|A $6 surcharge is going to be added to every water bill in Henryetta starting in January.
That decision was made Tuesday night by the Henryetta city council following notification that a petition to the state Auditor’s office was valid.
”This is a sore subject,” said mayor Jennifer Clason. “No one wants to raise water bills.” She went on to say the alternative would be to cut services and possibly reduce employees.
|“I talked with Trey Davis (state auditor’s office) and he said the audit will occur in 60 to 90 days,” Clason said. She said other towns have waited up to two years for a similar audit. She pointed out the city has already set the budget for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017. “To get the money out of it, we would have to cut services.”
The petition, initiated by city critic Howard “Buck” Sheward, is the second one that has the necessary number of signatures to force an audit. A similar audit was held by the state in 2014. “The last one didn’t find anything,” Clason pointed out.
She went on to say the city has made progress in the past four years. “It takes a city as a whole to do this. If we can get everybody to come together to stop the petitions, it would be a significant change in the city.”
Class said several citizens reported they were told that if they signed the petition, their water bills can’t be raised. “As long as you have a person capable of that stuff, you can’t stop it,” said councilor Shannon Scott.
A letter explaining the surcharge and the audit petition is going to be mailed along with the utility bills in January.
No time limit was set for the surcharge to end. “My personal opinion is it goes off when the cost of the audit is paid off,” said Clason.