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City manager addresses water bill concerns

City Manager Jim Crosby addressed some water bill concerns during Tuesday’s City Council work session and meeting.
Crosby first addressed the concerns during the work session because he received a letter from an “upset” citizen and wanted to update Council members.
The customer has the minimum water bill, but is unhappy with the mandates and fees on the bill, Crosby told the Council.
Crosby explained that it’s a federal law to charge for the National Pollutant Elimination System (NPED).
“The City of Yukon requires the city to impose controls to reduce discharge, pollutants and Stormwater to a maximum extent, etc. etc. We’re required to do a few to address some of these,” Crosby said.
He went on to explain that City Council did this by imposing a $2 charge as city ordinance 1125 in 2003.
“With this money we’ve so far purchased a street sweeper, hired the people to operate it and keep the thing clean, but we do this as a requirement of the city,” Crosby said.
The City of Yukon charges a lower fee than some of the cities around us. Midwest City charges $2.42, Oklahoma City has a minimum of $5.69 charge and Edmond charges $3.
“At some point in time—I’m not saying it could increase, but they could require us to do more to deal with Stormwater. There’s a lot they could talk to us in the future about doing,” Crosby said. “This is where that came about and it’s a federal law and requirement on it.”
Yukon residents also have a 25 cent charge, which is a solid waste fee that was put in place in 1990 as part of city ordinance 831.
“You may not have noticed it, but it’s always been there,” he said.
Crosby said the solid waste fee is required by the State of Oklahoma.
The ordinance was later amended in 1996 to get rid of the word “state” and instead use “county” as part of city ordinance 933.
“So it’s a county user fee and it’s 25 cents on every water bill,” he said.
As of March 31, 2016, City Council decided under city ordinance 1334 there should be a $15 charge for each meter per month to help compensate the charge for water from Oklahoma City, and would raise to a $20 charge for each meter per month effective March 31, 2017.
“The Council at that time didn’t want to raise it all at one time so they put it off for another year,” Crosby said.
He also explained that as far as water goes, the City of Yukon’s plan was to have 55/45 with Oklahoma City, but that’s not what’s happening.
The City of Yukon has 15 wells but not all of them are utilized because of different arsenic content. Crosby said that about a year ago Yukon had to buy more water from Oklahoma City because of the wells that are down.
About 60 percent of Yukon’s water is from Oklahoma City, but this could vary depending on the amount of wells, if there’s drought, heat, etc., Crosby said.
Water bills have increased by 56 percent in three years. Oklahoma City originally said it would be going up 100 percent, but they’re doing another study and it could be more.
Crosby said Oklahoma City is doing a lot of improvements and to do those, they need more money so they’re charging more, not just to Yukon but to every city who buys from them.
“It’s going to be one of those we’ll have to address,” Crosby said. “Since we buy that water and we rely on that water, we have no choice. It’s very expensive, but water is the future. It’s something we have to have.
“Water is going to be very valuable in the future. We have a whole plan of rationing the water, but water is plentiful right now. Ultimately we will have to come back and we will have to do that.”

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