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March 22, 2013

Transcript of Stillwater Chamber of Commerce's City Council forum Friday

(Continued)

STILLWATER, Okla. — Weaver: "Just a couple thoughts on that. The city has been working very hard to try to isolate the costs of each utility and have the rates reflect what the costs are for each enterprise so that they can stand on their own and that's fine. We always have to be mindful of the rates, but one thing we can do to control the rates and the impact it has on businesses and residential customers is expand the base. If we can broaden our base and expand the fixed costs over more customers, the rates will come down. That's part of economic development. We really need to be paying attention. Our water rates, they're a little high when you compare them to Oklahoma City, but their infrastructure is spread over a much broader base. I'm not saying we want to be Oklahoma City, but some measured planned growth will help us maintain the costs and maybe even lower the costs as we bring more development to the community and more residents to the community."

"If elected, what do you think are the three greatest challenges you will face during your term?"

Weaver: "Well, I need to be open to not knowing what the biggest challenge might be because you never do know for sure, but I would imagine that we'll be talking a lot about infrastructure. We're all aware that the roads in Stillwater need some work. There's some places that need some serious attention, so I think those type of infrastructure issues like water, like roads, like stormwater, we will need to spend some time working on those. Personally, I would like to see, as Gina alluded to, the quality of life issue. That, to me, is as big an economic development issue as anything else. Doctors, faculty, professionals like high quality of life. They want to live in a place that's comfortable where there are things to do, so I'm hoping that over the next few years the community can start identifying some quality of life initiatives that might help that economic development. Those are the two biggest, I think. We could talk about a well thought out comprehensive plan. We're going to hear about that on Monday night at the next Council meeting. We appreciate guys like Mr. Thomas who has spent a lot of time in a lot of meetings like a lot of citizens helping us develop and update our comprehensive plan, but that will always be an issue in the community as you're developing and growing, is how can you maintain growth and yet protect neighborhoods and protect the development that's already in place. I would expect a comprehensive plan and discussions around that to be a big priority as well.

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