Advanced Water Metering, Pipe Replacement & Groundwater Treatment on the ballot
Further investment in community infrastructure by way of advanced water metering, pipe replacement and groundwater treatment will be proposed on an April ballot to sustain progress, increase efficiencies and ensure reliability of service as Norman leads Toward Tomorrow.
City Council adopted Ordinance O-2122-34, contingent on voter approval, and ballot language at the January 25, 2022, Norman City Council meeting.
An increase to the water rate of each household and business is considered to accomplish each project. In accordance with the City Charter, utility rates are only increased with voter approval. The City of Norman has not seen a water rate increase since 2015, though costs for associated equipment and chemicals for service have continued to rise.
Norman's water billing structure consists of multiple tiers, with 73 percent of households using 5,000 gallons of water or less. Residents consuming 5,000 gallons or less would see an average increase of $3.93 per month. Sixty-nine percent of commercial bills show usage of 10,000 gallons or less. Business owners in this bracket would see an average increase of $4.55 per month. If the proposition were to pass, Norman’s water rates would be still be more affordable than the bulk of peer cities outlined in recent studies and evaluations presented by City Council.
“It has been seven years since voters approved a utility rate increase,” said Chris Mattingly, Utilities Director. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to educate the community leading up to April 5. We aim to provide all needed data, insight and background information so that they can fully evaluate our current state and make the best decision for our pathway forward concerning water infrastructure.”
An informational webpage can be accessed at normanok.gov and Utilities staff intends to visit community groups and organizations in coming weeks to make additional presentations about the upcoming vote.
- Advanced Water Metering, $15M: A system of meters, communication networks and software that wirelessly delivers water usage information and service alerts. Through this system, hourly water usage information would be available in near real-time to customers and the City, which would realize the following benefits:
- Increase accuracy and timeliness of meter reading, eliminating the inconvenience and frustration caused by estimated water bills;
- Decrease the demand for physical meter reading visits in order to resolve concerns;
- Securely organize water consumption data to allow for advanced leak notification and improved water conservation;
- Create greater efficiencies in local government to best serve citizens.
- Groundwater Treatment/Disinfection, $17M: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) now requires a chlorine residual throughout a blended water distribution system.
- The City of Norman manages 41 wells that supply water to residents and businesses. By disinfecting and maintaining higher chlorine levels from the groundwater system, the safety of the water supply will improve and the City will come into compliance with DEQ mandates.
- Pipe Replacement, $1M: Replacing aging infrastructure will reduce service disruptions, as well as ensure quality water consistently makes its way to homes and businesses in Norman.
- Norman has 640 miles of water line pipes and 300 miles of those are older, metal lines that continuously fail and should be replaced by PVC pipe as soon as possible.
- Proposition funding would increase the number of projects and repairs that are carried out per year.
Additional questions concerning the proposition can be relayed to PublicAffairs@normanok.gov. Additional questions regarding the voting process and voter registration can be relayed to the Cleveland County Election Board at 405-366-0210 or at https://www.clevelandcountyelectionboard.com/contact_us.