MADILL, OK - The city of Madill is raising water and sewer rates by 25 percent to stay afloat in 2011. Administrators say it was a tough decision, but one they were forced to make as city governments across Oklahoma are faced with more expenses and less money.Dara Downs has the story.
Madill Mayor Kevin Eppler says the city council's decision to raise water and sewer rates by 25 percent across the board wasn't a decision the council wanted to make, but one they had to.
"Basically it's just a need thing. it's just one of those things you have to do. With the cost of normal operating expenses, everything is increasing," Eppler says.
The Public Works Authority that handles the city's water is a trust and relies on the city's water rates as its main source of income. Eppler says the projected revenue fell short by $11,000 this year, making the increase necessary to make up for the deficit.
"It's not able to get tax money, so a lot of people think we're using their water money to buy a new vehicle or something and it's not. You can't use that money for that."
The rate hike goes into effect immediately, meaning prices will rise just as many people are starting to use more water. Madill resident Charles Oller says while the increase won't directly impact him it could be hard for some of his neighbors.
"We just use it for the house. We don't water the lawn or anything, but for people like that who do, it's going to have an impact on them," Oller says.
Oller says with the cost of living steadily rising every year he can see the need to make such a sharp increase.
"Gasoline is going up, and electricity is going up, and work people have to have raises. I don't like it, but I can understand it going up."
The council also passed an additional five percent increase over the next four years. Eppler says the five percent increase may not go into effect, but will serve as a reminder to the council to keep a close eye on the city's revenue in years to come.
"I've been on the council for six years now, and we haven't had any increases at all in six years. And that's fine and dandy until you come up to a shortfall, and you have to make such a drastic increase of 25 percent. It's tough."