Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bringing Vision into Focus: Tulsa Mayor's Call to Use Renewed Sales Tax for Police, Fire Departments Questioned

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bringing Vision into Focus: Tulsa Mayor's Call to Use Renewed Sales Tax for Police, Fire Departments Questioned

Article excerpt

TULSA - Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. revived his call Tuesday for dedicating part of a renewed Vision 2025 sales tax to hiring more police and fire department workers.

"We have a responsibility, as your administrators of our government, to make sure we cover the core services that we provide," Bartlett told a record 1,200 people attending the Tulsa Regional Chamber's State of the City presentation at the Cox Business Center. "That means several things, but specifically that we have an environment where people not only walk outside and feel safe, but are safe."

His proposal has been in discussion since March, when Tulsa County leaders agreed that each participating community would be allowed to determine and vote on its own projects. But Bartlett's comments, which came in the question-and-answer segment, still disappointed some audience members.

"The last Vision (tax, approved in 2003) and its exercise was very beneficial," said Gary Sparks, founder of Tulsa's Sparks Reed Architecture and Interiors. "This really spurred a lot of growth and excitement. I hope this next one can do the same thing. It needs to continue that kind of vision, that kind of thinking."

The original Vision 2025 established a 0.6-percent countywide tax increase that expires in 2016. It funded construction of the BOK Center, Oklahoma Aquarium, a library, Route 66 statues and many other creative endeavors, as well as some roads and infrastructure.

Its renewal, slated for an April vote, would start in 2017. Its duration remains to be finalized.

"I want to see the vision," said Brittany Sawyer, executive director of the Metro Tulsa Hotel and Lodging Association. "Those projects create the return on the investment that can fund the police, fire, all of that."

Bartlett credited the original Vision 2025 with fueling $1 billion in private investment downtown and helping revive Tulsa's central core.

"Those Tulsans who overwhelmingly approved Vision 2025 are the reason people came back to Tulsa," he said. "In turn, those who came back with new insight and experience became part of the reason that Tulsa keeps moving forward to make a place among the top cities to live, to start a business, build a career and even to retire. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.