Tahlequah Daily Press

July 16, 2013

City mulls equipment purchases

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Leaders of Tahlequah’s street and fire departments are looking to purchase new equipment they hope will improve service to citizens.

Street Commissioner Mike Corn appeared before city councilors Monday evening and asked to lease-purchase a truck-mounted Durapatcher to help fill the potholes on city streets.

“The patch truck we have is a 1983 model,” said Corn.

The new machine will be mounted to a street department truck – donated to the department by the city’s solid waste services – and uses oil and limestone chips.

“During the summer is when we need these most; that’s when we do most of our patching,” said Corn.

The city will pay more than $76,000 for the equipment, which is expected to be financed through Welch State Bank for 36 months with a 2.47 percent interest rate. Monthly payments will be just shy of $2,214 under the three-year payment plan.

Corn said the equipment is a budgeted item and comes with a two-year warranty, though some parts are covered by a one-year, limited warranty. Assistant City Administrator Kevin Smith told councilors they can work out a different payment plan if they prefer to pay off the equipment in two years rather than three.

Councilors also agreed to allow Tahlequah Fire Chief Ray Hammons to seek bids on a new fire engine. Funding for the new truck is set aside as part of the city’s recent bond project.

Hammons said the department hopes to purchase a multi-response vehicle that could respond to structure fires, vehicle collisions and other emergencies.

“This truck would get out and service the entire city,” said Hammons.

The new engine is expected to be housed at Station 2 near Southridge.

“It’s an amazing piece of equipment,” said Hammons. “We’ve done our research on them.”

Businessman envisions new apartments

Councilors on Monday night heard from local business owner Jason Marzullo, who requested a 24-acre lot at the northwest corner of Cedar and Allen be rezoned from R1 to R3. Marzullo hopes to build an apartment complex on that lot that would overlook Tahlequah and be “unique” to the city.

Marzullo said the complex would be quiet, gated, and secluded with as many as 50 units. He also plans to make the complex as “green” as possible, and wants to utilize solar energy to run the one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Marzullo said he has “big plans” for landscaping at the complex – which he calls Cedar Falls – including the possibility of building a park on the back side of the complex, where the property meets Wheeler Addition. The apartments would face south to overlook Tahlequah, and would be built with as much glass as possible, Marzullo said.

Councilors could not act on Marzullo’s request Monday night, but will revisit the issue at a future meeting. Members of the city’s planning and zoning committee have recommended approval of the request, according to Mayor Jason Nichols.

Broadband franchise agreement requested

Representatives of Rural Broadband Services Corporation Inc. and AFL approached the city formally Monday night and asked councilors to work with the two entities on a state-of-the-art gigabit fiber optic broadband network. Roy Choates, president and CEO of RBSC, said the broadband network would introduce wire and wireless high-speed broadband services to Cherokee County.

RBSC’s primary focus would be to provide high-speed broadband to commercial customers, public safety services, higher education and skills-training organizations, hospitals, and rural schools.

Choates said RBSC would contract with third-party entities that could offer the service to residential customers.

RBSC and AFL would invest $2 million over the next two years if a franchise agreement is reached with the city, Choates said.

Councilors were unable to take action on the request, but can revisit the issue at a future meeting. Choates and Nichols said the discussion of the franchise will also involve representatives of Tahlequah Public Works Authority.