OKC City Council Approves $1.8 Billion Budget For 2023 


Friday, June 10th 2022, 8:55 pm


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The OKC City Council approved the 2023 fiscal year budget. The budget comes in at nearly $2 billion. 

The mayor said this year's budget addresses a majority of residents' needs. But some Oklahomans said a lot of people are being left out. 

The $1.8 billion budget includes money earmarked to several departments and MAPS 4 projects. Budget Director Doug Dowler says they're hoping to add over 100 city positions in the next year. 

To account for the that and additional expenses, the budget includes over $180 million to the fire department and nearly $260 million to the police department. 

Mayor David Holt tells News 9, 

“The priorities in the budget match those we hear from residents - they want us to provide strong public safety, including police and fire, and they want us to focus on core services like streets. The vast majority of this budget goes to those priorities. Thanks to a booming local economy, we have a little bit more to work with, and so we were able to provide service improvements across the board and in virtually all city departments, including police and fire.” 

“I don't think this budget serves all of the people of Oklahoma City,” Walker Milligan said. 

Walker Milligan attended the city council meeting where the budget was approved. He said it was discouraging to see hundreds of millions of dollars set aside for the police department and $2.4 million set aside for groups like a mental health response team, a team he said should have been in place last fiscal year. 

“Where are the metrics? Who's making these decisions? And I think to me transparency doesn't feel so true as it feels political,” Milligan said. 

Several council members agreed with Milligan saying the budget process should've been more transparent. 

“I just don't see this budget meeting the needs of our community and I felt like I needed to express that of why I can't support this budget,” Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon said. 

Holt said in a statement: 

“I’ve served at every level of government, including as an Oklahoma Senator, where you are only given a few hours to consider the budget before you vote on it, and you cannot even attempt to amend it. In contrast, the City of Oklahoma City budget process is the most transparent I’ve ever seen. The total budget is released to the elected officials and the public at least one to two months before it is voted on. Residents are invited to make comments in person at half a dozen public meetings with the Council present, or they can make written comment. And any Councilmember is free to offer amendments.  I’ve never seen a more transparent process in American government.”  

The budget goes into effect July 1.