Claremore Daily Progress

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February 16, 2014

Stormwater exemptions may be clarified

CLAREMORE —

The Claremore City Council will vote on an ordinance Monday, amending the city’s Stormwater System Service Charge that went into effect Jan. 1.
Last October, the council approved a $2.50 monthly charge on utility bills, with the revenue designated for stormwater system improvements.
It is a flat fee for residential properties and a sliding fee for businesses, based on property size.
When the ordinance was approved, it added the monthly charge to each property owner’s utility bill to generate approximately $550,000 in new annual revenue.
The measure to be decided will “remove and clarify exemptions for metered customers located within rights of way,” according to the meeting agenda.
“The (original) ordinance included exemptions for property located in rights of way, including highways and railroad right of way,” City Manager Jim Thomas said in the agenda information. “The intention was to clarify that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the railroads, and other entities that are not otherwise served by city utilities would not be assessed a service charge for such items as the railroad and streets and roads. As a legal and practical matter, there is no way to assess a charge against these entities.”
Since then, the city discovered that a small number of businesses are also located within railroad right of way but are city utility customers.
“It was not the intent of the city to exempt these businesses,” Thomas said. 
The new ordinance will clarify the 2013 ordinance by providing that the only properties exempt from the service charge are those not served by city utilities.
The council meeting will be at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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