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Waurika Approves New Budget

The 7.5% increase in water may not be popular, but according the City Commissioners it’s necessary to keep the books balanced. 

In other business the commissioners opened the floor for discussion about the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. 

There had been some questions about the way the categories were identified within the budget. The explanation was that all city councils across the nation must layout their budget in six categories using Governmental Accounting Standards. 

The six categories are Personal Services, Materials and Supplies, Other Services and Charges (utilities, insurance, etc), Capital Outlay, Debt Service and Transfers.

Oklahoma is the only state that does not allow cities to levy ad valorem taxes without a vote of the people. 

Therefore cities are limited on how they can raise money.

The budget is a conservative one. The city is anticipating lower revenues. 

For instance the budget for the upcoming year projects that revenue will only be around $665,000. Last year the city brought in around $686,000. In the 2016-17 budget the city brought in $711,972.

As far as expenses are concerned, it is anticipated that the city may incur $92,000 more in expenses than last year. 

RS Meacham (the accounting firm Waurika uses) explained that none of the municipalities that they work with comparable to the size of Waurika are able to support themselves from their sales and use taxes alone and must make up the balance through their water revenue. Thus the increase in water rates. 

In other business, the city renewed their agreement with RS Meacham and Associates for monthly accounting, payroll and bookkeeping services. 

The council also renewed the lease agreement with A&A WindPros Inc. for the former Elliott’s building for one year at $500 per month/$6000 annually. 

Purchase Orders and Claims for the General Fund in the amount of $19,315.30 were approved.

Purchase Orders and Claims for the WPWA in the amount of $46,545.83 were approved.

Michael Bryant Hired as New City Clerk and More Waurika City News

There were two big stories to come out of the May City Commissioner meeting for the city of Waurika.

The first was the hiring of former Jefferson County Sheriff Michael Bryant. He will bring administrative and law enforcement experience to the position which will be a plus as one of his duties will be city code enforcement.

Bryant is the longest serving sheriff in Jefferson County’s history. When he first took office as sheriff the department had just enough money to last 30 days and yet there were 90 days left in the fiscal year. When he left the department there was over $500,000.00 in the accounts.

He will begin his duties as city clerk on June 1st.

The other story of interest from Monday’s meeting was the recognition by the Oklahoma Water Resource Board for the city’s loan consolidation.

Charles de Coune, Leading Manager of the Financial Assistance Division of OWRB, presented the City Commissioners with a commemorative check symbolizing the $975,000.00 loan consolidation.

The loan will save the city 10 years of payments and over $240,000.00.

Other business included the hiring of Jeffrey Overton in the city’s Water Department. Scott spoke highly of him and said he is a willing and dedicated worker who will be an asset to the department. He is also willing to work in other departments when needed.

The city also began the process of closing an alley next to the Waurika Fire Department.

Purchase orders and claims for the City of Waurika was paid in the amount of $21,726.81.

The city will begin advising property owners near Lot 1 Block 26 of the Sycamore Addition in Waurika that Bobby Taylor is wanting to move a mobile home on the the premises.

The procedure will also be followed to notify property owners near 407 E. Iowa, Lots 15-18 of the Harper Addition in Waurika that Mary Harvey and Tyler Bowen want to move a manufactured home on the premises of 407 E. Iowa.

After the business for the city of Waurika was completed the commissioners entered the Waurika Public Works Authority meeting.

The council opened the 1 bid for the Waurika Golf Course from Michael Delaney. The commissioners voted to keep the bidding open for another 30 days. Delaney understood and said he just wants to keep the golf course open.

The commissioners approved the purchase of 12 new membranes for the Water Treatment Facility in the amount of $10,800.00. That’s around $300 less per membrane than they spent on a previous purchase.

Last but not least, the commissioners approved $39,456.54 in purchase orders and claims.

 

Waurika Chamber Banquet This Saturday

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The Waurika Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual banquet on Saturday, February 24th at the Waurika High School Cafeteria beginning at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are on sale now for only $15.00 each and can be purchased at First Farmers Bank in Waurika.

Catering the food this year will be the Duncan Regional Hospital.

Bill Roberson and his band Southern Rain will be the featured guest providing entertainment for the evening. Joining them will be Missy Fry.

November City Council Meeting Interesting Results

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The City of Waurika held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening at 6:00 pm, November 6, 2017.

All members of the council were present.

The minutes of the meeting held October 9 2017 were approved.

It was voted that the property insurance bids would be sent out to be renewed February 2, 2018.

Because the city is receiving Federal Funds the city has to adopt Ordinance Number 11032017-1 (see below), amending Section 1-12 of Article 2, City Commission, Chapter 1 to include gender identity and disability in the nondiscrimination clause.

The council approved the 2018 Waurika City Commission meeting schedule. The only change being that the June meeting will be held on Thursday, June 7th, 2018.

Next, the council voted to approve the 2018 Holiday Dates (Christmas will still be on the 25th of December).

Christmas bonuses for each full time employee in the amount of $100.00 was approved.

The various departments submitted their reports.

Street Department

Virgil Duncan reported that he read water meters, unloaded trailers of trash at the street barn, and loaded roll-offs with trash.

He moved various barricades.

Virgil also took bricks out of the road at the alley on Broadway and reinstalled bricks after the gas company laid a new gas line.

He also repaired the pot holes with asphalt; 4 in the 100 block of East G street, 2 in the 400 block of Ash, 4 in the 200 block of East H. street, and 1 in the 600 block of Florida.

Purchases and claims in the amount of $42,521.93 were approved.

The city also spent $307,813.00 of FEMA money.  $1,375.00 was also approved in interest payments from the Waurika Special Revenue Fund.

The financial reports submitted by RS Meacham were approved.

No new business was discussed.

Immediately following the Waurika Council Meeting the Waurika Public Works Authority (WPWA) began it’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Acting City Manager Brad Scott reported that the city Water Plant is being maintained and the employees working at the plant are receiving additional training.

Toni from Evoqua came towards the end of the month of October and gave tremendous help and guidance with repairing and maintaining the plant equipment.

Glenn Roberts reported that the Water Department has had a busy and stressful month. However, they have accomplished quite a bit and have learned much from Toni from Evoqua.

He reports that many of the valves need to be rebuilt and the stainless steel 6” pipes under the filters used for the CIP cleans need to be replaced.

There are some mechanical items that will need to be replaced or repaired. Money that had been allocated for sewage may have to be diverged to spend the necessary money (approximately $3,000.00) to complete the needed maintenance.

Purchase orders and claims in the amount of  $58,965.73 were approved.

RS Meacham submitted a financial report for WPWA that was approved.

Under New Business the council approved the spending of approximately $3,000.00 to replace the valves at the Waurika Water Plant.

Questions Answered About Bond Election at Thursday Meeting

Several Citizens attended the meeting at the Waurika Depot Thursday evening to find out more information about Tuesday’s Bond Election.

The Bond Election will decide if citizen’s of Waurika want to pass the bond that will allow the Waurika Fire Department to purchase much needed fire equipment and vehicles.

Some of the items to be purchased will include a ladder truck, six storm shelters, battery backup sirens, a rescue truck, jaws of life.

There are several reasons for needing a ladder truck. One is the courthouse. If there was a fire in the courthouse we currently do not have a truck with a ladder that could reach the third floor. Also, there is about to be a major expansion at the Jefferson County Hospital that a ladder truck would be needed to fight any fire that may occur at that facility. The other reason is the safety of the volunteer fire fighters. Currently, they have to sometimes be on the roofs of houses that are on fire. The ladder truck would enable them to fight the fire without having to stand on the burning building’s roof.

The addition of the new storm shelters would be very beneficial. Currently, students at the high school can not use the locker rooms as a storm shelter because of the gas lines.

The new sirens will have a battery backup that will be essential if the power goes out during a storm or tornado.

Another benefit to the new trucks would be the possibility of lowing the cities insurance rating. If that happens, property insurance would go down. Waurika is currently at a class 5 and could possibly drop to a 4 or 3. The lower the rating, the lower the cost of property insurance.

Rick Smith, owner of Municipal Finance Services,  was on hand to talk about the bond and how it will affect citizen’s property taxes.

He has worked with the City of Waurika for over 20 years. He helped facilitate the Bond approved in 2004 in the amount of $320,000.00. That bond is about to expire so the new bond will just replace the 2004 one. In other words the bond will not be an additional tax as much as it will be replacing the expiring one.

Smith said during his presentation that another bond was the best route for Waurika.

If the bond passes, tax payers shouldn’t see much difference in their property taxes.

Smith says that even though the new bond is for more money, $450,000.00, it should be approved at a lower interest rate.

What will it cost tax payers?

The example he gave was that if you owned a $60,000.00 home, it should only cost the tax payer around $35.00 – $45.00 per year. It may be higher in the first few years, but as the property values increase the tax actually goes down.

The new taxes wouldn’t be due until 2019.

Like the 2004 bond, this bond would also be on a 15 year plan.

The bonds will be bid on by various banks including those in Waurika. If one of the local banks win the bid, it would be beneficial to the community.

Nobody likes to think about fires, especially property and structure fires. However, if and when they happen it helps to be more than prepared and have the essential equipment needed to but the fires out quickly and safely.

 

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