By Ricky O'Bannon
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Stillwater officialsMonday night approved a water rate hike meant to keep the city infrastructure repaired.
The increase is part of a long-term plan the Stillwater Utilities Authority started in 2009 that is expected to fund the replacement of all of the city’s water and sewer infrastructure on a 50-year cycle. That plan was based on a study by R. W. Beck that outlined rate increases that take effect every six months through 2019.
The total increase from the start of 2012 to the start of 2013 will be a little more than 15 percent. Half of that rate increase took effect at the start of July and the other half will kick in Jan. 1.
The Beck study defined the average customer in Stillwater as living inside city limits, having a 3/4-inch water main and using 7,000 gallons of water and having 5,000 gallons of sewer use each month. Based on that usage, the average customer’s combined water and sewer bill will increase from $60.50 in January to $69.75 at the start of 2013.
That money goes to a dedicated capital fund that can only be used to replace Stillwater’s pipes, the Kaw pipeline, treatment plants, water towers and pumps.
At the Monday meeting of the Stillwater Utilities Authority, Mayor John Bartley asked Water Utilities Director Anthony Daniel whether the 2009 study — that outlined what the incremental rate increases should be — was still valid.
“Yes, because it took into consideration any improvements or repairs to the Kaw line and replacement of water and sewer lines within the city and rural water systems,” Daniel said.