OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — On Tuesday, the City Council of Oklahoma City convened their final budget hearing for the coming Fiscal Year 2023, which begins on July 1.
Directors of Public Works, Utilities, and Airports each gave brief presentations on their proposed budgets.
Marty Peercy reports Local government
Eric Wenger, director of Public Works, was first to take the podium.
The fourth-largest department in the City, Public Works has approximately 400 staff, serving 3,592 miles of street and over 70,000 traffic control signs and signals.
This year’s proposed budget reduces positions from 417 to 400 without losing any employees. They’ve managed that by filling existing positions that have been empty for the last year or two.
The largest changes are related to personnel and services. Personnel changes include adding seven positions while reducing 24 others, again, without any employees losing their jobs.
Services including utility cut repair will be shopped out to contractors, while enhancing pothole abatement and creating a new dedicated crew for street construction to improve.
While operating expenditures increase in the proposed budget, non-operating and capital are reduced significantly from last year. The total budget is $256,414,679, about 3% less than last year’s budget.
The department will see added positions in their engineering office, enabling the department to turn around plan reviews in a more timely fashion.
Director of Utilities Chris Browning, gave the second presentation of the day.
The utilities budget is large and comprehensive in order to provide water, wastewater, and trash collection services.
The budget for the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust (OCWUT) is the largest portion of the budget, accounting for $761,000,000. Services provided from those funds include capital improvements, utility operations, solid waste service, and McGee Creek operations, as well as debt service.
The City Utilities operation budget increases in this proposal by $5,034,000, a rise of 4.5% over last year. The total operation expenditure for the coming year is $115,763,022 supporting 808 staff positions.
Some of those staff positions are restored under this budget after austerity measures diminished customer service professionals over the past two years.
Jeff Mulder, director of the Department of Airports for Oklahoma City gave the final departmental budget presentation.
Mulder’s department oversees the operations of all three public airports in Oklahoma City: Will Rogers World Airport, Wiley Post Airport, and C. E. Page airport.
Mulder said that improvements to all three airports are underway for the coming year, as well as improvements for the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. Capital improvements make up $63,225,000 of the budget presented on Tuesday.
This includes a major reconstruction of the 13-31 runway at Will Rogers that is already under way. The expected total from this year’s budget for that project is $12.2 million. It also includes a major rehabilitation of the access road that leads to the terminal at Will Rogers, a project with a price tag of $1.8 million.
Oklahoma City residents are encouraged to offer feedback on the FY23 budget via the City’s website.
The comment period to weigh in on Oklahoma City Manager Craig Freeman’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 has been extended through June 5.
Visit okc.gov/budget to see a copy of the proposed budget book. Use the online form to submit a comment online through June 6. You can also text comments to (405) 252-1053 or email them to [email protected].
The City Council is anticipated to pass the budget at the next regular meeting of the Council on June 7 at 8:30 a.m.
Last Updated May 31, 2022, 8:25 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor