City Commission meets in regular session
Mike Seals - June 16, 2021 10:19 pm
The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met in regular session on June 14, 2021. Mayor Homer Nicholson called the meeting to order, which was followed by the pledge of allegiance.
Under the Consent Agenda, the City Commission approved the minutes of the regular session held on May 24, 2021 and the work session held on June 7, 2021; a resolution appropriating the payment of claims; a resolution appointing members to various boards and commissions; a resolution amending the operating budget of various funds for Fiscal Year 2020-21; the final payment and change order to Do-U-Right Construction of Ponca City for the sidewalk improvements on Third Street, South 100 Block East Side, and Fourth Street, North 100 Block West Side; an agreement with Preferred Business Systems in the amount of $4,287.00 per month for managed print services and the termination of the existing agreement with Standley Systems; the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group’s Municipal Property Protection Plan for the policy period of July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022; and Commission Policy Statement 32 establishing rules and procedures for commercial broadband accounts.
City Manager’s Report
Under the City Manager’s Report, City Manager Craig Stephenson reported that PICK Transportation began June 14 in Ponca City. PICK Transportation is a mobility on demand, curb to curb service provided within 21 Oklahoma rural community city limits. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The cost is $3.00 for each one-way trip. The service area is basically within the city limits of Ponca City, including Lake Ponca Beach. Drivers are employees of the United Community Action Program/Cimarron Transit and follow the same preemployment testing requirements, training requirements and rules. The local Cimarron Transit fleet is being used for this project and the vehicles are ADA (American With Disabilities Act) compliant.
This is a 12-month pilot project. Cimarron Transit partnered with RouteMatch, Pelivan Transit, KI BOIS Transit, and JAMM Transit to apply for an Innovative Mobility Initiative Grant through the United States Department of Transportation with the goal of inclusive, affordable and spontaneous access to public transit for all. This project is supported by Federal Transportation Authority and Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Cimarron Transit is utilizing the UBER app. Riders will download the UBER app and select the PICK Transportation. The selections will indicate all available choices and the associated costs. Each ride will be a shared ride, using predictive technology, the app will direct the driver on the route where there will likely be other riders along the route. There is an integrated payment feature, in which riders will pay for the ride online. If the rider is unbanked, they can purchase an UBER gift card for this purpose. During the pilot period, there is a call center in which the rider can call 918-762-3041 ext. 181 to schedule the trip, if they are unbanked and do not have a smart phone or internet access.
Stephenson also reported that Wentz Pool will be closed to the public June 14-18, 2021 due to a camp rental. Normal hours of operation for Wentz Pool Open Swim is held from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The pool is closed on Monday for maintenance. Admission is $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children, age 12 and under. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
AMBUC Pool Open Swim is held from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The pool is closed on Wednesday for maintenance. Open Swim Admission is $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children, age 12 and under. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Senior/Adult Lap Swim is held from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Senior/Adult Lap Swim Admission is $1.00 for adults.
Individuals may purchase pool passes for AMBUC Pool and Wentz Pool from the Ponca City RecPlex. Pool Passes are 25 swims for $20.00. Active RecPlex memberships allows access to both Wentz and AMBUC Pool.
Under New Business, the City Commission approved an ordinance repealing the Senior Advisory Board. The original Senior Advisory Board was an eleven-member board established in 2005. The Senior Advisory Board was reduced to a nine-member board in 2007 to make it easier to obtain a quorum for meetings. The direction of the board changed in the summer of 2007, with the hiring of one full time and two part time staff members to work at the Senior Center. The Senior Advisory Board had difficulty recruiting interested volunteers to serve on its board. Terms for all the member of the Senior Advisory Board have been expired since 2017. The Senior Center is under the direction of the Parks and Recreation Department, which has a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Senior Center staff schedule the programming for the Senior Center, provide a monthly newsletter and calendar of events, as well as meals Monday through Friday for seniors in the community, thus eliminating the need for the Senior Advisory Board.
The City Commission also approved an ordinance amending broadband rates. The ordinance only changed the service level names, and there were no rate increases.
All non-commercial customers within the City limits pay a set monthly fee for broadband internet service based upon service maximum download bandwidths. This bandwidth is capped based on that service, except during interruptions in service and includes “Gold Broadband” which includes 50 Mbps download (25 Mbps upload) for $60.00 per month; “Platinum Broadband” which includes 100 Mbps download (50 Mbps upload) for $100.00 per month; and “Diamond Broadband” which includes 1000 Mbps download (500 Mbps upload) for $250.00 per month. Non-commercial service is intended for entertainment purposes only, no warranties (either expressed or implied) are made regarding any fitness for business purposes. Helpdesk assistance for non-commercial customers is available 24/7, but physical repairs are only made Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dynamic IP addresses are used for non-commercial service. And, non-commercial service cannot be shared outside of the physical address of the account (e.g. a single home, or a single business location).
Commercial customers include any building to which service is connected which is being used primarily for business purposes. These rates are based upon pre-fiber installation and business rates are charged in “units of service.” Each unit of service includes a single public static IP address for business use, and includes speeds of 30 Mbps guaranteed minimum symmetrical (upload and download) bandwidth, with a burst rate of 50 Mbps maximum symmetrical is $200.00 per month. Commercial Service includes many amenities not included in non-commercial service: no activation fee; static IP address(es); the ability to share the connection at multiple locations operated by the business, as long the business installs their own local area network; a Service Level Agreement that guarantees immediate repair and/or replacement of any failed system components; and the sharing of bandwidth between multiple devices within the business.
And, the City Commission approved a resolution of support for the expansion of AMTRAK Passenger Rail Service in Oklahoma and Kansas. AMTRAK has released the AMTRAK CONNECTS US plan to grow rail service across America. This 2035 VISION identifies expansion and enhancement of corridor routes that offer economically viable, frequent, reliable and sustainable passenger train service, and proposes adding 160 additional communities to the national rail network. AMTRAK currently has the national capabilities and expertise in place to operate these new routes, and has identified an extension of the Heartland Flyer as an economically viable train for a connection with the Southwest Chief at Newton, Kansas, that will improve the performance of the national network. Economic analysis from the Kansas University and Texas Transportation Institute has shown that an extension of the Heartland Flyer would have a positive return on investment and a positive impact on the Oklahoma economy at both the state and local levels. An extension of the Heartland Flyer between Oklahoma City and Newton would add the cities of Edmond, Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City, Arkansas City, Wichita and Newton to the schedule. The development of a Northern Flyer train between Fort Worth, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri would qualify as a second round trip frequency for the route.
Advance planning, study and development has already been accomplished. AMTRAK has proposed 100% funding for the capital costs required for new corridor development. Departments of Transportation in Kansas and Oklahoma require evidence of community commitment for passenger rail service improvements, and AMTRAK has stated the urgent need in Congressional offices of demonstrated community desire of federally funded passenger rail service to be included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. The Departments of Transportation of Kansas and Oklahoma are currently updating State Rail Plans. The Kansas Department of Transportation is updating a service development plan for passenger rail and developing a long-range transportation plan. The Kansas State Senate passed SR 1767 supporting a Heartland Flyer Extension, a Northern Flyer second frequency, and fully funded maintenance of the Southwest Chief in 2021. The Kansas State House of Representatives passed 6017 supporting a Heartland Flyer Extension, a Northern Flyer second frequency, and fully funded maintenance of the Southwest Chief in 2021. The Oklahoma State Senate and House of Representatives passed HCR 1003 supporting a Heartland Flyer Extension, a Northern Flyer second frequency, and fully funded maintenance of the Southwest Chief in 2021.
The City of Ponca City resolution endorses the inclusion of federal funding for the Extension of AMTRAK’s Heartland Flyer between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Newton, Kansas to be included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill; endorses federal funding for the AMTRAK Northern Flyer second frequency between Kansas City, Missouri and Fort Worth, Texas to be included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill; endorses federal funding for full maintenance of the Southwest Chief to be included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill; urges full Congressional funding and passage of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill that includes funding for AMTRAK’s Vision 2035; and urges the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to form a multi-state planning and development task force specifically for the build-out of this corridor.
An executive session was held for purposes of discussing negotiations with the International Association of Fire Fighters and the Fraternal Order of Police. No action was taken.
PONCA CITY UTILITY AUTHORITY
Under the PCUA (Ponca City Utility Authority) consent agenda, the PCUA Trustees approved the minutes of the PCUA regular session held on May 24, 2021; a resolution appropriating money for the payment of claims; an authorization to submit a monthly operating statement to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board; the Ponca City Broadband Utility Services Agreement and the Ponca City Broadband Contract for commercial services for commercial broadband accounts; and an agreement with Garver to provide bidding phase service, construction administration, and construction observation for the Water Treatment Plant Solids Handling Improvement Project in the not-to-exceed amount of $49,270.00.
The Ponca City Water Treatment Plant utilizes softening process with conventional rapid mixing, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and chlorine disinfection to produce drinking water that meets EPA Drinking Water Standards. The plant must have the ability to remove and dispose the residual byproducts related to the treatment of the raw water. Currently, City personnel land-apply lime sludge produced by the softening process. This sludge is very effective in its ability to neutralize soil acidity. Therefore, once the sludge is dried, licensed farmers are allowed to take the sludge for free to be used as an economic substitute on their crop land. This project is to construct a 170 ft. by 450 ft. asphalt pad to replace the makeshift drying area. The new pad will be used as a solids storage and holding area to allow for complete drying of lime sludge prior to land application. A new drainage system will also be installed to direct all runoff into the sanitary sewer.
Under PCUA new business, the PCUA Trustees approved a resolution creating the HIP 2.0 (Housing Incentive Program). In an effort to stimulate the construction and rehabilitation of housing units in Ponca City with the attendant electric and other utility use revenues benefiting the PCUA, as well as the positive economic development outcomes realized by the City and its residents, the PCUA Trustees amended the former housing incentive program to provide incentives to developers. This program supersedes and replaces the Affordable Housing Incentive Program first created in 2002, updated in 2007, and again in 2013 and 2014.
The resolution states that the PCUA shall annually appropriate a set aside in the amount of $300,000.00 for the sole and only purpose of providing financial incentives to qualified developers who construct new or rehabilitated housing units in accordance with HIP 2.0 provisions. The annual set aside may be increased, decreased, or terminated in the future by the PCUA Trustees as necessary to meet the continued purpose and intent of the program.
The HIP 2.0 program is available, on a first come basis, beginning July 1, 2021. In order to qualify for HIP 2.0, the development must be constructed on a lot or tract located exclusively within the corporate limits of the City of Ponca City. The demolition and replacement of dilapidated housing units or the rehabilitation of existing housing units does meet the purpose and intent of this program. Modular home or “tiny” home construction is encouraged for infill lots and shall otherwise be permitted, provided the housing units meet the International Residential Code 2018. If housing units are proposed to be rehabilitated, an inspection of the premises is required before a development agreement may be negotiated with the developer to insure the scope of work will bring the units into code compliance. The development must be pre-qualified for the HIP 2.0 prior to the issuance of a building or development permit.
The earmark on HIP 2.0 funds will be for a maximum of 12-months from the date the building or development permit is issued. In order to qualify for the rebate, the developer must complete the construction of the housing units or buildable lots within the prescribed 12-month period of time. The period of construction may be extended for larger scale projects, if the extension is agreed upon by both parties and executed as part of the development agreement prior to the commencement of the project. Waste management services (roll off containers) at the construction site must be provided exclusively by the PCUA and its Solid Waste Division. If the Solid Waste Division is unable to provide roll off containers, waste management services may be provided only by a local vendor. The construction of housing units in conjunction with any State or Federal tax credit or other grant program is not eligible for the HIP 2.0 unless specifically authorized by the PCUA. Non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity and CAP agencies are eligible to participate in the program
In order to qualify for HIP 2.0, the prospective developer must first complete an application provided by the Development Services Department. Upon review and approval of the application, it will then be forwarded to the PCUA for consideration. If set aside funds are available, the PCUA may approve, partially approve, or deny the application, depending upon the dollar amount requested and the funds that are available. Upon the execution of a Development Agreement, the PCUA will direct the Finance Director to set the funds aside until such time as the development is completed and a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued. Financial incentives will be paid by PCUA to a qualifying developer upon the submittal and approval of an application, the execution of a development agreement with PCUA, and the subsequent construction of the development. The incentives will be based upon the number of buildable lots created or the number of housing units constructed or rehabilitated on a per lot or per unit basis. The final dollar amount of the financial incentive will be negotiated prior to the execution of the development agreement and each development will be judged on its own merits, based upon local housing needs.