By ROB W. ANDERSON
Members of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority Board of Trustees unanimously approved the budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year – which included a 5 percent overall increase – during Friday’s monthly meeting at the Public Works Office Board Room.
The 5 percent increase of the approved $24,222,363 budget includes a 2.5 percent increase for a cost-of-living adjustment for employees. It will go into effect July 1, while the other 2.5 percent funding increase was allotted for employees who complete certification programs, or job skill advancement training, and other deserved merit pay conditions.
TPWA General Manager Mike Doublehead said the increased budget funding was needed to meet the growth needs in the City of Firsts.
“We’re seeing a little growth in Tahlequah, which is always a good sign, and we’re trying to accommodate our expenses in expansions to accommodate the continued growth in Tahlequah,” he said.
Other actions included approval for comprehensive and general liability insurance coverage with Bardell & Bardell Insurance Agency; a contract renewal with Northeast Oklahoma Public Facilities Authority for reimbursement of costs related to billing and collection of natural gas; and approval for the purchase of a semi-truck for the wastewater treatment plan, which budgeted $120,000 for the acquisition.
The current semi-truck being used by the wastewater treatment plan was reported to have been in use for 21- 22 years, for transport of compost or heavy equipment when needed. The board approved a $108,730 bid for a Kenworth semi-truck, which is expected to be delivered by the end of July, from MHC Kenworth.
Doublehead added that TPWA property is being moved into a new storage facility recently acquired, and that the utilities company is ready to submit bids for the construction of the westside water storage tank project.
“We have begun to move inventory into the building we purchased a few months back for a warehouse,” he said. “That [water storage tank] project is a $3 million gallon concrete storage tank.”