Tahlequah Daily Press

August 19, 2013

TPWA hears pole attachment requests

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

Trustees of the Tahlequah Public Works Authority heard a pair of requests for pole attachment permission during its regular meeting at the Public Works Office Board Room on Friday.

Representatives for Eezinet Corp. and RBSC Oklahoma LLC gave short presentations and answered questions about the possibility of attaching a fiber optic network to TPWA poles to deliver broadband Internet service, primarily for commercial application.

Trustee Isabel Baker asked whether the service might be extended to residents, but representatives for both companies said their focus was on businesses, or downtown, and that residential access could be addressed later. Neither presentation cited a dollar figure, as representatives for both companies said further assessment was needed.

Legal counsel advised the board not to take action on either proposal while there were outstanding issues with the Federal Communications Commission, which the board discussed in executive session.

“Our biggest concern with these proposals is that the electric service to our customers be protected,” said Mike Doublehead, general manager. “We wouldn’t want one of their trucks to visit one of our poles to service one of their lines and disrupt electric service.”

The board also unanimously approved action to purchase a warehouse forklift for just under $20,000, and to award a bid for manhole rehabilitation of damage from hydrogen sulfide gases. The approved expense was $192.50 per vertical foot.

“We have 28 manholes that need work,” said Glenn Johnson, director of field operations for wastewater collection. “The budget should allow us to repair between 20 and 25.”

The engineer’s report was delivered by Steve Tolar, who said the authority was anticipating up to eight bids on Friday to replace or refurbish the water storage tanks on the west side of Tahlequah.

The board also heard the general manager’s report from Doublehead and unanimously approved the financial report, read by Gail Dotson, office manager.

Speaking after the meeting on a non-agenda issue, Doublehead said the TPWA was pleased with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to suspend the task force that was studying the operations of the Grand River Dam Authority, from which the TPWA purchases electricity.

“This is good news for us and our customers,” he said.