Turner, Dick flip-flop on fairgrounds annexation

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A Tulsa Whirled story Saturday reports that 20 years ago, then-Police and Fire Commissioner Bob Dick supported Tulsa annexing the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, saying the city could use the additional revenue. Roscoe Turner, then a city boiler inspector, advised against it. At the time, Turner said that nearly every boiler on the fairgrounds would fail inspection and nearly every building would have to be shut down, generating no revenue to the city.

Today the two have changed sides on the issue. Turner is a city councilor in search of additional revenue for the city. Dick is a retiring county commissioner who is also a member of the board that oversees the fairgrounds.

Since 1986 most buildings at the fairgrounds have been refurbished or replaced, so Turner's concern about boiler safety is no longer an impediment to annexation.

Today Dick's objection to annexation seems to center around the city sales tax that he was after in 1986:

"I bought a hot tub at one of those [Expo Square] shows. You spend $6,000 on something, 3 percent makes a difference," he said.

"Dear Commissioner Dick, congratulations on your purchase of a $6,000 hot tub at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. You owe $180 in city use tax on said item. Please remit at your earliest convenience. Sincerely, City of Tulsa Finance."

Dick also mentions that the City will have to provide services, but the City already provides every service except law enforcement. As an out-of-city water customer, the fairgrounds pays higher water rates than in-city customers, but loss of that extra revenue wouldn't detract from the sales tax gain. Water revenues go to a different fund which cannot be used for City general fund operating costs like police protection and street repair.

Susan Neal of Mayor Kathy Taylor's office gave a passive-aggressive response when asked about the Mayor's opinion on the issue, suggesting that Turner would have to develop his own analysis of the benefits, rather than offering the assistance of the Mayor's staff to look at the possibility. (Of course, Mayor Taylor appears to be about to do a deal with Jenks and Bixby and the county cronies at Infrastructure Ventures, Inc., to get their private toll bridge built. Taylor's had a meeting with IVI people, but has left the South Tulsa Citizens Coalition (STCC) out of the loop.)

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1 Comments

Michael, this comment isn't exactly on topic, but one of your sentences caught my attention:

Water revenues go to a different fund which cannot be used for City general fund operating costs like police protection and street repair.

This is true, and is one of the reasons a group of city employees filed suit against the City and then Mayor Bill LaFortune.
It is my understanding that he had the finance dept do some shifty work with the water enterprise fund to finance other general fund ventures. Not only did this cost city employees much-needed raises, it was illegal. Judge Shallcross ruled in favor of the workers, and the case is currently under appeal by the city.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 26, 2006 12:38 AM.

"A fundamental challenge that Tulsans need to overcome" was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa Muslim who condemns terrorism is kicked out of mosque is the next entry in this blog.

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