A dedicated utility fee for Tulsa Police and Fire? Fine, as long as everyone pays it.

Written by Ron on February 5th, 2010

Normally I’m not a big fan of earmarking little slices of the government revenue stream to only a single purpose or agency. Times change and priorities can change as well. However,¬† I’m beginning to think that it would be a good idea for Police and Fire funding – but only if EVERYONE has to pay for it. That means every entity that resides or operates in Tulsa and receives a utility bill for water, sewer, etc., regardless of their tax status. Whether or not an organization or individual is a church, private educational institution, ministry¬† or other non-profit, has no bearing on their benefit from Police and Fire service.

With a dedicated source of revenue that is not nearly as unstable as sales tax, the budgets for Police and Fire could be set and held for longer terms. This would also put limits on contracts with unions. When it is clear that there is only a certain amount of money on the table, then the parties involved will have to figure out a way to live with it, like the rest of us. This would prevent future mayors from agreeing to contract terms that cannot be fulfilled and also reign in union demands when there is only a fixed pot of money to work with.

This is not the first time I have sorely missed the commission form of government in Tulsa. At least then there was accountability to the voters for action and inaction of the major city services of Police/Fire, Streets and Water/Sewer. Now it seems that no one at city hall can be held responsible for anything, but they can sure study it and add more staff and look into ways to blame it on a councilor or the mayor or the union.

 

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