By Tim Farley
Without fanfare or little discussion, Yukon’s City Council approved a 7 percent water rate hike and a smaller increase for garbage collection at the Tuesday meeting.
The only discussion about the proposed increases came from Ward 2 Council member Shelli Selby who questioned why low-income residents were being charged the same $20
Oklahoma City water fee as everyone else when their basic Yukon usage rate is lower. All water customers are charged the $20 fee, which is used to pay for water purchased from Oklahoma City.
City Manager Jim Crosby responded residents who pay the basic water rate with 2,000 gallons or less pay a lower garbage rate of $5.50 a month compared to “everyone else who pays $18. That makes up for the difference.”
Selby, who voted against the rate hike, said she doesn’t understand why any Yukon water customer would pay more for Oklahoma City water than the basic Yukon rate.
“I don’t agree with that,” she said. “If you are working hard to keep your usage under 2,000 gallons, why are you paying more for Oklahoma City water than the basic rate we charge in Yukon. It just doesn’t seem equal. I had asked if we were breaking even or losing money with the $20 charge. I just felt like we weren’t ready to raise the rates.”
None of the other council members made comments about the water and garbage rates.
Crosby told council members in a work session two weeks ago that rates needed to be increased because of Oklahoma City’s rate increase to metro cities which buy water from them. Oklahoma City increased its rate by 12 percent.
Yukon purchases a majority of its water from Oklahoma City and uses wells for the remainder. Yukon also pays Oklahoma City to hold 60 million gallons in reserve that can be used each month.
“We’re also charged for the water we use,” Crosby said.
Cities that purchase water from Oklahoma City will begin paying the higher rate in January.
The basic rate for Yukon utility customers who use 2,000 gallons of water or less per month will increase from $13.50 to $14.45. That would place Yukon with the fourth lowest water rate among 10 metro area cities. Only Edmond, Midwest City and Norman have lower rates, according to figures provided by Yukon city officials.
The average water rate for those who use 2,000 gallons or less per month among the 10 cities is $16.54
Water customers who use more than 2,000 gallons a month will experience larger increases. Customers who use 2,000 to 12,000 gallons per month will pay $4.05 per thousand gallons. Residents who use 12,000 or more gallons will pay $4.77 per thousand gallons of water.
Meanwhile, the residential garbage rates will go from $5.16 to $5.46 for customers who use 3,000 gallons of water or less per month. Yukon provides up to two trash carts for homeowners and one of the carts is issued at no cost, Crosby said. Residents who use 3,000 gallons of water or more per month would pay $18.79 for sanitation.
At the same time, rural garbage rates jumped to $30.05 per month. The last time rural garbage rates were increased was in 2009, Crosby told the council. The council provided the sanitation department a $50,000 subsidy last year to meet its operating expenses. In addition, the sanitation department recently purchased two garbage trucks at a total cost of $430,595.
The city may raise sanitation rates every October based on the Consumer Price Index increase. If there is no increase in the CPI, rates could remain unchanged. The council may also decide to forego a sanitation increase.