TWO FOR TULSA: Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and the Tulsa City Council have sent a $451 million proposal covering Tulsa’s street repairs to the City Election Board. Discussing the proposal above are (left to right) G.T. Bynum, Dennis Troyer, Mayor Taylor, Bill Christiansen, and Jack Henderson. The five-year streets plan will appear as Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
Tulsa’s streets are a crumbling mess of potholes, and soon citizens will have the opportunity to vote on the five-year streets plan on Nov. 4. The streets improvement package includes a general obligation bond issue of $285 million and extension of two sales taxes for total revenue of $451.628 million.
The streets plan, which will provide maintenance and rehabilitation for Tulsa’s streets and bridges and some work on sidewalks, trails and railroad crossings, is based on citizen input from town hall meetings this summer.
The $451 million proposal has been approved and sent to the City Election Board by Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and City Council members. Area organizations have also stepped forward in acceptance of the program. Tulsa’s Fraternal Order of Police and The Tulsa Metro Chamber both support the five-year plan. The City Council has also approved a tax rebate for older and low-income Tulsa residents.
Taylor thanked the City Council for getting the proposal to her quickly since asphalt costs are tied to rising oil prices. “Everyday we wait it costs us more,” she says. “This is a dramatic increase in our street funding. It’s the biggest bond investment in streets in our city’s history.”
City Counselor Bynum says, “…Tulsan’s have a chance to improve the quality of their streets.”
Project funding will be distributed among Tulsa’s nine council districts according to need or pavement condition. Each district will receive at least eight percent of the total, with project funding directed to city streets that need it most. If the five-year streets plan is approved, some street projects will begin construction in summer of 2009.
The City Council also approved a tax rebate for older and low-income Tulsa residents. The rebate is tied to the approval of the five-year streets plan. City residents who meet the eligibility criteria for the Oklahoma Sales Tax Relief Act or the Oklahoma Earned Income Tax Credit and residents who are 65 and older will qualify for the rebate. Only one rebate per household will be allowed, and households will need to re-apply for the rebate each year.
If approved, the streets plan will extend Tulsa’s current sales tax rate through a renewal of the Third Penny Sales Tax and a two-year continuation of the Tulsa County Four-to-Fix Sales Tax. Funding also will include a $285 million General Obligation Bond Issue to begin in 2010. If approved, it will enact property tax increases that in the maximum year of impact, which is 2015, will be about $63 per year for a $100,000 house. Through the new rebate, eligible city residents will be able to reduce their taxes by $25 per year.
The rebates will cost about $5.1 million over five years and will be funded from interest earnings on the bonds issued.
The plan is comprised of Propositions 1 and 2; both must pass to fully implement the projects.
Tulsa voters wanting to learn more about Tulsa street improvements can visit www.fixourstreetslive.com.