In an effort to boost revenue and bring the city’s utility rates in line with other Oklahoma cities, Tecumseh City Manager Jim Thompson is proposing a 30-percent increase be added to Tecumseh’s current water, sewage and sanitation services.




Thompson said he will present some information to the Tecumseh Utility Authority at its June meeting and request its approval for the increase. Water and sewer rates were raised in 2001 and 2004 to offset expenses incurred from a bond proposal, Thompson said, but this proposed rate increase would be to secure increased revenue for the city’s everyday operations.




“It’s to get us where we should be, because we’re operating in the red,” he said. “I’m hoping that it works out.”


 


 


In an effort to boost revenue and bring the city’s utility rates in line with other Oklahoma cities, Tecumseh City Manager Jim Thompson is proposing a 30-percent increase be added to Tecumseh’s current water, sewage and sanitation services.


Thompson said he will present some information to the Tecumseh Utility Authority at its June meeting and request its approval for the increase. Water and sewer rates were raised in 2001 and 2004 to offset expenses incurred from a bond proposal, Thompson said, but this proposed rate increase would be to secure increased revenue for the city’s everyday operations.


“It’s to get us where we should be, because we’re operating in the red,” he said. “I’m hoping that it works out.”


Thompson has produced figures to compare Tecumseh’s current rates with those of other Oklahoma cities. Per 5,000 gallons of water used each month, Tecumseh residents are charged $21.50. On top of that they are charged $16 and $10, respectively, for sewage and garbage pick-up.


With a 30-percent increase in rates, residents would be charged $27.95 per 5,000 gallons used each month, and their sewage and sanitation totals would go up to $20.80 and $13, respectively.


Thompson’s figures show the following comparisons of what residents pay each month for every 5,000 gallons of water used:


Thompson said those with water service through the Pottawatomie County Development Authority (PCDA) pay $48.75 each month for every 5,000 gallons of water used, while those with service through the Tri-County Rural Water District pay $28 each month for the same amount of water.


Thompson said the city currently pays 75 cents per month on water and 75 cents per month on sewage service, and these rates will each need to be increased by 25 cents per month by September in order to be in compliance with bond funds.


The city also needs to increase utility rates each January in accordance with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and Thompson said he wants to see these done gradually so residents are not hit with a huge sum all at once.


For the past several months, Thompson has been telling utility authority trustees that Tecumseh is losing money. The reasons for this, he said, are overdue rate increases and an aging water and electric metering system that has caused faulty readings on consumption rates. A new metering system is planned for the near future.


If trustees do not agree to increased utility rates, Thompson said the alternative is budget cuts.


The city would need to wait until the next fiscal year to see what cuts would need to be made, and some of these cuts could possibly involve personnel, Thompson said.
“That would be tough,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t get to that.”


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Jason Smith may be reached at 214-3932 or william.j.smith@news-star.com.