Wasteful spending, rising costs
It is expensive to live in Tulsa and thanks to municipal government, that cost-of-living is going to keep rising.
Questionable spending is one reason for the continuing inflationary pressures. For example, the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority is paying a public relations company $8,000 a month to listen to people complain about water and sewer problems. Isn’t that something that could be handled in-house by employees of the Public Works Department? Eight thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a lot but that is $100,000 a year just to hear complaints from customers.
Saxum Communications holds focus groups (each participant gets $50 for their time) and this supposedly answers all the questions about what residential customers want.
This will save some money – they want clean water without ammonia in it and they want sewers that don’t back up into their houses.
And when Saxum delivers a report on the focus groups, it could lead the authority to pay for a “more comprehensive study.” Translation – “a really expensive study” that says customers “want clean water without ammonia in it and they want sewers that don’t back up into their houses.”
Two years ago, TMUA okayed a contract for $3.4 million to pay Infrastructure Management Group to study the utilities and make recommendations. Already, the group has suggested that city make aggressive improvements and be more “businesslike.”
Water and sewer rates have increased by an annual average of almost 5 percent and 9 percent respectively since 2007. At that rate, the rates will double in less than 14 or eight years.
And the trust is guaranteeing that those rates will keep climbing.
Maybe the increases would be smaller if the city didn’t waste so much money buying information we already know.