Council looks to restrict more outside water use

Jason Angus Reporter

September 4, 2013

The Altus Municipal Authority received a $20,000 check from OMPA, and City Council discussed shutting off water for Stage-4 water restrictions, during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, in Council Chambers of the Municipal Complex.

The AMA received an update from Palma Lough, Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Energy Services Specialist, on various incentive programs for commercial and small businesses before Dave Osborne, OMPA General Manager, presented Mayor David Webb with a $20,000 annual certification check for Altus Power taking part in the Competitive Utility Program (CUPS).

Osborne also provided an update on the Charles D. Lamb Energy Center project in Kay County, stating that most bids for major machinery have been awarded and they are just waiting for the installation to be performed, with a service date of 2015.

The AMA approved the Purchasing Department to advertise for bids for the Electric Department to purchase “remote read/disconnect meters,” to be paid for by the $20,000 check that was presented to the City. Altus Power Superintendent Dan Scott explained that having to disconnect or setup meters costs $75 each time, and by replacing 48 meters to be turned on an off remotely will ultimately save the city money.

Also during the AMA meeting, Deputy City Administrator, James Wilson, gave a financial and operational report for the period ending Aug. 31. Wilson stated that so far 16.7 percent of the year has passed and the City has spent 15.7 percent of budgeted funds.

“That’s a good thing. We’re spending right on track as we had projected,” Wilson said, and added that revenues are earning at the rate of 17.2 percent, staying ahead of expenditures. Wilson provided a detailed report to include fund balance reserves, investments, water treatment reserve funds, and MAPS. Wilson also included a summary of proposed rates for Altus Air Force Base to consolidate potable water, raw water, sewer, and landfill all under one utility bill, and expect AAFB to submit a proposal in the near future.

“If you continue carrying out the financial plan you’re going to increase your financial stability,” Wilson said.

The AMA also voted to acknowledge the 2012 Contract for both the AAFB Main Gate Waterline Relocation Project and the Falcon Road and Park Lane Water Project, approved to be tax exempt, and appointed the low bidder as purchasing agent and authorized the project for bids. This item was brought back on the agenda after already being approved during the Aug. 27, regular meeting to clarify the vote was for two projects. This was also approved during the City Council meeting.

During the City Council meeting, Council members discussed amending the City’s Water Restriction Ordinance, and considered revisions to sections pertaining to Stage-4. Council members looked at every option from shutting or water to sections of the city to further restriction of outside water use, with the exception of watering home foundations to prevent damage, to restricting car wash hours and golf course watering, and revising ordinance language to be more appropriate to Altus’ current situation based on water usage and storage.

Councilmen Rick Steen stated that Tom Steed Reservoir is at 24.76 percent capacity and Lake Lugert Altus at 12 percent, and later stated, “I just can’t see that it will last past next year if we don’t get any rain. I really feel like we’ve got to ban outdoor watering right now with the exception of soaking foundations.”

After further discussion, Council tabled the item until the next regular meeting to compare car wash water use before and after implementing the water restriction program as suggested by audience member and former Councilman Scot Simco.

Council also approved to retain professional services of Michael L. Darrah to recover sales tax revenue spent on the Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant. The plant was built using sales tax revenue and began operating in 2005, by has never worked at promoted.

Other items approved on the agenda include approval of Resolution No. 2013-38 to accept and adopt the Jackson County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, Resolution No. 2013-39 to acknowledge receipt of certified results from the Jackson County Election Board and declared the approval of Ordinance 2013-08, granting to CenterPoint Energy Oklahoma Gas a franchise for a 25-year period, and also approved Capital Outlay funds for 50 new desktop computers not to exceed $43,000.

Council entered executive session to for an update of an appraisal of real property of the 1965 Round Timber Wells Lease, and received an update regarding the resignation of James Wilson as Deputy City Administrator. In open session, Council approved the contract between the City of Altus and the FOP #120.

After comments from the City Administrator and Council members, the meeting adjourned.