The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 5, 2013

Utility rate charter provision reviewed

NORMAN — A Norman charter provision that prohibits utility rate increases without a popular vote could hamper attempts to partner with other cities to bring water out of southeast Oklahoma, Charter Review Committee members said this week.

“It is crucial to our fiscal stability to fix this problem,” said committee member Carol Dillingham. “Norman cannot play in a regional economy, which is where we are headed, where we have to be headed, unless we get rid of this charter provision.”

The charter provision requires a vote of the people for any utility increases. Some say it would be impossible for Norman to build the needed partnerships if the governing body of Norman does not have the ability to adjust its rates accordingly, said Harold Heiple, Chairman of the Charter Review Committee.

For the charter provision to be changed, the committee said regulations would have to be set up so rates would be increased by a reasonable percentage, and voters wouldn’t have to fear an extreme increase in their utilities.

Most communities steadily increase their rates and it happens slowly over time, committee member Jane Abraham said.

Oklahoma City currently has a 2 percent increase a year per every five years, she said. Abraham is also the Community and Government Affairs manager for the city of Oklahoma City.

Heiple and committee member Richard Stawicki said Norman’s charter provision is currently the only one of its kind in Oklahoma.

Heiple said in 1974, there was a drug bust in Norman and when Dallas newspapers broke the story, they dubbed Norman the “drug capital of the southwest,” which didn’t sit well with the mayor. In response, the mayor decided to hire more police officers.

At that time, revenue from utilities made up most of the city budget. To pay for police officers’ salaries, the council doubled utility rates, Heiple said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Norman High student argues his way to the top

    Knowing the ins and outs of an argument that involves complex research is the type of skill one expects a high paid attorney to have not a high school student. Yet debate competitor Nicky Halterman has been arguing his way to the top of ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Baker home 3 Moore resident lands in new home 14 months after tornado

    She crawled from the rubble of what used to be her home. The neighborhood was destroyed. It was the afternoon of May 20, 2013, and Jamie Baker was homeless....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 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

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Casey Dawn Sanders, 37, obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud · Amiremad Nayebyazdi, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • OU officials confirm student died in car wreck

    University of Oklahoma officials confirmed Tuesday that recent car wreck victim Taylor Witcher was an OU student in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Witcher died after a three-car collision around 12:35 a.m. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged after Sunday shooting A Norman woman was charged after shooting several rounds toward a residence Sunday. When officers found her, she exhibited signs of intoxication and had drugs on her, records show. Teresa Renee Haas, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Medical marijuana initiative behind voter registrations push in the state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Medical marijuana may be the state’s newest gateway drug — to voting....

    July 30, 2014