Taneha Utility Authority brings Attorney before the Board

Steve Redford and Loretta Kelch of Taneha Utility Authority, along with attorney representative Brian Allen, appeared before the Board of Creek County Commissioners on Monday morning, December 13th, to inform the Commissioners of the lawsuit between Sapulpa and Taneha Utility. 

Allen stated that Taneha simply can’t pay the $608,000 since the large bill is only a symptom of the problem, which can’t be fixed unless the issue is solved at the source. Currently, the sewer system is in need of significant repairs according to the representatives of Taneha. Fresh water is getting into the sewer systems, causing large water bills to stack up that Taneha can’t afford. 

Attorney Brian Allen, left, and Steve Redford appear in County Commissioners Meeting regarding water and sewer issues in Taneha.

Allen explained they’ve already spent about $300K in cleaning and overflow issues. They have planned projects to improve and fix the system (believed to be built in 1975), but the projects need $7 million that they don’t have. The water rates have gone up 50% during the last four years, creating rising water bills that helped the authority rack up such a large past due. 

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Redford stated that families in the area can’t take the hit of higher water bills, and even if they did raise the rates for the area, it wouldn’t be enough to cover the amount of funding they need for the filtration. To fix just the water entering the system when it shouldn’t be, it would be $1.7 million out of the $7 million. The $7 million includes ten projects, four of which are considered an immediate problem, including the water and sewer system concerns. 

The board explained they don’t have $1.7 million to give Taneha, let alone the $7 million for the entire planned projects, and are hesitant to give Taneha anything when they already owe so much. There are several sewer systems struggling in Creek County according to the Board, and the amount of ARPA funds allocated for sewer projects is only $1.4 million in itself. With multiple entities applying for these particular ARPA funds, the money isn’t there to give Taneha as much as they’re asking for.

There was no action taken at the meeting as Redford, Kelch, and Allen were only bringing the suit to the Board’s attention.