An Attractive Annual Report
“City of Lawton—Playground of the Southwest,” is the title of the unusually well arranged and attractive first annual report of the commission-manager administration of the Oklahoma City. The book contains seventy pages well printed on good paper and is illustrated throughout, with views of the city’s activities, institutions and recreation points. It combines the unusual features in an annual report, besides giving the necessarily dry facts and figures of administration, of containing much that will be of interest to the general public. In the report of Gilbert S. Brazer, superintendent of the water department, attention is called to the fact that the water works represents the largest single investment of the city, and has a valuation of $1,098,488.57 with an indebtedness of $904,393. There are included in its distribution system 87 miles of cast iron mains, ranging in size from 24 to two inches. The source is a reservoir of 9,000,000,000 gals, capacity, 14 miles from the city. A rapid sand filtration system, with a capacity of 5,000,000 gals, is daily in service. The report shows that the department ended the fiscal year of 1921 with a deficit of $63,047.34, and, with a change to the manager plan of city govermcnt and with a new superintendent. the loss for 1922 was only $21,885.21. This was accomplished by elimination of waste and reduction of operating expenses. The report continues:
“As with previous administrations the water department has proven the almost unsolvabte problem. Many a long afternoon has been devoted by the Commissioners and city officials to the discussion of a solution. Representing a very large investment, the revenue also must necessarily be large. After investigation the present administration arrived at the same decision as that of a former one, namely that the flat rate was unfair and the only equitable manner of measuring water was the same as that of gas and electricity, namely by meter. However, they modified their action by proposing to meter the business or industrial section first, believing that with a small raise in flat rates for the residential section and the additional revenue to be derived by metering those industries which commercialized the use of water, that enough revenue would be procured to place the water department on a self sustaining basis and the tax be correspondingly reduced. As in the previous instance referred to. the electorate became confused on the issue and by referendum voted against metering the city, with a proviso that meters might be installed on industrial users, which in the opinion of attorneys left the situation just where it had commenced. At the present time the officials are endeavoring to collect the scattered threads of the situation and piece them together in the form of an ordinance which will deal equity and justice to all as nearly as it is possible for man to so do.”
In the report of Chief D. C. Dexter, of the fire division, the losses are shown to have been $71,293.68 in 1922 against $122,050.13 in 1921. Attention is called to the fact that while the losses were less this year, the number of alarms were greater, thus showing an increased efficiency in the department. A new Stutz 750-gal. triple combination pumper was added to the department during the year. Overheated stoves and automobiles were given as having caused the greatest number of fires, with trash fires as a nine per cent, cause. The per capita loss, based on a 10,000 population basis, was $7.12.