Lawton City Council votes to increase utility fee rate
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Lawton residents will soon see utility rates increase by 15-percent, that’s after City Council approved the increase at today’s hours-long city council meeting.
Before the vote on rate increases the Lawton City Council Members let the residents chime in.
While many people attended the meeting, only one spoke out, saying with inflation the way it is many people in the city simply cannot afford extra dollars tacked on to their utility bills.
In the end, Council voted 5 to 3 to approve the rate increase.
City Manager Michael Cleghorn explains why, citing the City’s fund balance is sitting at half of what it should be.
He said this fund is used in a time of emergency like with devastation from severe weather.
“Every time we made a recommendation to council to increase that say 10% it still did not keep up from using our fund balance not until we got to 15% did we not use any of our fund balance,” said Cleghorn.
He also said if the fund balance becomes too low it makes it hard to be approved for loans that the city might need.
He said this is what is necessary to keep the city afloat, he’s well aware of the strain it puts on residents and understands their concerns.
“We understand and it’s a hard decision for councilmen to do this we that our citizens are hurting and we didn’t take this decision lightly but in order to maintain level services and provide the necessary services that we provide for all our citizens it was necessary to do this,” he said.
He said that if your bill is $70 you will most likely see a $12 increase.
The rate hike will go into effect on July 1st.
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