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June 6, 2014

City officials discuss budget for water, streets and more

CHICKASHA — The Chickasha Municipal Authority discussed increasing the rate citizens pay for water by 10 percent per year and six percent per year for sanitation to cover costs of operation and maintenance of equipment during a budget work session Wednesday.

Funding for water projects, city personnel and maintenance, as well as informing and surveying citizens about the operation of the city, was also discussed.

City Manager Stewart Fairburn said the raw water treatment plant replacement phase 2 project, which involves restructuring the treatment plant, and the raw water line replacement project will need to be completed in the next 10 years.

The capital improvement projects dedicated sales tax, which funds water and street improvements among other projects, will expire in 2023, and if renewed, may generate approximately $32,000,000 in the next 10 years, according to the proposed budget.

The current incarnation of the tax is expected to produce $24 million in the next 10 years.

However, unless another source of funding for street maintenance is found, $15,000,000 will be needed for streets in that time, leaving $17,000,000 for water projects, which is less than is needed for the projects, Fairburn said.

The city is also looking into improvements at Lake Chickasha.

Next year, $50,000 is budgeted for a master plan to determine how the lake will be treated as a recreation area, Fairburn said.

Without corporate sponsorship, improvements to the lake will have to be funded by sales taxes, which reduces the amount that can be spent on water projects, he said.

Additionally, $2,000,000 is budgeted to replace the water meters and implement automatic meter readers.

The city is also looking at the possibility of hiring a Human Resources management person to help reduce the burden of current personnel and reduce the cost of workers' compensation claims.

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