The Norman Transcript

September 10, 2013

City council members to vote on sewer rate increase

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Norman City Council members will vote tonight on a proposed sewer rate increase and on an amended contract for engineering design services for the West Lindsey Street bond project.

If approved by council members, a ballot initiative will go before voters Nov. 12. After multiple discussions, the city council is expected to approve a ballot measure for a rate increase for city sewer service by an additional $1.10 per month raising the base charge to $5 and an additional $1.10 per thousand gallons of sewage treatment for a total sewer use charge of $2.70 per thousand gallons of sewage treatment.

The rate increase will help secure revenue bonds to upgrade the current southside wastewater facility. The project includes improvements to meet Department of Environmental Quality requirements.

City council members also are expected to approve a contract amendment with SAIC Energy, Environment and Infrastructure Inc., increasing the contract by $100,940 for additional engineering design services for West Lindsey Street.

Additional services will include the design of a landscaped, raised median for Lindsey to create the triple canopy effect.

The inclusion of a median also will require intersection and mid-block U-turn details, U-turn buffer lane details, additional traffic operations and safety analysis, ADA compliance for mid-block pedestrian crosswalks, right of way at intersections due to corner cuts for U-turns, as well as landscaping, irrigation and coordination with utility relocation.

According to the proposed contract amendment, SAIC will “provide ongoing support services to the city for review of alternative concepts presented by the Director of Walkable and Livable Communities Dan Burden and the University of Oklahoma’s Institute of Quality Communities.”

That ongoing support will likely include further roundabout evaluation. The roundabout debate and a proposal by the IQC to limit through traffic on Lindsey to two lanes from Wylie Road has generated strong opinions from Norman residents as the city moves forward with design plans.

City staff supports IQC proposals to add a center median, colorized bike lanes and other amenities for safety and aesthetic improvements to the Lindsey Street project. Discussions are ongoing.

On Monday evening, the Bicycle Advisory Committee voted to support the city of Norman’s original plans for four lanes of traffic with bicycle lanes on Lindsey from Wylie Road to Berry Road.

The BAC also is supporting on-road bike lanes to continue on Lindsey east of Berry.

In other city business, two donations of $300 each for the Norman Animal Shelter are on the consent agenda for approval tonight. These private donations would honor the memory of Sara Maisano, a past volunteer at the Norman Animal Shelter and daughter of Assistant Police Chief Jim Maisano.

The funds will be used to reinstate the cat porch portion of the design for the Norman Animal Shelter renovation project.

So far, more than $6,000 has been donated in Sara Maisano’s memory to reinstate the cat porch. Additionally, The Forest Group has offered to donate the needed materials to build the project.

Donations can be mailed to: Norman Animal Welfare Center, Norman Police Department, 201-B W. Gray St., Norman, OK 73069. To ensure that the donation is credited to Sara’s project, write “Sara” or “Cat Porch” on the memo line.

During the city council’s 5:30 p.m. non-voting council conference meeting, Freese and Nichols LLC will update council members on the development of a comprehensive transportation plan for Norman.

This plan could be one of the guiding elements for city decision makers as they finalize plans for the West Lindsey Street widening and improvement project.

The plan will include months of subcommittee and staff work as well as multiple public meetings on Norman’s transportation needs.

Joy Hampton