City with a Plan
The Downtown Master Plan, the first small-area plan considered for inclusion in Tulsa's recently adopted comprehensive plan update, earned the unanimous approval of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on Sept. 7 and now heads to the City Council for final approval.
The plan, which was put together primarily by Dr. Jack Crowley, a former special adviser on urban planning to former Mayor Kathy Taylor, is intended to revitalize the downtown area, connect downtown to the River Parks system and initiate rail transit extending outward from downtown to the beginnings of future corridors designed to serve the city and the region.
Stephen Carr, a senior planner with the city who is overseeing the plan, said he hopes to have it before the City Council by the end of October, though the scheduling of that hearing depends on Crowley's availability. If councilors vote in favor of the plan, it officially will become part of the PLANiTULSA comprehensive plan update that was approved earlier this summer.
Other small area plans -- an important element of PLANiTULSA, which is intended to guide the city's development over the next few decades -- are likely to follow in the wake of the downtown plan. Carr said the Brady Arts District small area plan, which was unveiled in February, will be the next one to appear before the TMAPC, and a small area plan for part of southwest Tulsa will probably be heard after that.
The Downtown Master Plan is available for viewing at cityoftulsa.org/community-programs/planning/downtown-master-plan.aspx. The link includes a four-minute animated video of the plan's concept development.
Tulsa received some marginally good news in regard to its budget situation last week as the latest sales tax collections report from the state Tax Commission indicated the monthly total for mid-July to mid-August was less than last year's sum but higher than the budget estimate for the month.
The total of approximately $16.2 million was 2.3 percent less than last year's $16.6 million, but it was 2.9 percent more than the approximately $15.8 million city officials had budgeted for the period.
The news on the use tax collections side was not as good, totaling approximately $1.4 million -- down 9.2 percent over the same period last year and 2.5 percent less than what was projected.
"This month's report clearly shows two indicators," Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. stated in a press release. "One is that the city has become much better at developing a budget on very conservative revenue estimates. We received $459,000 more than budgeted. The other factor is that the economy does not appear to be improving significantly based upon what was received this month last year and what we received today -- $389,000 below 2009 levels.
"So we have developed a fiscal plan and budget that accurately predicted a very slow recovery of the local economy, and that will allow us to continue at the same service level for the time being. Of course, this will be monitored very closely each and every month. Sixteen of the last 18 months have shown sales tax declines."
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