Editorial: Tulsa hikes water bills once again

Here’s something that shouldn’t surprise any Tulsan – utility rates are going up in November.

Like clockwork, the Tulsa City Council and Mayor G.T. Bynum annual jack up the cost of their water and sewer rates. These annual 7-plus percent increases may seem small to some, but it adds up to low-income Tulsans, the elderly in particular.

Increasing property taxes (by the way, despite comments to the contrary, the City of Tulsa gets millions in property taxes every year) hits the rich while raising utility rates (and sales tax) disproportionately impacts Tulsa’s poor.

If you raise rates by 7 percent annually, in less than 10 years the cost doubles.

Customers who use an average amount of water (7,500 gallons a month) will see an annual increase of $64.32 while high-use customers (12,000 gallons a month) will have bills increase by almost $100 annually.

The average annual bill will skyrocket to $903.72 a year while high-use bills will jump to a whopping $1,453.80.

As always, the utility authority recommended the increases. Why shouldn’t they? It’s more fun to spend someone else’s money?

Providing safe tap water and functional sewer systems is a core function of municipal government. Citizens should realize there is a cost to providing these services.

It’s just a shame that Tulsa does such a poor job of allocating funds that it has to add to the financial burden of the poor and elderly every year with higher utility bills.