Finalizing the work at the wastewater plant was closer to being resolved at the regular monthly meeting of the Stilwell Utility Authority/Stilwell Area Development Authority on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Jay Updike, with Holloway, Updike and Bellen, said two of the last three problems have been taken care of. A pump that had electrical and programming issues has been repaired, and another pump that is only used when it rains has been sent off to be repaired. It is scheduled to be shipped and installed next week.

Chairman Bill Garrett said he didn’t think those warranties should take effect until the equipment was working. And the board was told by Updike that was what would happen.

Settling the final payment of $282,687.88 was discussed.

“We have a letter that proposes due to the $28,100 cost of the pump and an extra $40,000 be taken from the total due. Is this reasonable to avoid a lawsuit? They’re 10 months overdue. We may just turn it over to the bonding company,” said Garrett.

Dwight Birdwell, SADA attorney, recommended the board take it under advisement and take no action to give him time to check on warranties. The item was tabled.

The Department of Environmental Quality inspected the wastewater plant in March and found a problem to be addressed.

“Normally DEQ doesn’t go through plants after the fact, but they did. There are some chemicals that need better containment,” said Updike. 

The six-inch concrete walls will be constructed around the tanks. Updike approved $4,200 for design engineering and permitting for spill containment improvements, as requested by ODOT.

Another issue that needs additional information for the board to make a decision is how to pay back the Grand River Dam Authority for extreme expenses incurred during the February 2021 winter storm.

CPA Robert St. Pierre said they have to decide whether to pay it back all at once, in a year or 10 years.

Larry Eagleton said in 10 years their customers would see a very little increase in their bill, but some businesses would see $25,000 a month if done in a year.

“We don’t expect our customers to pay it back in a year,” said St. Pierre.

There are two decisions to be made: how quickly the board will pay GRDA and how the customers will pay it back.

“It would be 12 months interest free if we did it that way,” said Shelldon Miggletto.

St. Pierre said Stillwater has $7 million to pay back and will recoup in 36 months from customers.

“We owe $1 million. We could write a check for all of it, but I’d like to look into it a little more,” he said.

The deadline to pay is Oct. 15.

Birdwell recommended the board allow for additional research before making a decision.

A request for a firing range to be used by the Stilwell Police Department was tabled for more consideration.

“A lot of people live by city lake. When there was a firing range near me, there were machine guns going all the time,” said Garrett.

Larry Eagleton said only the police department would be using it and it would be kept locked up.

Mayor Jean Ann Wright said they’ve been utilizing private property that was offered by Chick McConnell.

“We took the old place they’d been using down about a year ago. It was disruptive to people trying to have services in the cemetery,” Wright said.

Birdwell recommended they present a proposal, “so you’ll know what to expect.”

“Then you can have input before you approve it,” said Birdwell.

In his report, Eagleton said last month there was an 8-inch break in a water main that was repaired, a controlled scheduled outage at Stilwell Hardware, and five squirrel related outages.

“Fall and spring, we have a lot of squirrel problems. We’re putting black plastic caps over all new poles,” he said.

Last month, 91 water meters were changed with 600 more to go.

Miggletto reported the Oklahoma Department of Commerce did fund their proposal for the new water plant because it doesn’t allow a longer timeline they asked for.

Other funding sources are being sought, including American Recovery Plan Act funds.

“GRDA will vote on a project that might build a substation north of Schwans Foods. The $2 million project would serve Schwans, Wilma P. and Redbird,” he said.

Under new business, the mayor asked for a utility pole to be relocated that is on the property where the new city hall will be built. Eagleton said he would meet with Dale Dandridge, municipal works director, and figure it out.


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