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 www.tulsacountynews.info.
By Gary Percefull of the Tulsa County News