleased to present my State of the City Address to a record-breaking crowd of business leaders, along with the Tulsa Regional Chamber. I always welcome the opportunity to brag on our great city, for we’ve celebrated many successes since my last report to you, the citizens of Tulsa.
A tremendous future lies ahead of us as we continue building on our legacies in the arts, energy and manufacturing, aviation, and small business creation – all with unity, sweat and commitment.
Since I first took office, I’ve been dedicated to changing the job landscape in this city and creating a path for Tulsans and citizens from surrounding communities to fill these positions. We have incredible training assets, and we’re working to create and implement a plan to bring these assets together.
My staff and others in education and the aviation and aerospace industry have worked together as part of a task force to study the existing resources and opportunities that we have, which will strengthen the connection between the training and workforce needed to fill local jobs. We have the assets; we’re working on the plan to pull those assets together to provide the technical and vocational education we need to build a better workforce and keep our manufacturers here.
Along with the aerospace and aviation industry, key partners in this endeavor include Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma Career Tech and Tulsa Tech, Spartan School of Aeronautics, and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. My hope is to offer a pathway to prosperity for students who want to work in the industry—from skilled air frame mechanics to aerospace engineers.
Currently more than two months into our fiscal year, we know we have a tough operational budget ahead of us that we must manage. We’ve seen a reduction in our overall sales tax collections and have taken additional steps to live within our means. I implemented a soft hiring freeze, continued efficiency studies, and activated a task force to evaluate our pension plans and other post-employment benefits. We’re transforming our culture to talk about safety every day and create visible reminders to put safety first. Our programs and policies to create a safety culture will lead to reduced injuries and costs in the future.
Our 2013 capital improvements program, now branded, “Improve Our Tulsa,” has provided us with a good list of infrastructure projects for a November ballot. If approved, this package funded with a 1.1-percent sales tax extension, would actually reduce the city sales tax.
You can’t deny that Tulsa is the best place on earth. Tulsa is competitive again, having added more than 14,000 jobs regionally in less than three years, while working hand-in-hand with the chamber for job growth.
Join me as we provide true pathways to prosperity, give achievable hope to our kids, and meet the needs of our workforce that allow companies to remain in Tulsa and be globally competitive. Come with me as we celebrate our love of family, love of success and love of country for the whole world to see. Thank you for the honor of being your mayor.