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Perkins Journal | Perkins, OK

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6/27/2013 8:47:00 PM
Perkins water rates going up July 1
Area children have made good use of the splash pad at the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza this summer. The splash pad is operational 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. daily. Journal photo by David Sasser
Area children have made good use of the splash pad at the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza this summer. The splash pad is operational 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. daily.

Journal photo by David Sasser
By Van Mitchell Journal Correspondent

The City of Perkins hasn't had an increase in its water rates in a number of years but that is about to change for residents starting July 1.

Perkins City Manager Pete Seikel said rising costs of providing services has forced the city to raise its water and trash rates by $2.00 per residential and commercial customers. He said the previous rate was $12.00 for the first 1,000 gallons of usage for in-city residences and now will be $14.00. Residents who live outside the city limits will now pay $27.00 for the first 1,000 gallons or less of water used.

In-town commercial users will now pay $17.00 for the first 1,000 gallons or less water used and outside the city limit commercial users will pay $27.00 for the first 1,000 gallons or less water used.

Seikel said in addition, the service disconnect/ reconnect fee has increased from $15.00 to $25.00. He said this fee is essentially for those customers that have had their water service disconnected for failure to pay the bill by the cut-off date.

"It has remained pretty constant on the water side up until now with seven years without an increase," Seikel said. "The cost of services just continued to go up. We disinfect and purify all of our water. The delivery of chemicals has increased over the years. With the new water well we are bringing online we are also increasing some of our power costs."

Seikel said he posted the rate increase on the city's website and residents will also learn of it when they receive their July bill.

"I haven't heard much backlash yet," he said. "I anticipate it when they get their first bill. It is always unpleasant to do a rate increase."

Seikel said Perkins has been fortunate that it hasn't had to raise its water rates for this period of time.

"The last substantial utility rate we had was in 2009 when we started our wastewater treatment plant," Seikel said. "We looked at a variety of options to pay for it and we increased the sewer rates and it was very substantial and it hurt. We had a 1960s vintage wastewater treatment plant and we weren't in compliance."

Water and sewer rates for communities across Oklahoma vary in comparison to Perkins.

For example, the City of Stillwater website states that in-town residential customers pay a $6.00 water rate per 1,000 gallons or less used and an $8.00 per meter service charge for sewer rates. Out-of-city customers pay a $9.00 water rate and a $12.00 sewer rate charge.

According to the City of Guthrie website in-town residential customers pay a minimum of $9.72 for the first 2,000 gallons of water usage and pay a $7.50 water treatment plant fee and a $4.25 per month user fee. The $4.25 is for streets capital improvement projects that are annually performed.

The City of Cushing utility department says the base water rate for residences and commercial businesses within the city limits is $11.25 and out of city limits base rate is $16.88.

Seikel said Perkins currently receives its water from three wells including a well near the Ampride Travel Plaza, a well near D'Marios Pizza and one near Jalopy's Drive-In along State Highway 33.

A fourth water well is currently being constructed behind Sonic Drive-in at a cost of $97,402.

Seikel said the city received about a $60,000 grant from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to help with the cost of drilling and development of the new well. He said the city would pay the rest of it through its capital improvement fund.

Seikel said the Layne Christensen Company is drilling the well. Layne is a water management, construction and drilling company that serve government agencies, investor-owned water utilities, heavy civil construction contractors, oil and gas companies and agribusiness.

"They drilled a test well over a month ago and got good quantity and quality of water there," Seikel said. "I think the well will be online and connected around the first of August."

Seikel said they have been able to keep costs down by doing some of the water well work in-house and sub-contracting other work out.

Seikel said he has seen Perkins population grow over the past few years. According to the 2010 Census Perkins population was 2,831.

Seikel said with an increase in population and the lifting of Perkins watering ban will only increase the demand for water from residents.

"We will have more water," he said. "The community has grown so much in my time here for the past few years. We have built over 130 homes and 42 new apartments. We are still seeing some residential construction. We are just trying to meet the demand."

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