CLAREMORE, Okla. -- Tensions are high in the community of Claremore. A group there wants the state to investigate the city. They say the utility bills are outrageous and want to know why.
986 signatures are needed to get the state auditor’s attention, but city officials are saying the information is falsified.
Shelly Taylor is asking for signatures. She wants an audit of the city’s books from July 1st, 2013 to June 30th, 2017.
“They are concerned about the excessive high electric rates that we have here and city’s dependency on our electric revenue to function," she said.
“My last bill was almost $500," Claremore citizen Andrea Ellis said.
One total utility bill is $341, of that nearly $260 was electric.
"Because they’re using the electricity," City Manager Jim Thomas said. "We’ve had people try to tell us that electricity is being forced through the meter, it can’t happen.”
Taylor says the petition has been in the works since 2015.
“They are also concerned about things like special payout funds that are in accounts that match over $2 million a year but nobody knows what those special payout accounts are," she said.
2 Works for You took the petition to the city.
"The city does not collect 9.3% sales tax," Thomas said.
The total sales tax rate is 9.3% of that 4.5% goes to the state, 1.5% goes to Rogers County, and the remaining 3% is allocated to the city.
“She has falsified and committed perjury," Thomas said.
The petition also asking the state auditor to review possible misappropriation of utility revenue and $9.86 million contracts for smart electric and water meters paid by residential customers.
“We didn’t charge anybody anything," Thomas said.
The investigation will cost between $40,000 and $80,000 and the city would foot the bill.
“Hopefully all the dots will get connected to see what all the inaccuracies are," Taylor said.
As Shelly Taylor pushes for more signatures, the city questions her motive.
The last day to sign the petition is May 3rd by 5 p.m.
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