Tulsa County Budget Board special meeting Thursday

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KenYazel.jpgTulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel would like you to focus your attention to how Tulsa County officials are managing your money. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and there's nothing like intense public scrutiny to encourage elected officials to find ways to economize and to discourage them from cutting corners.

One of Yazel's concerns is that Tulsa County's budget doesn't cover all funds that pass through the county's hands. For one example, the conduit loans handled by the Tulsa County Industrial Authority don't even rate a mention. For another example, the county sales tax of 1.017% is not included in the budget, even though it brings in more money (about $80 million per year) than is accounted for in the official budget.

I would copy the text in the Tulsa County 2012-2013 Budget that explains why sales tax revenues are excluded from the official budget, but the PDF is locked so that text can't be copied for pasting elsewhere. How odd is that? So you'll have to read it for yourself -- it's on page 68 of the PDF. You will look in vain for a total amount of sales tax collected this current fiscal year or estimated for the coming fiscal year. My $80 million estimate comes from a line graph on that page, showing monthly receipts ranging from $6 to $8 million a month.

So here's an open letter to Tulsa County citizens from County Assessor Ken Yazel, calling on people to show up at the public hearing this coming Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 2:00 pm.

If you believe we're Taxed Enough Already, if you want all county revenue accounted for in the budget process, if you want to be sure that all county expenditures are transparent, Thursday is a great opportunity to express your concerns to your elected officials.

Dear Citizen,

Remember how much fun you had last year about this time when 20 or more attended a meeting at Tulsa County to observe County Fiscal actions?

This Thursday you can participate at an earlier stage of the budget process; namely, a 'Public Hearing' on the County Budget.

As many as possible to Should attend this Thursday afternoon for the Special Budget Board Meeting. The agenda has not yet been posted for this meeting, but I expect this will be the meeting where the Budget Board hears public input and may on short consideration of any public input approve the Tulsa County Budget for next year (Fiscal Year 2012-2013, beginning July 1, 2012). The input by the public deserves longer consideration so come and voice your concerns.

Remember the outrageous deception in their budget last year...the ones protested by the Tulsa Tax Task Force and which are still proceeding through the Court of Tax Review?

Well, it looks like they're producing the same kind of budget again this year with the same lack of concern for the legal directives and common sense for including 'all' funds managed by the County. They've already published the budget in the paper last week, declaring only about $67 million. We all know that the budget should account for at least 4 times this much, including the carryover funds, the projected taxes and the projected fees that are certain to be paid by the citizens and should be budgeted.

What will it take to pressure or shame our elected officials into following the law?

When: Thursday afternoon, June 7, at 2:00 in Room 119 of the Tulsa County Administration Building, 500 S. Denver.

Please make every effort to be there. Our elected officials need to know we're paying attention.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 5, 2012 6:24 PM.

Airport sales tax catch-up: Extra money at the county? was the previous entry in this blog.

Michael Wallis signing Oklahoma: A Sense of Place is the next entry in this blog.

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