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Tulsa residents could see utility rate increases later this year

City of Tulsa
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 19:11:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsans could see an increase in utility fees later this year because of inflation and contract changes.

Tulsa city councilors are discussing the 2022-2023 budget and part of it includes an increase in stormwater, sewer and trash fees. The city says the average City of Tulsa utility customer could see a monthly increase of $7.

“Our stormwater is going up approximately 8%. Sanity sewer is going up about 7%," said Eric Lee the City of Tulsa Operations Administrative Manger. "So these are underground pipes that serve our customers with their utilities. We also then have residential refuse and that’s going up. Although we haven’t received the bid yet, so we are projecting what those increases are going to be.”

During the budget committee meeting, Councilor Jeannie Cue mentioned several times that they really don’t have a choice and said the increases are necessary. The city’s operations manager explains why.

“We’re just adjusting to what the markets providing for us. Whether it’s inflation or compensations to keep employees,” Lee said. “We’re trying to adapt just like they are and we’re not adding anything. We are just trying to provide the same level of service that we have always provided but make sure that we are covering our costs so that we can provide those high levels of service.”

However, Lee says there are ways you can save money to offset the projected increases.

“We’ve got options when it comes to our refuse and recycling. There’s different sizes of carts so if they generate less trash they can pay less by getting a smaller cart size," he said. "On the water and sewer side, if people are more conservative with their water use, you reduce the water use, you reduce pretty much how much you pay. That also translates to sanitary sewer as well. So if people can conserve they typically can see a reduction in their utility bill.”

Lee says there is a silver lining, water and EMSA rates won’t be increasing. This is the council’s first reading of the proposed increases. They’re supposed to vote on the final budget on June 15.

If adopted the increases would begin Oct. 1 and show up on the November bills.

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