With the hot weather, we’ll all have higher electric bills. But some Claremore residents will have to pay even more after city councilors approved raising the monthly service charge.
The city manager said the increase will help pay for needed improvements.
July 1, Claremore will start charging the increased service charge; and for some residents, like Bailey Thompson, it means a tighter budget.
“I’m always super nervous about my finances. So I’m going to start setting more aside for bills and whatnot,” she said.
Soon, Thompson will have to add more cash when she pays her utility bill. City Councilors voted to raise the utility customer service charge fee from $8.50 to $13.
"I'm not happy about it at all. I mean, that's a little ridiculous. I understand we have to raise bills for reasons, but that's a little ridiculous," she said.
City Manager Jim Thomas said, for some people, coming up with $60 extra a year may be tough; but, in the end, the added money helps the city.
"We're trying to improve the efficiency of our systems – water, sewer electric and sanitation - and that's what that customer service charge is going for. We're not hiring new employees, we're not giving big wage increase, it's all going back into infrastructure," he said.
The estimated cost is more than $3 million.
Instead of waiting for the water, sewer and electric systems to break down, Thomas said the city wants to be proactive.
"Our goal is to eliminate the blips and the burps, and that hasn't been the case in Claremore,” he said. "But, unfortunately, we have neglected our infrastructure in Claremore."
Thomas said Claremore’s feels will still be lower than some surrounding communities and hopes people keep that in mind as they see the improvements.
Fees also increase for Claremore Businesses. For small businesses, it goes from $15 to $23. For industrial it jumps from $30 to $45.