City Manager's Corner

Hello Choctaw!  

Fall is coming on quick and I hope everyone is taking advantage of the Friday Night Farmers Market in the Park.  We really appreciate Matt Floyd and team for bringing the idea to Parks & Recreation and laying the foundation for its success.  Please take time to come experience the Farmers Market, Friday evenings through September.  Local goods, food, and friendship at Choctaw Creek Park!  

  As a reminder, the Choctaw Utilities Authority Trustees commissioned an independent study of rates earlier this year.  The rate study included a review of the Authority financial performance, identification of future revenue requirements, and proposed utility rates and charges necessary to provide sufficient revenue to meet operational costs, debt service requirements, reserve requirements, and a return to the citizens of Choctaw through the City General Fund.  The trustees approved a utility rate increase in June and the new rates were effective 1 August (rates found at https://mychoctaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/1883/FY-2020-2021-Fee-Schedule_Water-Sewer-PDF).  The new rates will be captured in your August usage and reflected on your September bill.  The bottom-line on the study revealed the Authority’s margins were too small to provide for operating expenses, recapitalization, repair & maintenance, and debt service.  In other words, the Authority was just covering the cost of getting the water to the meter and nothing else. As you know this is an enterprise fund and rates should cover all the elements in running the enterprise—repairs, maintenance, development, future expansion, recapitalization, and a small return for emergencies.  We will closely monitor the performance of the rate structure through this year to ensure the return meets tested projections.  With that said, we had our first major issue with the above-ground storage tank on storage tank; the Indian Meridian tower behind the fire station.  We discovered a major leak and had to pull it out of service.  We will take this opportunity to get it fixed as well as repainted.  Taking the tank out of service should have no impact on pressure in the short term, but does obviously impact our storage capability for firefighting.  We should be up and running within the next 90 days or so as we work through the contracting channels for bids and repair.  

Parks & Recreation recently sponsored the first Intramural Softball league.  Six teams participated, including a team from City Hall.  Organized sports are a great way to get to know each other in a venue outside the workplace.  We are going to try again in the Fall if anyone out there is interested in some friendly competition.  Bouse Park will also host their first Youth Flag Football league as we continue to expand recreational opportunities to the community.  Please sign your teams up through the Bouse Sports Complex tab of the City website.  

We are cautiously optimistic regarding the budget as we move forward through the COVID situation.  Sales Tax for the City is holding steady and performing better than projected.  Choctaw’s mix of local restaurants, retail, and on-line shopping have fared well during the pandemic.  

Please check the City website often under the COVID-19 Alert at the top to get the latest information for Choctaw and the State.  Keep in mind City Council passed an ordinance requiring face coverings when in public facilities.  The ordinance takes effect on September 6th.  The CDC recommends face coverings to assist in mitigating the spread of the virus.  

Your City Manager,

Ed Brown

--posted 09/01/2020