The Norman Transcript

Government

July 9, 2014

Norman City Council proposing revenue bond to pay for $31M water treatment project

NORMAN — Norman’s water rates are among the lowest in the region.

While residents might think that’s a good thing, Norman’s aging water infrastructure and new regulations by the Department of Environmental Quality are among the factors driving what city leaders say is a long overdue, $31 million upgrade of the water treatment facilities.

New city council members Jerry Lang and Clint Williams were updated on the proposed upgrade at a council conference session Tuesday night. The city will have to float a revenue bond to pay for the project.

Unfortunately, the water treatment plant is not a good business model in that the city enterprise fund does not generate enough money to cover the cost of upgrades and maintenance into the future.

A comparison of residential water monthly charges shows that Norman ranks well below Midwest City, Moore, Edmond, Enid, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Bartlesville, Ardmore, Ponca City, Stillwater, Broken Arrow and Tulsa, as well as Texas cities Denton and Lubbock, and a similar college town, Lawrence, Kan.

One reason Norman’s water rates have remained so low is because a clause in the city charter requires voter approval for any increase in city utility charges. While the Charter Commission suggested allowing voters to consider removing this clause that some say is outdated, the Norman City Council declined to put such a charter amendment on the ballot.

What city leaders will have to put on a ballot in the near future, however, is a water rate increase. The increase, if approved by voters, would create the revenue needed to pay off the loan needed to complete the water treatment plant upgrades.

Revenue bonds do not require a vote of approval by the public. However, revenue bonds require a revenue stream large enough to support the request for the loan from banks.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Government
  • Cooler summer comes after dry spring statewide

    August made a gentle entry this year — no triple-digit temperatures or out-of-control wildfires. Instead, a bright sun slowly cleared the clouds and warmed the day back to summer weather after a few days of what had felt like an early ...

    August 2, 2014

  • Water Reclamation Wastewater upgrade under way

    Norman’s $63 million water reclamation facility upgrade is under way. Once known as a sewer plant, the facility’s moniker reflects the current trend in water reuse and treatment that’s crossing the United States....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • New natural gas plant coming to south central area

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new plant projected to process 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day is coming to the Grady/Stephens county area....

    August 1, 2014

  • Shelter construction ongoing; residents voice concerns

    A regular quarterly meeting of the Animal Shelter Oversight Board prompted Norman residents to speak up about more than just a photo release issue Monday night involving Friends of the Animals of Norman volunteers and the city of Norman. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Voter registration deadline is Friday

    Friday is the last day to apply for voter registration to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 26 Runoff Primary Election. Races include federal, state and county offices, but for Cleveland County voters, the field is limited....

    July 30, 2014

  • Breast Care Center will relocate to HealthPlex

    The Norman Regional Health System will move its Breast Care Center to the HealthPlex campus, making it more accessible for patients, hospital officials said Monday. At its monthly board meeting, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Fracking Operation Norman library to host community dialogue about fracking

    Are Oklahoma oil companies an oligarchy that is controlling state policy? Is fracking safe? These and other topics will be the subject of an upcoming Fracking Forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Norman Public Library’s Lowry Room, 225 ...

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber

    MOORE — Moore’s City Manager Steve Eddy could have quoted Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Eddy, with help from Mayor Glenn Lewis, reported on Tuesday on the State of the City to the Moore Chamber of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • walmart City leaders say ‘yes’ to Wal-Mart supercenter postponement

    Despite complaints that a postponement request was in the eleventh hour, a zoning change in east Norman was put on hold Tuesday night. The proposal to rezone property at Cedar Lane Road between 24th Avenue Southeast and Highway 77 ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo