In the meantime, cities like Norman have to pay for maintenance of aging sewer lines and other infrastructure as well as upgrading to meet new requirements by the DEQ.
“The water reclamation fund is an enterprise fund,” Komiske said. “We don’t get tax money.”
While the city has used grant money to help pay for sewer projects in the past, ultimately, it is revenue paid by water and sewer customers that provides money for maintenance and construction projects.
The total project cost for an upgrade at the southside water reclamation plant is $63.1 million.
The project has several components. First and foremost are the regulatory-driven improvements as a result of the DEQ consent order. Other work included in the proposal will allow for increased capacity, replacing obsolete equipment and odor control.
The city will have to borrow the money through revenue bonds to fund much of the project. Those revenue bonds will be repaid through the revenue collected from the city’s customers. Revenue bonds are not paid by taxes.
An average residential customer uses about 3,000 gallons per month and would see a monthly increase of about $3.74 if the ballot measure is approved.
The average commercial user would have an increase of $7.39 per month.