Councilor rejects fairgrounds annexation

By Staff Report    
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 
Bill Christiansen Tulsa City Councilor, District 8, today released a statement opposing efforts to annex Expo Square.  First announced during an interview on the KRMG morning show with Joe Kelly.

Councilor Christiansen told Tulsa Today that while the full position statement covers many points he feels is important, the bottom line is, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

“Tulsans enjoy the fairgrounds and believe Expo Square is well operated by Tulsa County,” Christiansen said.

The full text of his remarks follows:

After wrestling for months with the issue of annexation from the perspective of a city councilor, I decided to step back and view the situation with the eyes of a citizen.

The people want their leaders to work together, but annexation has become a divisive issue that threatens the cooperative working relationship we desire with our friends at the county.  It is my opinion that any small benefit the city may achieve from annexation is not worth risking that relationship.

Many of my constituents have expressed concern that they already pay more than enough in taxes and they view annexation as a backhanded tax increase on those who enjoy making purchases at the fairgrounds free of city sales tax.  Several have pointed out that people who are drawn into Tulsa to take advantage of the lower sales tax at the fairgrounds will often make secondary purchases at nearby restaurants and stores on their way in and out of town.  Those purchases benefit local merchants and bring needed money into Tulsa’s economy.  Annexation would remove that enticement and as a result local businesses will suffer.  For years, city leaders have been searching for ways to bring more people into Tulsa in an effort to stimulate our economy.  Annexation seems to work contrary to that goal.

I am hearing from people in my district and the neighborhoods near the fairgrounds that they do not want the City of Tulsa to annex the Tulsa County fairgrounds.  Residents of Tulsa seem to have a special attachment to their fairgrounds and I respect their wisdom on this matter.  I will be anxiously listening to what the citizens have to say at the April 5th public hearing.

As a representative of the people, I believe that preserving a strong relationship with county leaders and honoring the wishes of our citizens outweigh the arguments for annexation.  At this time I plan to vote not to annex the Tulsa County fairgrounds.

Bill Christiansen
Tulsa City Councilor, District 8

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 March 2007 )