Tulsa councilors approve utility rate increase

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Updated: 6/15/2012 11:39 am
The Tulsa City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to increase utility bills.  Water usage will go up seven percent and sewer service will increase by nine percent. 

“I am refinancing my house and that's a struggle in itself,” said Tulsa homeowner of six years, Jessica Brown.  “I have two kids.  I have dogs.  I have cats.  I work really hard and seven percent is a lot on a little paycheck.”

Tulsa city council chairman, G.T. Bynum said he realizes that seven and nine percent is drastic but it’s needed to pull Tulsa out of debt. 

“You've had successive years of governments at the city of Tulsa not raising rates at smaller increments to keep up with the cost of service for the passed years,” said Chairman Bynum.  “They didn't raise rates at all, in spite of recommendations made.”

Bynum knows homeowners are struggling financially already; however, without increasing the rate this much to make up for the failed increases in years past, the city would not be able to afford the cost of the services. 

“You can't continue to kick that can down the road,” said Bynum.  “You can’t continue to go further and further into debt to maintain the system and you can’t have a system failure. Neither of those are options So our only option that is left to us is making up for that lost time and trying to get our rates back up to level, where we as the citizens of Tulsa are paying for our cost of service.”

On average, your monthly utility bill will be about four dollars more but for Jessica that’s enough to hit her wallet.

“Just little dollars add up for me right now,” said Brown.  “I know it does for everybody else as well.” 

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