Gilcrease Expressway

City Addresses fenceline tax issues: No Tax Increase


There will be no tax increase for properties included in Tulsa’s proposed strip-annexing – or fencelining – of unincorporated areas adjoining and east of the Gilcrease Expressway right-of-way, said city officials.

“There will be no property tax changes for properties within the 300-foot-wide fenceline,” said Bob Bledsoe, a City of Tulsa spokesman.  Some property owners in the area who have requested to be annexed into Tulsa may voluntarily begin City of Tulsa tax rates, he explained.  “But no one else will see any tax increases.”

In fact, Bledsoe said, properties within the fenceline will qualify for lower “inside city” water rates.  “They will actually see a 32 percent reduction in their water rates,” Bledsoe said.

Some Berryhill-area residents have worried that their property taxes will be increased, but Tulsa officials point out the proposed fenceline has been moved east of Berryhill’s resident area.  An earlier proposal would have included the heavily residential areas straddling 65th West Avenue, between 41st and 21st streets.  The current proposal is drawn just west of 57th West Avenue and avoids the residential zone.

“This proposal is designed to insure that the Gilcrease Expressway right-of-way is within the city limits of Tulsa,” Bledsoe said.

City Engineer Ken Hill recently said using funds approved by Tulsa voters in a general obligation bond issue or third penny sales tax program on the expressway project on portions located outside the Tulsa city limits may be problematic.  The Gilcrease West extension includes construction of a bridge over the Arkansas River at 57th West Avenue.

“I’ve been working on this project for 50 years,” westside community leader Montie Box said recently.  “It’s time to get it done.”

Box and a group of business leaders met this week to discuss how to make sure the City of Tulsa continues to commit local and federal funds to the Gilcrease project.

“Tulsa is the cog in the wheel.  If they don’t get behind this (Gilcrease extension) I don’t think it will go anywhere,” said Guy Berry, president of American Heritage Bank.

About 30 westside business and community leaders agreed to join in a request for the City Council to move forward on the current fenceline proposal.  The Council has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday night to take comments about the proposal.

More information about the proposal, including a map, can be found at


By Gary Percefull of the Tulsa County News

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Where Are They Now:  Karen Keith

Where Are They Now: Karen Keith


When Karen Keith was featured on the cover in February 1993, she was a news anchor and had started a side business of manufacturing clothing with easy closures for seniors.

After a 26-year broadcast career, she went to work with Mayor Bill LaFortune in community development and Vision 2025 implementation.

In November 2008, she was elected as the District 2 county commissioner.

“This is the last time I reinvent myself,” she says of the job she loves.

She says her biggest projects have been working on getting a new Juvenile Justice Center, making all county government properties non-smoking, adding art to county buildings, reconstructing and resurfacing Avery Drive and organizing neighborhood cleanups.

She also serves as chair of the Fairgrounds Trust Authority and is working closely with FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on necessary maintenance to the Arkansas River levee system.

Her goals include securing funding for the Gilcrease Expressway and river development, including dams to benefit Sand Springs, Jenks, Tulsa and Bixby.

Restoration will help the river function more like a prairie river with improved fish and wildlife habitats, she says.

“It has been so stimulating,” Keith says. “There are a lot of balls in the air, and I love the challenge.”


Read more from this TulsaPeople article at

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