The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $799.4 million city budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1.
The budget is approximately $41 million, or 5%, lower than the current fiscal year budget and includes no substantial changes to what was proposed by Mayor G.T. Bynum in April.
“I would like to thank the Tulsa City Council for working collectively with our team over the last couple months as we developed a balanced budget during unprecedented times following a worldwide pandemic and a recent ransomware attack,” Bynum said in a press release. “I look forward to the upcoming fiscal year as we make investments on the capital and operations side while continuing our mission critical services and funding compensatory increases for our dedicated employees.”
The police and fire departments’ operating budgets will essentially remain the same as this year, while the Park and Recreation Department’s operating budget will increase by 5.2% to $21 million.
Combined, the police and fire departments’ FY 2022 operating budgets will be approximately $200 million. Funding for two police academies totaling 45 cadets and a single academy for 25 firefighters is also included in the budget to offset attrition.
In an effort to address the mental health needs of the community and assist law enforcement, the Community Response Team — which includes police officers, mental health workers and others — will go from operating three days a week to five days a week.
The budget calls for adding nearly $4 million to the city’s “rainy day” fund through a dedicated 0.05% sales tax approved by voters in 2019.
The budget also funds a full eight mowing cycles, the operation of all the city’s pools and splash pads and the addition of more than 100 neighborhood street lights.
Tulsa’s utility rates will either stay the same as last year or increase less than expected. Residents will see no increase in water and refuse rates. Sewer and stormwater rates will increase 3%, significantly less than the 7% increase city officials had anticipated.
Salary performance increases for eligible city employees are also part of the budget approved Wednesday.
The city’s animal shelter will receive funding to expand its facility, and money is also being made available to begin design work on the remodel of the Greenwood Cultural Center.
The city’s general fund — out of which most of the city’s day-to-day expenses are paid — will increase to $313.6 million, a decrease of less than 1% from last year’s approved budget.
The general fund’s primary source of revenue, sales tax, is projected to increase by 5.6% over the current fiscal year budget to $154.4 million. The other primary funding source, use tax, is expected to decline slightly to $42.5 million after stronger-than-expected collections this fiscal year.
Use taxes are paid on goods bought online or out-of-state for use here.
Overall FY 2022 funding allocations for the city, including capital and operating expenditures, break down as follows: Public Works and Transportation: 37% ($298.3 million); Public Safety: 29% ($227.6 million); Administration: 17% ($137.1 million); Transfers and Debt: 11% ($87.9 million); Culture and Recreation: 3% ($27.4 million) and Social and Economic Development: 3% ($21.2 million).
Video: Mayor G.T. Bynum presents proposed FY 22 budget in April