December 2, 2013

Council approves water rate increase

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


Chickasha's citizens will pay more for their water after last night's city council meeting. 

The council voted 6-3 to raise water rates 10 percent and waste water rates 10 percent, with Mayor Hank Ross and Council Members Ryan Posey and Howard Carpenter dissenting.

The increase will cost an additional $1.50 per 5,000 gallons, according to City Manager Stuart Fairburn. 

Ross said this increase doesn't do enough to tackle the city's water problems. 

"We are about 38 percent lower than other cities, and I think this is fiscally irresponsible," said Ross. "That's why I support higher rates."

Council Member John Toland said this increase is an opportunity to show citizens what the council can do with more  money in regards to water. 

"As we move forward, we may need to make higher increases and now we will have more support," he said. 

Carpenter likened the council's decision to the adage of taking two steps forward and one step back. 

"The longer we wait the more expensive this is going to become," he said. 

City representatives, including Ross, said they will use revenue generated from the rate payments and a capitol improvements tax to repair water infrastructure in the city.