Tahlequah Daily Press

December 16, 2013

TPWA to cushion operations budget

Managing Editor

TAHLEQUAH — Trustees of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority decided during their Friday regular meeting to place a cushion in the operations budget to protect against potentially low winter revenues.

After hearing the financial report from Gail Dotson, the board exercised an option to leave 25 percent of its net income in the general operating fund instead of moving it to the reserve fund.

Dotson said the general fund held $2.8 million for operations and could cover a month of expenses, but that reserve deposits would halve the amount and revenues often drop during the winter months.

Following the suggestion of Mike Doublehead, general manager, the board voted 5-0 to leave $347,000 of income in the operating fund.

“The board made a decision in September of 2012 to place any net income into three CDs, divided 50-25-25 percent,” Doublehead said. “We will still place 75 percent into the reserve, but retain the remainder for operations.”

Steve Tolar delivered a report requesting approval of Change Order No. 2 for the Westside Water Storage Facility project.

Tolar told the trustees that DN Tanks Inc. had decided it would not be necessary to remove and dispose of paint as a hazardous material, and had eliminated a request for $4,084.37 to do so. The board’s approval put the current cost of the project at $1,806,365.63.

It was also reported that the contractor removing the million-gallon steel tank to be replaced would demolish and clear it in one day.

In other business, the TPWA approved a bid by Spencer Blasting and Drilling Company of Hulbert to handle utility blasting associated with the Southwest Interceptor sanitary sewer line, which serves much of southwest Tahlequah.

Also called the Jack Brown project, the Southwest Interceptor enhancements are partly funded by the Cherokee Nation, which is purchasing materials. The Spencer bid was $176,000, based on anticipated work involving 5,500 linear feet of line and 17 manholes.

The bid was approved 4-0 with a recusal by trustee Isabel Baker who, as the mother of Principal Chief Bill John Baker, has not voted on items with which the nation has association.  

Unanimous approval was also given to award Doublehead, who receives a $100,464 annual salary, a 5.5 percent pay increase effective Jan. 1.

“I’ve repeatedly stated to the board that I am fortunate to be the general manager for the TPWA,” Doublehead said. “I am also grateful to have so many talented people working around me.”

The board heard the engineer’s report by Tolar and the general manager’s report from Doublehead, who stated that there were some water leaks repaired during the ice and snowfall of Dec. 5-6, but no power outages were reported.

The board agreed to move its meeting dates to the third Friday of each month during 2014, with the exception of June, when the TPWA trustees meet on the 13th.

WHAT"S NEXT: The next regular meeting of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority is Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. in the board room of the public works office, 101 N. College Ave.