NORMAN — Amendment hedges city’s bets
A budget amendment adopted by the Norman City Council this week hedged the city’s bets regarding the funding of two sewer plant projects. Finalizing the Fiscal Year 2013 on Tuesday, the council threw a funding bone to developers and proponents of a northside sewer plant without actually committing money to the project.
Like many other topics at Tuesday’s council meeting, public discussion was lengthy.
Prior to the night’s budget discussion, a contract with Garver LLC for design of the southside wastewater plant improvements was approved with changes that would free up money for the northside project.
The budget changes were reflected in two options presented for funding the Garver contract.
Both options allowed for $3,687,000 to be paid to Garver for the design of upgrades and the expansion of the Water Reclamation Center, the city’s existing sewer treatment plant located on the southside of town.
Option One would have appropriated $1,268,300 from the wastewater fund, which is paid by rate payers — the city’s sewer customers. In that option, the additional money was funded through the Sewer Excise Tax at just under 41 percent, or $1,500,600, with an additional 25 percent, or $918,100, coming from the Sewer Sales Tax fund.
In contrast, Option Two does not use any Sewer Sales Tax money but instead appropriates $2,186,400 from the wastewater fund. The $1,500,600 worth of funding from the Sewer Excise Tax fund remains the same. The council approved this option.
As a budget amendment, the council allotted $83,000 from the Sewer Sales Tax for the design of the North Water Reclamation Facility.
An additional $5,792,157 of Sewer Sales Tax fund is being held in reserve and was not budgeted toward any project. That money had originally been intended to help pay for the southside project, but the Norman Developers Council objected, saying a vote in 2003 had promised some of the Sewer Sales Tax money for the northside project.