Coweta Residents See Increase in Utility Rates

Coweta residents may be seeing an increase in their city utility rate's this week after the base rates for water, sewer and garbage fees changed.

The City of Coweta has placed a 2.1 percent Environmental Compliance Adjustment on each of the base rates for water, sewer and garbage fees beginning with the July 1 billing cycle. The adjustment will also provide necessary funding to maintain public infrastructure.

City Manager Steve Whitlock said the adjustment is necessary to provide additional funding for the $15,299,434 water treatment facility upgrades. These upgrades are a result of requirements mandated by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, according to the report from the Coweta American.

"There is no one in this office or on city council that enjoys raising utility rates by any sense of the mean," Whitlock said. "Unfortunately, we are regulated by government agencies - mainly the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Quality - which have mandated improvements to our treatment facility. Not to mention, there have been past requirements for improvements to the sanitary sewer system as well."

"While no one likes to have increased utility bills, there are ever-increasing costs of providing safe, reliable utilities to each customer, and no one can be against clean water," Whitlock reminded. "These utilities are delivered to your home when you need them, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."

The city manager said the city is also charged fees associated with solid waste disposal. As the city has grown, there are higher operational costs associated with more stops. This results in additional waste disposal costs.

Whitlock said had it not been for mandated water and sewer upgrades, the city would not be assessing these fees at this time. However, that is not to say there would not be fee increases in the future.

The average bill will increase 2.1 percent to 6.3 percent per city utility customer, depending on the services utilized. Some customers may have water or garbage service provided by an outside entity and those fees are not affected by this increase.