By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
MOORE — The loss of 1,200 water customers following the May 20 tornado has put the Moore Public Works Authority in the red, Finance Director Jim Corbett told the city council Monday.
A wastewater treatment plant debt service payment took a big chunk out of the pie, and another debt service payment is due in February.
The MPWA fund will recover as Moore rebuilds and homes come back online as water customers, but that recovery will take several months, Corbett said.
The MPWA fund revenue for August was $1,334,969. Expenses were $3,198,029, creating a $1.8 million decrease to the fund balance.
The month’s beginning fund balance was $1.2 million. Of that money, $915,433 are utility deposits held in reserve. Current encumbrances total $302,646. This does not include wastewater treatment plant phase 2 outstanding encumbrances.
The fund has no available discretionary funds and is $1.8 million in deficit.
“There are some decisions that need to be made on that fund,” Corbett said.
One consideration might be a water rate increase.
City Manager Stephen Eddy said city council members could consider temporary solutions since the problem is primarily temporary. City staff will bring proposals forward at the next council meeting.
By contrast, the city’s general fund is doing well. Revenue for August was $2,976,025, and expenses were $2,333,269. With a beginning fund balance of $3.6 million, $242,433 in reserve and $422,726 in current encumbrances, the general fund has $3.6 million in discretionary funds available.
In other city business, city council members approved a $15,000 contract with Vireo Inc. for design of the Veterans Memorial Park “Wall of Honor.” The contract includes an additional amount up to $6,000 to cover trips to the site by Vireo representatives. Money from the quarter-penny sales tax will pay for the project.
Old Town Association President Janie Milum and member Sean Evans told the city council Old Town business owners have a vision of what they would like to see as the town rebuilds.
“They have a real concern for the Old Town and what they would like it to look like,” Milum said.
That vision includes a walkable area in the district that will allow residents to traverse to the school, library and the community center as well as to businesses.
“We’re really excited about the potential,” Evans said.
Tonight is Old Town Night Out. Starting at 6 at the Moore First United Methodist Church, neighbors can gather to meet, greet and eat free food. Milum said a number of events are coming up in October and December.