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Perkins challenges rating by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn

JIM MYERS - Tulsa World Modified: June 23, 2009 at 4:27 am •  Published: June 23, 2009
WASHINGTON — Information provided Monday by Oklahoma officials refutes claims Sen. Tom Coburn used to give a planned wastewater treatment plant for Perkins the top spot on his list of questionable stimulus projects.

According to that information, stimulus funds should not be blamed for an increase in sewer rates, as Coburn’s report did, and the money actually may help with Perkins’ loan request.

"This project planning process has been in the works for about 18 months, so the increase had nothing to do with stimulus (dollars),” Perkins City Manager Peter Seikel said Monday in an e-mail.

In an earlier e-mail, Seikel provided dates that indicate the sewer rate increase cannot be linked to the stimulus funding.

He said the Perkins City Commission raised the sewer rates Feb. 11.

That was about two days before Congress gave its final approval of the $787 billion package and roughly a week before President Barack Obama signed it into law.

"If you go back and look at some of the timing for the (stimulus) legislation, we were well into the final planning phase for the project when all of this came about,” Seikel said.

He said the higher sewer rates became effective April 1, and Perkins officials weren’t sure they would receive stimulus funds until early May.