The Pryor Times

November 16, 2013

LG bond issue passes; wastewater project beginning

Cydney Baron
Staff Reporter

PRYOR, OK — The Locust Grove Board of Trustees met Wednesday night at a special meeting to award the bid to do the construction on the upcoming wastewater treatment project. In addition to the trustees, Garver Engineering Project Manager Mary Elizabeth Mach and Worley Aitken with Municipal Financial Services were in attendance.

The Board received four bids to do the wastewater treatment project which includes extensive repairs and improvements to help bring the plant into compliance with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Locust Grove is under a consent order from ODEQ.

“A consent order is a legal agreement between the town and the state (ODEQ); this agreement has tasks in it that the town has agreed to complete. The state has agreed to give them time to complete these tasks,” Mach said in a later conversation. “It is very common for a community to enter into a consent order with the state when their treatment works (either water or sewer) are in need of upgrades.”

Crossland Heavy Contractors of Tulsa was awarded the job. Their bid came in lowest at a cost of $2,635,200. Mach told trustees that the company was out of Tulsa and have a great reputation.

“In fact, all of the bids were very competitive and much lower than the engineer’s estimate of $3,455.545,” Mach said.

Locust Grove Public Works Authority was recently approved for a $3,485,000 loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to finance the project.

Improvements include installation of new wastewater flow meters and new 8-inch isolation valves, renovation of the existing sequential batch reactor blowers with new 20 horsepower blowers, replacement of diffusers and blowers in the post-chlorination aeration basin, installation of new chemical feed equipment and construction of a new sludge digester.

According to Aitken, pay back on the full amount of the loan was figured at 3.5 percent interest for 22 years.

Aitken explained that the payment would be around $131,000 a year for the first five years or so, then gradually increase until it levels off at a yearly payment of $317,000 per year.

Locust Grove is expected to receive a grant from the Cherokee Nation Indian Health Services for up to $1.5 million to apply towards the project. In addition, OWRB notified the PWA that they are eligible to receive $254,033.50 in loan principal forgiveness, further reducing the amount financed.

Tuesday, voters in the community approved a half-penny sales tax hike with the proceeds “being used to fund the construction, reconstruction, and improvement of the water and wastewater systems.”

Officials expect to collect in the neighborhood of $100,000 per year from the tax.

The ballot question passed with 77 percent for and 23 percent against the increase.

Trustees also awarded the contract for the construction phase services regarding the project to Garver Engineers at a cost of $297,300. The cost of engineering is included in the loan amount from OWRB.