Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
A rezoning request for a proposed residential community for seniors was approved during Monday's regular Woodward City Commission meeting.
The proposed apartments for seniors are slated to be situated on an approximately 10-acre tract along 8th Street just north of Hanks Trail. With Monday's approval, the property was rezoned from R-1 single family dwelling district to R-2 general residential district, to allow for multi-unit dwellings.
The company that is proposing to construct the senior apartments, Affordable Equity Partners is applying for funding for the project through a federal tax credit. The continuation of the project will depend on whether the company receives the tax credit funding.
In other business, city commissioners addressed a number of employment agreements.
This included approving a labor agreement between the City of Woodward and the firefighters union I.A.F.F. Local 2560. City Manager Alan Riffel said the only change from the previous agreement was a 2.5 percent raise in pay for the firefighters.
In comparison, Riffel told The News “The general city employees got a 2 percent cost of living adjustment to their pay" under the FY2014 city budget.
Riffel's own employment agreement with the city was also renewed. A copy of the agreement was not included in an agenda packet provided to The News, but Riffel said that his base pay will be the same as last year’s contract, at $103,756. However, he added there was a 2 percent increase in what the city contributes to his pension plan, bringing the amount up to 15 percent of his total salary.
Also approved Monday was the ongoing agreement between the City of Woodward and the Woodward Public School District for 2 school resource officers. According to the agreement, Woodward Public Schools pay 80 percent of the salary and benefits of the first police officer and 50 percent of the salary of the second.
The ongoing contract for economic, industrial and community development services between the City of Woodward, the Woodward Municipal Authority and the Woodward Industrial Foundation was renewed. The contract outlines that the city will compensate the Industrial Foundation at a rate of $32,000 per month for those development services.
Commissioners approved the inter-local agreement with Woodward County for the housing of city prisoners in the county jail. The same agreement was also approved through the Woodward Board of County Commissioners Monday morning.
According to E-911 Director Shaun Barnett, the agreement has saved the city an estimated $50,000 per year. These savings are then used to meet shortfalls in the E-911 funding as a result of fewer people having land lines, which was where the bulk of 911 funding came originally, Barnett said.
“It was a joint effort really,” he said. “By consolidating, the city was spending quite a bit of money on keeping up with the jail and they were able to save that but then put that back into keeping the 911 service up and financially stable.”
SLIGHT UTILITY RATE INCREASES
In 3 different action items, the commission approved the annual increase to city utility rates, as based on the Consumer Price Index. This year the rate increases are slight because they were based on a CPI of only 0.4 percent.
For water, residential customers currently pay $10.80 for the first 3,000 gallons and $1.25 for every 1,000 gallons thereafter. With the increase, customers will pay $10.85 and $1.30 respectively.
For solid waste (trash) removal residential rate payers currently pay $15.90 a month. With the increase, they will pay $16 per month. For those in apartments and mobile home communities, which use dumpster receptacles, the rate goes from $85.70 per dumpster trash removal to $86.05 per dumpster.
Wastewater (sewer) rates currently stand at $11.95 for the first 10,000 gallons per home or per restroom for apartments or office buildings. Each additional 1,000 gallons cost 65 cents. Those rates will increase to $12 and 70 cents respectively.
In proceedings under the Woodward Municipal Authority, commissioners voted to move $12,528.64 of delinquent utility accounts into “bad debt” status so the delinquent accounts could be sent onto collections.