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Norman voters approve water rate hike in special election, Minco results show tie

 Crews responding to a main break that left an apartment complex without water Tuesday. The clamp repair to this 1980s line will take several hours. A proposition to replace such aging infrastructure was approved by voters on the same day.
City of Norman
Crews responding to a main break that left an apartment complex without water Tuesday. The clamp repair to this 1980s line will take several hours. A proposition to replace such aging infrastructure was approved by voters on the same day.

Voters in Norman approved a proposition to hike water rates in order to fund infrastructure upgrades, Tuesday.

Most customers' bills will increase by about $5 a month, according to city officials. Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure, with a 13 percentage point advantage for “yes” votes.

Norman Utilities Director Chris Mattingly said in an interview leading up to the vote that the rate hike would help pay for aging and ailing water infrastructure in the city.

The city has had more line breaks per 100 feet of line than 75% of U.S. water systems, according to recent data from the American Water Works Association.

About half the city’s lines are made out of cast iron or ductile iron, which tends to corrode in Norman’s clay soils. Mattingly said drought-stricken clay can even cause the lines to snap in two.

“Our budgets being low, we're only able to go in and patch and repair and then fix the damage that the blowout does,” Mattingly said. “But we're not able to really schedule pipe replacements in a preventative fashion.”

Revenue from the increase will generate about $7 million dollars for the city, and the increase will go into effect beginning in September.

In Minco, voters cast their ballots for a motel and hotel tax increase. Unofficial results showed a tie with 42 voters voting for the proposal and 42 voters voting against it.

A Grady County Election Board official said that the proposal will fail as a result of the tie.


A recount could be likely. If the results are the same, the tax hike will fail. A similar 2002 tax hike in Muskogee failed after a recount of votes there ended in a tie, according toThe Oklahoman.

Fourteen counties had local elections Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the state:

  • Voters in Kiowa County approved a one-cent sales tax increase to improve their more than 100-year-old jail. 
  • In Blanchard, voters gave the thumbs up to hotel and motel tax hikes in their cities.
  • Shawnee voters made a number of changes to that city’s charter.


For full unofficial results, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Robby grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, including The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He reported for StateImpact Oklahoma from 2019 through 2022, focusing on education.
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