POSTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 2012:
Commissioners take down Yazel
Last week we discussed recent Tulsa County developments as well as some controversial statements made by Assessor Ken Yazel.
Yazel said he was "taking the gloves off" to fight what he called a "systematic deception of taxpayers by city and county officials."
Yazel's fiery press release was sent out shortly after Commissioner John Smaligo announced plans to shrink the county's budget by five percent. "There's a lot of misunderstanding about what 'limiting the budget' represents," Yazel said. "It doesn't limit the taxes that are collected from the people."
Commissioner Smaligo hasn't let Yazel's fightin' words go unchallenged. Since publication, Smaligo gave UTW his detailed thoughts on Yazel's allegations. Commissioner Fred Perry -- who was also dismayed by Yazel's comments -- fully supports Smaligo's stance.
On cash funds, Smaligo said: "Fortunately, the taxpayers are protected from Ken Yazel's claim that special cash funds, set aside by state statute, should be used for the County's general fund. Apparently he wants to be able to use funds like fuel taxes, which are for roads to spend on such things as pay raises for his employees, which is illegal."
On the claim that $256 million is spent by the county, Smaligo said: "[Yazel] is purposely ignoring the fact that money for entities such as the [Tulsa City-County Library system] and health department are held by the county much like a bank. His claim would be no different than your bank paying its employees directly out of your checking account. Both scenarios would be illegal."
Smaligo said Yazel's attacks on his efforts to cut extraneous services both astonished and disappointed him. "I believe the taxpayers of Tulsa County will see through Ken Yazel's blatant political attacks and factual distortions. Ken Yazel is the only county elected official who is opposing this effort to find deeper cuts," Smaligo said.
On Yazel's claims of lowering his own budget by $1 million after taking office, Smaligo said: "What he didn't admit is that his budget was forcibly cut as a result of a Supreme Court ruling. Since then, his visual inspection fund budget has increased more than 55 percent and his total budget is up 32 percent."
Sisters Go Digital
The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM) have launched a new website for the Congregation's American and Caribbean Province, sistersofthesorrowfulmother.org.
The new site offers information about the current activities, ministries and prayer life of the Sisters and how they bring fuller life to the poor, sick and needy. It also provides links to photo galleries, Sister blogs, Sister stories, vocations information, the SSM Facebook page and the SSM YouTube channel.
There's an additional prayer request submission and donation pages. The contributions of the Sisters to healthcare, education and other ministry that helps bring fuller life to others.
Since 1883, the Sisters have founded, worked at and sponsored more than 100 hospitals, schools, eldercare homes and other community centers, including St. John Medical Center, St. John Owasso, St. John Sapulpa, St. John Broken Arrow, and Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville.
The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi, are a religious community of women who, through ministry work and contemplative prayer, care for those in need. The Sisters currently live and work in communities across the U.S. including Tulsa and many other cities.
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