The Pryor Times

Local News

June 1, 2013

Salina waterline gets CN help

The Town of Salina waterline project just received a huge financial boost to the tune of $1,102,500, after a contribution from the Cherokee Nation.

The town will connect to Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority to service the community.

According to City Clerk P.J. Pape, the project has been in the works for over a year.

“We had a Department of Environmental Quality consent order and we began researching our options to fix the problem,” Pape said. “The waterline project was the most long-term way to go.”

Other options included extensive repairs at the existing water plant, only to face future repairs. Connecting directly to OOWA and doing away with a treatment plant was the most economical.

“The total cost of the project is $2,232,500,” Pape said. “Cherokee Nation Indian Health Services heard about the project and contacted us. They told us there might be some assistance available, so we pursued that possibility.”

Municipal Financial Services took over for the town and worked directly with the Cherokee Nation to secure the funds.

Pape said the amount of grants is based on the percentage of Native Americans who would benefit from the waterline project.

According to Pape, census figures showed around a 22 percent Native American population in Salina, a number they knew was incorrect.

“They checked with the Salina Indian Clinic and based on their records, the percentage jumped to nearly 50 percent,” Pape said.

A few weeks ago, the town was notified the funds had been awarded.

The breakdown shows that Indian Health Services is giving $1,092,500, tribal contribution is $10,000 and the town will provide $57.500 in administrative costs.

“The administrative helps cover the cost of them having their own representative involved in the project,” Pape said.

With the huge financial contribution, Salina will only have to borrow $1.3 million from the Oklahoma Water Resource Board to complete the project. But there’s more good news for the town.

“When the waterline is complete and we close on the loan, DEQ offers a 40 percent prinicipal forgiveness,” Pape said. “We ultimately will only have to pay back $830,000 for this project. It’s really pretty amazing.”

The waterline is about 60 percent complete.

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