Annual utility rate increases have been approved by Enid City Commission.
Utility Services Director Scott Morris presented the water rate structure during Tuesday night’s meeting.
In 2015, the rate will be $3.57 per 1,000 gallons. The rate will be up to $7.55 per 1,000 gallons by 2019, he said.
“This is something that’s been a long time coming,” Morris said.
The city rate currently is at $2.98 per 1,000 gallons, while other communities have higher rates, he said.
“We’ve been behind the ball, and it’s time that we update our rates,” Morris said.
He also noted the commission previously decided to go forward with the Kaw Lake pipeline for water supply for the future.
“We’ve been working hard to update our rates in order to help facilitate that decision,” Morris said. “We have met with a water strategy committee and came up with these results that you should find satisfactory.”
Other rate changes will include 2 percent annual increases to other water and sewer rates; a $50 rental per month, starting the second month, for fire hydrant meters; an increase in after-hours fees from $45 to $75; a 5.5 percent automatic increase to sewer rates being lowered to a 2 percent increase; commercial sewer rates being made the same as residential rates, therefore increasing commercial sewer rates by two cents per 1,000 gallons; and establishing base rates for water, based on water meter sizes.
Commissioner Ron Janzen urged tabling the item, to give the public an opportunity to comment and allow time to find errors, but commissioners voted to approve the item 6-1.
In other business, the commission awarded a contract to the second-lowest bidder for replacement of the leaking Convention Hall roof.
Commissioners learned in a study session, prior to the meeting, that the roof was not replaced during recent remodeling of the facility, in an effort to keep costs down. At the time, city officials reportedly were told the roof had a three-year lifespan remaining.
City Engineer Robert Hitt said four bids were received for complete re-roofing of the central section, re-roofing of the north section, re-roofing of the south section and removal of the current roofing.
The lowest bidder was Bloyer & Sons, of Winfield, Kan., with a total bid of $281,705.
During the meeting, Scott Coontz, of Coontz Roofing, noted he was the only local bidder.
He came in second — $545 higher than the lowest bidder — but had indicated in his bid that he could finish the project 10 days sooner than the lowest bidder.
Bidding documents stated bidders needed to provide calendar days for completion, and that those days would be considered in the awarding of the contract, Coontz said.
City Attorney Andrea Chism said state law requires the commission select the lowest responsible bid.
“If the bid that is selected is not the lowest, then the commission has to articulate why it is the most responsible, yet not lowest,” she said. “If all the bids that are submitted are all responsible bids, you have to take the lowest responsible bid.”
Chism noted she believed all the bids were responsible.
“Ten days is really nothing. If they were 30 days, 90 days, maybe, but all of them were within an expected timeframe,” she said.
Janzen noted the roof’s condition.
“I think to get it done faster is important in this case,” he said.
Mayor Bill Shewey asked what the lower bidder’s recourse could be, if the commission chose to go with the second-lowest bid.
Chism said the lowest bidder could file a lawsuit.
“That will cost us a little more than $500 to defend,” Shewey said.
Coontz noted every contractor knows calendar days play into the decision.
Janzen made the motion to go with Coontz Roofing, based on the shorter timeframe.
“We have water running down the walls inside Convention Hall, potentially leaving damage ... the quicker we can get this accomplished, and I think 10 days in the Oklahoma environment with storms is important,” Commissioner David Vanhooser said. “Shortening it by 10 days is the more responsible approach for us to take.”
The motion was approved 6-1.
The commission also approved, 7-0, an ordinance amending Enid Municipal Code to allow firefighters, police officers and animal control officers to remove endangered animals left in vehicles.
The original ordinance allowed a person to unlock a vehicle only by use of a mechanical device but would not allow someone to break a window or otherwise damage a vehicle if an animal was in danger, she said.
“This ordinance now will allow firefighters, police officers and animal control officers only to enter a vehicle by means other than just a mechanical device, where an animal’s behavior indicates distress, the temperature outside of the vehicle is above 75 degrees and you can’t determine the inside temperature, or you can determine the inside temperature and the temperature is above 85 degrees,” Chism said.
Chism said the animal control officer, police officer or firefighter will determine if the animal is in distress.