Lawton, OK_The Lawton City Council approved the budget for the next fiscal year Tuesday night, and as expected, it includes an increase in the utility bill. They've been debating for weeks over how to make up a projected $8.3 million discrepancy between projected revenue and expenses.
There will be a $4 surcharge, in addition to a 10 percent rate increase. Trash collection will also be cut back to once a week.
There will also be approximately 20 jobs within the city government that will be eliminated. City Manager Bryan Long said he hopes most of those positions will go away through attrition, and won't be filled.
"This has been a very difficult budget process. It's been a very arduous process, and trying to get to terms of agreement, when examining all the different ideas out there is a very difficult thing to do," Long said.
The council rejected a proposal to collect a fee from businesses and residents that have security alarms.
There was very little debate prior to the council's vote, which was 7-1, with Richard Zarle casting the lone 'no' vote.
The budget was also adjusted to account for approximately $500,000 in projected sales tax revenue from the retail center that will open this summer on NW 82nd Street.