The Woodward News

March 26, 2013

County officials hear road plan

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — County commissioners received a 5-year road and bridge improvement plan during the regular meeting Monday.

Donnie Head, circuit engineering district No. 8 program manager for Oklahoma's county commissioners, presented the pan, which covers the Fiscal Years 2013 through 2017.

Head said the plan consisted primarily of projects for the repair and preservation of blacktop road. Head also said the plan calls for one bridge repair project on a bridge located one mile north and west of Alabaster Caverns. Head said that bridge required repairs from the heavy traffic that crosses it stressing its beams, and that the remaining bridges in Woodward County were in good shape.

The project will cost around $2,165,058 and be funded by ODOT fuel taxes. Construction is set to begin sometime in 2014.

Commissioners tabled an item concerning an engagement letter between Thomas E. Lumsden and the Board of Woodward County Commissioners as an expert witness in the case of Nextera Energy Resources- Sooner Wind LLC, suing Woodward County over ad valorem tax assessments.

Lumsden is an expert witness in Windfarm Land Appraisal from California that the county's attorney had encouraged them to sign as an expert witness. DA Hollis Thorp explained to the commissioners that since Oklahoma was relatively new to wind energy, it would be worthwhile to bring in an expert from a state that has had wind energy for quite some time.

The item was tabled to allow Thorp to enquire as to whether several other counties involved in similar litigation with wind farms would be interested in sharing the cost of bringing in Lumsden.

The rezoning of lot 2 block 2 of the Northwest Passage Industrial Park from general commercial to general industrial, as well as a request for the partial closing of a district 3 roadway from the closed railroad crossing to State Highway 15 were both approved during the meeting.

In addition commissioners approved a bid for a project overlaying county road NS-203 from EW-51 to EW-48 and from EW-43 to EW-42. The bid was awarded to Circle S Paving for $1,081,322.10.

There was a hold up when an item on the specification sheet was left off, namely level 2 construction staking, but after talking with the company, commissioners were assured it would be covered.

The item was approved pending a letter from Circle K Paving assuring that staking was included in the bid, and an adjustment letter from the District Attorney stating it was in the best interest that commissioners choose the lowest bid.

The project will be along 8th Street south of Woodward city limits, the first mile being a mile south of Hanks Trail, then skipping 5 miles and overlaying from the Sharon-Shattuck road 3 miles north.

Commissioners also received financing documentation from the Stock Exchange Bank for a 3/4 ton regular cab 4wd pickup for District 1. The county will make 36 payments of $708 per month at a 2.5% interest rate.

Commissioners also approved an annual contract agreement with the Western Plains Youth and Family Services Inc as well.

Sheriff Gary Stanley said the agreement allows the county to keep juveniles there in certain instances, such as runaways, until their parents are able to come and retrieve them.

In new business, the commissioners approved a resolution disposing of equipment.  District 1 commissioner Tommy Roedell explained they had recently received funds for a new chipper and were required to dispose of the old one, so the commissioners declared the 2006 Bandit Chipper surplus equipment.