City leaders dealing with expected budget shortfall

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Updated: 11/11/2013 7:15 am Published: 11/07/2013 3:15 pm

A $6.4 million budget short fall is expected in the city of Tulsa.

City councilors are in a rush to figure out what needs to be cut in order to balance the budget.

From lawn service to volunteer activities there are a number of options about what could be cut was brought up by councilors.

"Do we really to spend $400,000 a year to run a health fair for city employees?" asked Councilor G.T. Bynum.

Bynum said all members of the City Council are in agreement about what can't be touched.

"Just about everything is on the table as possibilities but cuts to police and fire. That is not on the table," he said.

City Manager Jim Twombley said that means a green light for the next police academy to train 23 new officers.

"Everything is still in place to start that academy in April," he said.

But something Bynum said could eventually be cut: $1.5 million spent on officer's involvement in community projects and events.

"Instead of hiring new police officers, use the ones we already have to work on more crime-fighting activates rather than volunteer initiatives," said Bynum.

While this might spark many more discussions about will be cuts city leaders know time is not on their side.

"Waiting a long time isn't an option. The longer we wait the more we will have to cut to balance the budget for this year," said Bynum.

The next budget meeting is in two weeks. City councilors hope to have the list narrowed down so they can make some decisions.

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