|Updated: 11/04/2013 6:21 pm
||Published: 11/04/2013 5:05 pm
Crime rates have continued to be a hot-button issue in Tulsa's mayoral election, and now, with a budget shortfall looming, Kathy Taylor is going after Dewey Bartlett on a plan to avoid cutting police.
Taylor says layoffs are unavoidable; it's just a matter of making it as painless as possible.
Bartlett told FOX23 he doesn't plan to lay anyone off.
Taylor says Bartlett's own finance director says the situation is dire.
"Mike Kier said there was no way to avoid, he said, no way to avoid layoffs in police and fire with that kind of a budget cut," said Taylor.
So she's trying to make a plan on how to deal with it.
"I would immediately meet with department heads and find out where they could cut without impacting delivery of core city services. But I would absolutely protect public safety," she said.
Bartlett said he's managing a potential $5 million budget shortfall through implementing a citywide hiring freeze and having each department cut where it can.
"All these add up to our city being able to live within its means. Everything is OK. We don't anticipate any furloughs or any layoffs," said Bartlett.
"I believe that we are in very, very good shape financially. We are still assuming and counting on a fifth police academy," he said.
Taylor says that's just not going to happen, so the city had better come up with a better plan.
"There are going to have to be cuts, but you have to do them strategically; you have to do them as a team," she said.
Bartlett said people don't need to jump the gun on cuts.
"No, I'm not at all, because the revenue shortfall that we're experiencing now, we are managing our way through that problem," he said.
Bartlett also told FOX23 there is $2 million in the city's rainy day fund and more than $10 million in the emergency reserve that could be used to avoid layoffs in a budget shortfall.