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April 23, 2014

Town owns more property than it knows

PRYOR, OK — LOCUST GROVE — Mayor Heath Holman called the Locust Grove town hall meeting to order April 14. Trustees found out the town owns property it didn’t know existed.

“I found out Locust Grove owns seven additional properties not noted anywhere. You own 44 acres in Afton, possibly donated,” said Rankhorn.   

City Clerk Tamatha Olgilvie said, “We do not own one of the seven properties.”   

“And you have eight additional manholes not noted anywhere,” Rankhorn said. “GPS showed over 230 and identified the eight you did not know existed. When I came into your community, you had not had an accurate updated map since 1988. I found out you have 89 fire hydrants which match your inventory, but found 22 were not on your inventory. They are in city limits.  Maybe you let them go but you need to make a determination.” She presented the board with maps of the city for them to verify and return to her.    

Rick Smith, Municipal Financial Services, told the board of trustees that there is a huge concern with current water usage.  

“Your water loss was getting better.  However, the last six months you were at a 70 percent water loss. When a customer is using water, you are only billing for 30 percent of what they are using. It appears there were some leaks and they had to be found and fixed. That is a concern to me,” said Smith.    

“We checked it for a couple of days,” trustee Terry Cooper said.  

“You need to monitor that,” said Smith. “The Department of Environmental Quality felt it was important to address. The city fixed three leaks last week. You are treating 13 million gallons a month and only collecting on 4 million. That is the magnitude of the loss. When you size the pipe with Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority, it needs to be based on what you are billing and how much you are consuming.”

“So, we will have to buy the water we are wasting?” said Cooper.

“Yes,” Smith said. “And, just like I said last year, once we got a plan on the water project, we would come back with suggestions. I am asking you to implement some temporary rates and when the smoke clears, we will know what we are dealing with.”   

On the financing end, Smith said, ”we set this up in phases because at the time we did this - we did not know what kind of grant money was coming in. The sales tax was voted in thereafter.  The good news is that based on the tax money, we are only going to recommend we start Phase 1.  The town was approved for $3,485,000. Last week or so, Cherokee Nation has committed to and obligated $868,400.00 to this project. It is available now. Water Resource Board gave you a grant. You ended up borrowing to repay over the next 30 years at a set rate of 3.8  The first half-cent sales tax will generate 100,000 a year.  We are going to take a part of that and use only for water and sewer.  

“The idea is to use tax dollars to keep the utility rates as low as possible. But you cannot go past 10 years unless you go back to the voters. The only recommendation is to go forth with Phase 1 which will mean a five dollar increase for residential and eight to nine dollar increase for commercial sewer,” said Smith.  

The DEQ will meet with Smith and Garver Engineers on June 18 to determine how to proceed. “DEQ is holding back a special grant for those cities and towns that shut down their plant and plug into another. It is a first come, first serve,” said Smith.

The board of trustees approved the recommendation to increase sewer rates.

The board approved the Emergency Management Plan. The sirens were tested and still in range of frequency.  The problem is if the power goes off, the sirens will not work. The solution is to narrow band them on the Internet which will be done as soon as possible.

The fire department had several items on the agenda which were approved, including the purchase of seven new rescue life vests and gear for swift water rescue, tool boxes for the fire trucks, one cell phone for a rollover non-emergency line, a blanket purchase order for Oklahoma State University certificates upon course completion and $30,000 to purchase a new Chevrolet crew cab. The department will keep its older vehicle and use it for group transportation for trainings out of the area.  

The police department took 2,094 calls, 32 walk-ins, four school calls, four vehicles were towed and the reserve officers worked 32 hours. The department made 11 arrests and 134 contacts.  A request regarding purchases of no more than $500 without board approval was approved.

Sarah Rankhorn of Grand Gateway presented the board with six items. The board approved the first drafts of the Capital Improvement Plan Toolkit and Maps, request for funds, expenditure report, and invoice.   

 A blanket purchase order was approved for Uniforms Warehouse not to exceed $500.

 A reimbursement request for Wade Henderson received no action. “It is not our responsibility to pay for his CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) recertification because he failed to go at the time he was supposed to and the city should not have to pay,” stated Trustee Stephen Perry.

The board approved Locust Street to Main Street to be closed from 5 p.m. on May 9 to 7 p.m. the following day for the Chamber of Commerce’s Founder’s Day event. Chamber of Commerce President Wayne Perego will provide a media release of all of the events taking place on both days.

The board approved Crossland Heavy Construction to act as agent in order to purchase materials tax-free.

An insertion meter was approved for the public works authority, not to exceed $3,000.  It will help identify where the water loss is occurring.

Item 32 on the town side is a problem since there was not a permit submitted or approved for the building project at the high school. Trustee Cooper said, “I am worried about the water impact with the runoff by adding a roof.”

“It will impact how much water will run off and how quickly it will collect and possibly flood and where it will drain to,” said engineer Mary Elizabeth Mach. “The map does show grading and where it will go. It comes back to the water and drainage plan.”

“They gave me one of the engineers name and wants one of you guys [Garver Engineering] to get together with them and see what needs done,” Cooper said. “We want to know what you all can do without charging us so much.”

“I cannot tell you how much it will cost,” Mach said. “We won’t do anything until we scope it out. We will contact the architecture. It might not be within the architecture’s work and might not even be his concern.”

“Concerns are that the current drain is going to be overfilled more,” Cooper said. “It already overflows.”

“This is why you need a drainage plan immediately and down the street. It is the only way we can understand. I know this is not want you want to hear,” Mach said.

”Why can we not challenge the school board to provide us with this information?” Perry asked.

“You could offer a requirement in the future for anyone who is doing this type of work to provide that information but it won’t help you now,” Mach said.

“Is this something we require from them to provide this?” Cooper asked.

City Attorney Tammy Ward said, “You can ask, but you also have to enforce.”

“It should be up to the builder to not over flood,” said Perry

No action taken for Jason Dee Williams, a reserve LG police officer, regarding his application to become a board member due to the conflict of interest. He would not be able to vote on issues involving the police department or agenda items involving his wife, Brenda Williams.   

“It is best to have the public vote him in. In addition, I think you would make a great board member,” said Ward.  

 

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