Oklahoma City Council approves 2024 budget in 7-2 vote
The2024 budget for Oklahoma City was approved by council members in a 7-2 vote, totaling over $904 million.
The budget includes an over $604 million general fund budget, which grew 5.9% from the 2023 budget. Operating and non-operating funds, like the MAPS 3 and MAPS 4 programs and public safety and utilities, make up the rest of the budget.
Budget director Christian York said sales tax, the largest revenue source, increased this fiscal year. Sales tax accounts for $601 million of the total budget and 47% of total revenue.
The budget secures funding for over 100 new positions within the city. The positions are scattered across departments, including police, fire, airport and utilities.
Ward 6 council member JoBeth Hamon and Ward 7 council member Nikki Nice both voted against the budget.
Hamon voted no due to the lack of funding toward preventative measures for homelessness and substance abuse, encouraging more funds to be put toward neighborhood engagement. She said the city continues to do the same things with its budget, and should think deeper about its priorities.
“Those things are just sort of sitting, waiting for some attention and an investment. And, we haven’t even really begun that conversation as a city. And again, that tells me where our priorities lie,” Hamon said.
Nice agreed with Hamon’s suggestion to reassess budgetary priorities, adding that the 2024 budget still doesn’t provide a solution to better fund programs.
According to Nice, she had previously requested that budget managers considering allocating funds to Ward-specific areas, allow council members to address items important to their Ward that may not be a city-wide concern.
Nice said her requests weren’t necessarily from her, but from the community she represents, and hopes that one day the requests will “be taken a little more seriously.”
Ward 2 council member James Cooper also spoke toward issues with the budget, but voted for the measure as funding forbus rapid transit programs were secured after eight years of planning.
Cooper expressed concern with the lack of a city-wide educational program on homelessness. Not exactly overwhelmed with the duty of explaining homelessness measures within the city, Cooper said he felt stretched.
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