Correction: The city of Oklahoma City originally stated the $300,000 in mental health response funding is in the Police Department, but it is actually budgeted in Non-Departmental because the final location of that program has not been determined. This has since been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The city of Oklahoma City has officially approved its budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1.
“This past year has been extremely challenging, and I am so proud of the way City staff have adapted to this new environment and continue to provide excellent services to our residents,” said City Manager Craig Freeman. “Fiscal Year 2022 is a year we are looking forward to with great anticipation. We hope to be able to put the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and not only restore previous service levels, nut provide even better service to our residents and visitors.”
The total FY 2022 City of Oklahoma City budget is about $1.6 billion, which is 2.4% smaller than the current fiscal year.
City officials say the slight decrease is because of declining balances in the pay-as-you-go MAPS 3 and Better Streets, Safer City temporary sales tax funds as those programs wind down.
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.
The General Fund, which pays for most day-to-day operations, is projected to grow by 6.8% to about $496 million.
Officials say as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, the subsequent sales tax revenues will allow for a bigger General Fund.
The new budget allows an increase of 109 new employees, which brings the total of funded positions just three employees short of the city’s pre-pandemic total of 4,869 employees.
City officials go on to say every employee position in the FY 2022 budget is fully funded. As a budget reduction strategy in the current fiscal year, some positions were “frozen” – included in the budget, but unfunded. All funding for last year’s frozen positions has been restored in the new budget: 21 in the Fire Department, 34 in the Police Department and the Chief Innovation Officer.
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Public safety and more
- The proposed budget includes $300,000 for an alternative response to mental health calls component and $1 million to fund future City Council-approved recommendations from task forces and working groups on community policing, human rights and homelessness.
- Public safety items include restoring the Fire Department overtime funding cut from the current fiscal year, and three new civilian crime scene investigators for the Police Department. The investigators can support officers and detectives to help improve clearance rates and lead to successful prosecutions.
Parks, recreation and culture
- The normal two-week OKC Parks mowing schedule is restored in the budget, after reducing the schedule to every three weeks as part of the current year’s cuts. New OKC Parks staffing is also included for the Willa D. Johnson Recreation Center, which is scheduled to open during FY 2022.
- The First Americans Museum is also scheduled to open this fall, and the budget includes $750,000 in operating support.
Neighborhoods, human services and transportation
- A new position in Homelessness Services in the Planning Department will boost efforts to end homelessness in Oklahoma City, in partnership with the Arnall Family Foundation and the Inasmuch Foundation.
- Service enhancements on EMBARK bus Route 018 in northeast OKC will increase frequency to every half-hour from every hour. The Spokies bike share and Oklahoma River Cruises services, which had been cut in the current year and restored with temporary funding, are back in full.
- A new bike lane maintenance crew for Public Works.
Business and employers
- A proposed new Public Works position will work with local contractors who bid and work on City projects.
- The Utilities Department has two new proposed positions to help Tinker Air Force Base become a part of the City’s water and wastewater system.
Visit okc.gov/budget to see the FY 2022 budget.