Lawton City Council approves utility rate increase

Lawton City Council approves utility rate increase

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN)

LAWTON WATER AUTHORITY SPECIAL MEETING

Unlike in the past, the Lawton City Council only needed a few minutes of discussion Tuesday night before they approved a rate increase for city utilities.

The decision to raise prices is based on the actual cost to provide the services, and officials say the cost of equipment and materials, especially at the treatment plants continue to increase every year.

If those prices continue to increase, the city said it won’t be unlikely if the utility prices rise again in the future.

Prices will increase by one to two dollars a month for water, sewage and refuse.

One city official said Tuesday’s approval was a foregone conclusion, based on the passing of the new budget already.

“Whether that was going to be included or not would happen during the budget process, and if there’s any debate it would happen during the budget process. Once the budget was approved, that increase is included with those revenues, so at that point it’s really a formality,” said Assistant City Manager Bart Hadley.

One group that won’t see a higher price on their bill is low or fixed income households. The rate will go up, but the discount they receive will match and offset it.

This goes into effect July 1st.

CITY TRANSIT SPECIAL MEETING

City council also approved a few different items presented by the transit trust.

LATS will now be providing a cheap public shuttle for people going to either the International Festival, or the Freedom Festival at Elmer Thomas Park.

Members also gave LATS the green light to apply for a federal grant, which will help them purchase four new vehicles and cameras to go in them.

The city would take on some of the cost, paying a little more than $40,000, while the federal grant would cover more than $160,000 if approved.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

City council spent several hours in executive session at the meeting on Tuesday.

One of the items they were expected to discuss was a new collective bargaining agreement for the Lawton Fire Department.

The new CBA would be between the City of Lawton and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

City Manager Michael Cleghorn said they decided to table it, and take no action this evening.

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