Proposed new sewer rates for apartments, road project updates

The Public Works and Transportation Committee of the Sapulpa City Council met Monday, July 27th at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall. Acting Committee Chair Lou Martin, Jr. conducted the meeting. 

Updates on current and future road projects

The North Hickory Street paving improvement project and waterline relocation project should be finished “hopefully next week,” according to Public Works Director Steve Hardt. He said it is mostly finished but that there is still “some clean up to do.” 

The Lakes at Cross Timbers development has gaps in the pavement of the entrance on which the City had a performance and maintenance bond claim made. City Attorney David Widdoes said that when it was completed the City did not have the same type of strenuous review process that Hardt performs now so it was not held to the same standards. “If it had been inspected when finished, it never would have passed,” he commented. 

Brown Street, which runs just south of the Aquatic Center, will be getting an overlay from Line to Cobb. There will also be a back access road to the pool built. It will be gated on both ends so that there will be some protection there at night. 

Engineers are putting together a proposal on the expansion of the West Ozark Trail road near Highway 117 and Route 66 (by the golf course) and hope to have it done by the end of this week. This is a bond issue item. City staff say that it is “a big job,” but that it will save police and fire “miles and miles” of circumventing the old Route 66 bridge behind the VFW to get to the homes north of there. The new road will run in front of the VFW. 

Changes to 49th West Avenue and Highway 117 are moving along, and there will be an amendment to the contract at the regular City Council meeting on Monday night with the preliminary plans for the north half of the area. One hundred and fifty feet south of the centerline of the highway has already been annexed into the City, so there is machinery there and utility work has already begun. 

Mayfield from Thompson north to Dewey will be widened and utilities relocated on the second round of the bond proceeds, in October. Hardt says he is going to get an engineering firm to develop a proposal for this project so when the bond money comes through in October it will be “ready to go.” Chairman Lou Martin said, “These improvements show that we’re really moving ahead” with bond issue projects.

Update on wastewater treatment plant

The Wastewater Treatment Plant is on schedule to be completed in February of 2021. They are upgrading the digesters and the UV system and adding a blower system and a felt press. The press will speed up the process for employees and increase the capacity of the plant by 15 to 20 years. Additionally, it will not have to be shut down at any time during construction.

Possible new sewer rates for apartment complexes

The City is considering changes to its utility rate structure for water and sewer charges assessed on apartment complexes and strip centers. Currently, there is one meter on most typical locations and the city charges both water (where applicable) and sewer charges per living unit. Some local apartment building owners have requested a modified meter rate for the whole complex instead of charging for each individual living unit. This would impact the annual billing rate and thus impact the City’s budget. 

City Manager Joan Riley says part of the difficulty of this issue is that “there’s no standard” practice for local governments and emphasizes that “we need to look at the issue as a whole” to ensure “that what we decide is fair and equitable for everyone.”  

After a long discussion, the committee decided to table the question until results come back from a rate study Riley has commissioned. The study will compare future and historical water and sewer rates and those of other municipalities’. This is a complex issue that will take much more investigation to determine the best solution for both the business owners and the City. The committee and City staff would like to develop a plan with apartment owners’ input and find “a way to work it into next fiscal year’s budget,” according to Martin. 

Update on the Reserves at Cross Timbers development

Hardt reported that at The Reserve at Cross Timbers development roads and curbs have been finished but that it is not ready to be accepted by the council because it has two issues to fix concerning a defective pipe. City Inspector Mark Stephens said the developers have known about it for a month and have not yet fixed it, but that AT&T has been working “right on top of where they need to make repairs” and that that has likely affected their ability to access the damaged pipe. The developers hope to finish by Tuesday the 28th, but City Staff thinks it likely that the development will need an additional inspection. “We don’t want to rush it,” said Hardt, but said that builders are able to start building houses and that there are currently 3 under construction. Stephens says all three owners are aware that they are building at their own risk until the city accepts the infrastructure. 

This committee meets quarterly, at 5:30 p.m., in the City Council Conference Room. The schedule of Committee meeting dates may be found on the City of Sapulpa website.

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E. B. Thompson

E. B. Thompson

Born and raised in Sapulpa, Elizabeth has a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and is a former banker. She is thrilled to be back in her hometown with her husband Michael and to be contributing to The Sapulpa Times.