Tulsa County: September 2005 Archives

The latest issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly is online, and my column this week is about Tulsa County's push to pass an extension to the "4 to Fix the County" sales tax:

Tulsa County’s three commissioners are scrambling to put together a list of projects to be funded with a new 1/6th cent sales tax. Although there’s a year to go until the “4 to Fix the County” (4FC) tax expires, county officials are eager to get Tulsa voters to commit at the earliest possible opportunity to pay the tax for five more years.

The reason has little to do with funding critical County government functions, and everything to do with mayoral politics and the balance of power between City and County. While the County has accomplished a lot of good with 4FC, the question Tulsa voters should be asking is, “Who needs the money most?”

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Bridge congestion


I started working on an entry on yesterday's debate between Michael Covey of the South Tulsa Citizens Coalition and Tony Dark, an engineer with TetraTech FHC, the firm doing the engineering work for Infrastructure Venture Inc. (IVI), over the south Tulsa bridge which IVI wants to build as a public-private partnership with Tulsa County. I got distracted with e-mail and some other blog browsing and didn't get it done to my satisfaction.

For now I'll leave you with these few comments: Michael Covey did an excellent job of stating the case against the IVI-Tulsa County deal and against IVI's desired location of the bridge. I was amazed that the pro-IVI side would represented by an engineer working for a subcontractor, and not by one of the IVI principals or one of the County Commissioners. While Tony Dark did a decent job, the issues at hand involved policy and economics more than soil compaction and traffic counts. Clearly IVI didn't want anyone present who could be expected to answer questions about the public policy aspects of the bridge.

Covey has proposed an alternative plan, in which the City of Tulsa would build the bridge with revenue bonds and pay Tulsa County and River Parks the same amount of money they are expecting ($89 million and $44 million respectively) under the IVI plan. Based on information from George K. Baum and Associates, it's estimated that the City of Tulsa would net $611 million dollars over the life of the bridge, some of which could be used to pay for the infrastructure upgrades required for the roads which link to the bridge.

Referring to the County's intention to seek renewal of the 4 to Fix the County sales tax in order to raise $59 million for capital improvements, Covey asked, "Why would I vote for $59 million in taxes when Tulsa County has walked away from $658 million net profit?"

Regarding the STCC's proposal to move the northern end of the bridge so it connects into Riverside Drive rather than Yale Avenue, Dark made a telling remark. Dark said that moving the north end of the bridge would relieve traffic for existing subdivisions along Yale, but would create a 15 foot high barrier next to a planned high-end housing development along Riverside at 121st. In other words, the County wants to protect the interests of the new developer as the expense of neighborhoods where the developer has already sold all the homes and moved on.

Tulsa roundup

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Roemerman on Record will be quiet for a while, as Steve Roemerman is off to Gretna, Louisiana, just across the Mississippi from New Orleans, with a group from his church to help Convoy of Hope. We'll keep Steve in our prayers and look forward to his report when he returns.

Our Tulsa World has added more video clips from Mayor Bill LaFortune's September 6 third-penny meeting at the Zarrow Library. This is a great service that Mr. Schuttler is doing by filming, converting, and posting these video clips. Too often the claims and promises made in this sort of meeting are lost to history. His summary of the meeting puts the clips in context. In another entry he has the response from Mayor LaFortune and Fire Chief Allen LaCroix to the question, "Are we prepared if Keystone Dam breaks?"

MeeCiteeWurkor has a special comments thread just for registering your opinion of the Tulsa Whirled. He's asking for submissions in a contest -- things you can do with a Tulsa Whirled. And he's about to add a new contributor to the blog.

City Councilor Chris Medlock has a recent entry on his proposal regarding the sales tax money currently going to Tulsa County for "4 to Fix the County." He says that the county is fixed now, and between the Vision 2025 sales tax and rising property taxes, the county is well fixed for funds. By denying a renewal of the 2/12ths cent "4 to Fix" sales tax, City of Tulsa voters could opt to pass the same size sales tax at the city level and earmark it for public safety.

Another noteworthy item on MedBlogged cites two Tulsa Whirled City Hall stories, one from 2002, one from last week. The March 2002 story has Mayor-elect Bill LaFortune saying he plans to have a direct, face-to-face relationship with the City Council, which lines up with my recollection of my first meeting with LaFortune as he started his run for office. The September 2005 story has councilors, including recently-elected Bill Martinson, complaining that LaFortune won't deal directly with the Council on issues like the new third-penny proposal.

Tulsa Downtown reports that new clubs are opening in the Blue Dome district.

Tulsa newcomer Joe Kelley has been trying the immersion approach to understanding his new hometown, and he's posted a list of some of the people he's met with so far, and would like suggestions for others he ought to talk to. About a week and a half ago, I introduced him to the tawook at La Roma Pizza (a Lebanese restaurant disguised as a pizzeria), and we had a very enjoyable conversation. He seems to be a very astute observer and a quick study.

Tulsa Topics has an audio tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, including their radio theme song, "Okie Boogie," "Cadillac in my Model A," and tributes by The Tractors and Asleep at the Wheel. One thing I love about Bob Wills songs -- you don't need liner notes, because Bob tells you who's playing as the song proceeds.

As always, you'll find the latest and greatest entries from blogs about Tulsa news on the Tulsa Bloggers aggregation page.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa County category from September 2005.

Tulsa County: March 2005 is the previous archive.

Tulsa County: October 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



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