Sewer fee continues to fund required rehab

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A $2.35 fee on Lawton utilities will continue until at least 2025. That was approved on Tuesday night by the  Lawton Water Authority ahead of the City Council meeting. The fee has been on the books since 1998 after the city consented to a 3 phase plan to repair the city's sewer system. The first phase was paid for with this fee, and the last two phases were funded by sales tax.

But Lawton City Manager Jerry Ihler said at the meeting that flooding in 2015, 2016 and 2017 set them back on completing the last phase. So the council approved continuing that fee, and approved a $12.5 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to get started on the project as soon as possible.

Also approved, the City Transit Trust approved the LATS bus system study.

The LATS General Manager Ryan Landers said getting this information about their ridership is key to any future changes.

"The biggest thing is that people still need transportation," Landers said. "I think that's one of the big things that we take out of this. There is still a need for transportation, and I think they want more on this transportation. One of the thought processes is to increase weekend type of service or expanding night type of service."

The study included a possible new route for buses and identifying the need for amenities like restrooms and more covered stops.

Lawton City Council approved allowing the organization "I Love Lawton" to place a bench honoring Justin Rodriguez, a Lawton child who recently died from cancer.

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