OKC's City Council To Vote On City's Budget Plan During Tuesday's Meeting


Tuesday, June 8th 2021, 7:27 am
By: Jordan Dafnis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City's City Manager Craig Freeman said the goal is to put the most significant financial impacts of COVID-19 in the past and move forward in the next fiscal year.

The total 2022 proposed budget is about $1.6 billion, which is actually 2.4% smaller than the current fiscal year.

City leaders said the reason for the decrease is because of declining balances in the pay-as-you-go MAPS 3 and Better Streets, Safer City temporary sales tax funds.

Also, only current-year MAPS 4 revenue is included in the budget because the program is in its early stages and an implementation plan is not yet in place.

According to city leaders, the general fund, which is responsible for most day-to-day operations, is projected to grow by 6.8% to about $496 million.

Projected sales and use tax growth as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic is the primary driver in this year’s bigger general fund proposal.

One of the biggest wins for the city is many of the positions that were frozen last year due to budget cuts during the pandemic are coming back.

There are 4,866 funded employee positions in the FY 2022 budget, an increase of 109 from the current fiscal year, but that is a little less than the pre-pandemic total of 4,869 funded positions.

That includes 21 in the fire department, 34 in the police department and the chief innovation officer position.

The city's total proposed police budget is more than $227 million. The department is working to have 1,542 people on staff.

But department leaders said recruiting officers has been difficult. News 9 recently learned at least nine cadets have dropped out of the police academy due to the anger toward law enforcement. 

Oklahoma City police Chief Wade Gourley said recruiting officers hasn't been easy,

"It's a challenge right now. It really is," he said. "What a lot of people don't realize is that it's all salaries and benefits. It's people, that's what we are as a department,"

Yet, Gourley maintains the key to a safer street is putting on more officers on them.

The city council meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Fiscal year 2022 starts on July 1.