City officials are preparing to hike water and sewer rates at the beginning of next year, due to increased costs in water treatment and maintenance.


City officials are preparing to hike water and sewer rates at the beginning of next year, due to increased costs in water treatment and maintenance.


“It’s just time we got to do this,” said Mayor Ophelia Cooper. “We hate to, but that’s just what we’ve got to do.”


The actual cost to produce water and treat sewer water, debt repayment, the cost of existing operations and maintenance, the cost of salaries and benefits, depreciation and capital projects, are all issues that city officials have been reviewing, Cooper said.


“I know it’s not going to be easy for our community,” Cooper said. “But that’s just where we’re at.”
And hard numbers are showing that Kingston needs to make some changes.


“When we did a cost analysis on our sewer and water rates we realized, especially on the sewer, we weren’t even covering our costs,” said Leonard Nail, public works director for the city. “And that’s one reason they’re trying to raise them.”


Nail said residents currently pay about $12.50 for the first 2,000 gallons of water they use. The next 1,000 gallons cost about $3, the next 1,000 cost about $3.25 and after that residents pay about $3.50 per 1,000 gallons. Prices are expected to rise about $2.50 for the first 2,000 gallons of water, he said.


Clerk Treasurer Darla Garrison added that the subject of raising water and sewer rates has been on the table for almost two months and the city has heard little discontent at public meetings, but that could change at the next city council meeting on January 13 at city hall, when the decision will be finalized.


“It’s always been discussed for a long, long time. It’s been discussed two or three times at meetings,” Garrison said. “No one was at the meetings to voice their opinions, as far as the people that were there, they didn’t say anything,” she said. “Now there maybe more people at this meeting in January to voice their opinions.


Kingston completed the third and final phase of a sewer treatment upgrade that was mandated by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality about three months ago. The city also extended its sewer lines east near State Highway 70. The combined cost for the two projects was about $800,000.


“It’s just because everything is so much higher,” Garrison said. “Everything has gone up.”


Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.com