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Council takes no action on moratorium

Mayor Matt Dukes announces the city council will not take action on the east side moratorium on March 26. Photo by Jeff Harrison

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

A moratorium on new construction on the east side of Midwest City will continue.

The city council took no action on a plan to fund necessary upgrades to the sewer system and potentially lift the moratorium during a March 26 meeting.

The city implemented a moratorium on construction on the east side due to capacity issues with the sewer system. The moratorium bars construction that would connect to the municipal sewer system. Construction that uses a septic or aerobic system is still permitted.

Midwest City had been contemplating imposing a development impact fee and raising sewer service rates for residents and businesses to fund necessary upgrades to the eastside sewer system.

The city was considering a development fee of $6,325 and 10% rate increase for sewer customers. The proposals were recommended by Freese and Nichols, a consulting firm that has studied the issue.

Mayor Matt Dukes said they have received feedback from constituents about the proposal.

“These discussions have made us realize that these agenda items need far more discussion and research before any action is taken on these items,” he said.

Dukes said the city would not act on the agenda items and the moratorium will remain in place until a city-wide sewer study is completed.

“We are taking this seriously and we don’t want to make any mistakes when we go forward with that,” he said.

A development impact fee is a one-time fee that would pay for infrastructure improvements to address capacity issues and cannot be used for maintenance. The fee would be imposed at the building permit stage. It would apply to new construction inside the geographic boundaries of the east side sewer study.

The rate increase would have applied to all sewer customers city-wide.

In August, Midwest City issued a moratorium after a study showed that the current system is at or over capacity in the east side. The study outlined more than $28 million in upgrades to the system needed to accommodate future development.

During a special council meeting in February, city staff and representatives from Freese and Nichols provided an update on the moratorium and outlined a prioritized list of projects and possible funding sources.

Midwest City held the first of two public hearings on the proposed development fees and rate increase on March 11 during a planning commission meeting. The second public hearing was scheduled to take place at the council meeting on March 26.

 

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