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3% Stormwater Rate Increase On The Table For City Of Tulsa Residents

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Tulsa residents’ stormwater charges may go up later this year.

Those pay for infrastructure that drains away rainfall. The Streets and Stormwater Department is requesting a 3% increase to help stay on top of maintenance and repair needs, as well as to implement a comprehensive system to help prioritize future work. 

City Engineer Paul Zachary said a planned 7% increase was scaled back because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects on so many people, and that meant reigning in work plans.

"We’ve cut our capital plan just about in half to make it work within this 3% rate increase that we’re asking for," Zachary said.

For residential customers, the increase would mean another 26 cents a month on city utility bills, bringing the total stormwater charge to $9.03.

Commercial bills are based on impervious surface area — think concrete and asphalt parking lots or buildings — and customers like big-box stores would see bills go up almost $70 a month. District 3 Councilor Crista Patrick said she’s concerned how that will impact industrial customers in her district.

"Last time we had a slight increase, I had quite a few phone calls from some of those larger trucking companies or mobile home that have a lot of surface area of concrete," Patrick said.

Zachary said streets and stormwater workers can audit businesses to make sure they’re being charged accurately, but he’s not aware of financial assistance programs.

An 8.5% stormwater rate increase is on the horizon for fiscal year 2023, but Zachary said it’s necessary to keep the stormwater system up to standards that’s earned the city a high federal rating. That gives residents a 40% reduction on flood insurance premiums.

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