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Claremore residents asking for city audit for third time

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 06:58:56-04

CLAREMORE -- A group of citizens are calling for the state to investigate the city of Claremore after they say their electric bills have dramatically risen over the past few years.

Claremore residents are hoping the third time is the charm.

"Some of us noticed jumps that went from 300 to 1,600 dollars," said Shelly Taylor, Claremore resident who created the petition.

Taylor along with hundreds of residents want answers to rising utility bills, hoping this third petition passes for the state to audit Claremore's books from July 2013 to June 2017.

"Every penny that we’re paying in excess to our electric bills is money people are taking away from their everyday living whether it’s their groceries or their medical," said Taylor.

The most recent attempt in the beginning of July, they were short five signatures. Back in May they exceeded the number needed, but enough of them were registered voters.

"We’re only using so much energy with our TV and my computer and turning all the lights off besides one in a room, it sky rocketed, I couldn’t even give you a percentage but quite a bit, about double," said Dwen Firpo, a Claremore resident who signed the petition.

Shelly Taylor says she started to notice her electric bill sky rocket after the city installed smart meters on her home a few years ago.

"The city shouldn’t have to rely off of our utility bills to run the city as opposed to primarily off of the sales tax that they bring in," said Taylor.

But the city says that's not true. We spoke with the City Manager's officer who says the city only receives three percent of the 9.3 percent total sales tax.

City officials say they would be more than happy to work with a state auditor if the petition passes, but it would cost taxpayers $40,000 to $90,000.

"Better safe than sorry to have someone look into it and make sure that the numbers all add up," said Taylor.

The city says the smart meters read exactly the amount of electricity residents use. You can also ask the city to have someone come to your home free of charge and explain your electricity usage.

"We need to reach as many people as possible so we can get this taken care of and looked into," said Taylor.

The petition needs about 1,000 signatures by August 23rd.

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