GPWA files petition against Councilwoman

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The Guthrie Public Works Authority filed a petition for declaratory judgement against two Guthrie citizens, including a current sitting city council member, in hopes of blocking a petition that was filed in 2008.

Guthrie City Attorney Randel Shadid filed the declaratory judgement on behalf of the GPWA on Tuesday, January 24.

Council member Patty Hazelwood and Karen Schandorf, listed as the defendants, filed an initiative petition with the City of Guthrie on September 7, 2008 for a proposed ordinance change with the City of Guthrie. The proposed Increase in Utility Rates would not allow the City to raise water and sewer rates, but instead be submitted to the legal voters of the City for their approval or rejection at the next regular general election, or at a special election.

The proposed petition by Hazelwood and Schandorf was denied by the City (December 5, 2008)where now a lawsuit is pending. The lawsuit filed by Hazelwood and Schandorf was filed in June 2010 with the names City of Guthrie and Guthrie Public Works Authority listed as the defendants.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s claim the defendants implemented the CMOM fee to raise utility rates despite the proposed charter change brought up by Schandorf and Hazlewood.

The CMOM fee is an additional charge on residents’ utility bill to repair and replace infrastructure. The Department of Environmental Quality required the City make the repairs to the infrastructure.

Schandorf and Hazelwood do not receive sewer services and have not been accessed the CMOM fee. However, according to an affidavit by Hazelwood, citizens who signed the petition are being charged the fee.

In the file petition judgement, Shadid stated that the GPWA is a separate legal entity from the City of Guthrie and that the GPWA is responsible for running the utility enterprise businesses of water, sewer and solid waste.

Shadid went on to say the initiative petition filed by Hazelwood and Schandorf is applicable only to the City of Guthrie and would have no effect of the operations of the GPWA.


1 Comment on "GPWA files petition against Councilwoman"

  1. Should counsel members share why allowing the people the chance to vote on financial matters is worth fighting? County, schools end up allowing people to vote–for courthouse, for funding fire departments, school buildings. What is the “hot potato” issue for council members? City of Guthrie has not asked for voter approval for sales tax for more than 30 years. City now has rate of 8.75%–lower than most cities. Matt Mueller says he doesn’t want a citizen committee to study a new sales tax, and states in televised meeting that he prefers adding fees and increasing rates over allowing people to have their vote.

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