The Norman Transcript

January 1, 2013

Rural water well project advances

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Water solutions are under way for residents in Lexington, and Cleveland County commissioners met for the last time in 2012 without 22-year veteran commissioner George Skinner.

County commissioners Rod Cleveland and Rusty Sullivan bid good-bye to outgoing District 2 County Commissioner George Skinner who is retiring after 22 years of service. Skinner’s seat was vacant Monday morning at the County Commission Board meeting because of illness.

“We hope that he gets better and starts getting to enjoy his retirement,” said Commissioner Rod Cleveland.

“George (Skinner) has been a good friend and colleague and has brought a lot of leadership,” said Commissioner Rusty Sullivan.

Both said Skinner would be missed.

Commissioner-elect Darry Stacy will take the oath of office on Wednesday.

During regular business, Cleveland County Rural Water District Manger Richard Murnan reported to county commissioners on target dates for the ongoing water well project that will serve the city of Lexington and area Department of Corrections facilities.

If all goes as planned in accordance with USDA project guidelines, water should flow by April 2014.

Murnan said attorneys hired by the water district are working on purchase contracts and easements. The Water District Board continues to survey customer interest as well as working to secure the Community Development Block Grant funding that will pay for a 2-inch pipeline. Most of the funding will come from appropriations made available through the USDA.

“Our biggest expense since August has been the archaeological survey,” Murnan said.

The primary users will be the city of Lexington which will purchase at least 23 percent of its water supply from the rural water district and the Department of Corrections facilities in the area, namely the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center commonly known as LARC and the Joseph Harp Correctional Center. DOC has committed to purchase 12 percent of the 160 million gallons those facilities use annually from the rural water district.

The district water will come from three or four wells which will tap the Garber-Wellington aquifer at sites on DOC acreage near Lexington.

The city of Lexington currently buys water from Purcell. It uses 104 million gallons of water annually in a normal year and about 112 million gallons in a drought year.

Some private, non-commercial users will be members of the rural water district as well. When the project started around a decade ago, people could sign up for $600, Murnan said. Now the cost is $2,500.

In other county business, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office reported that there are 364 prisoners in the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center. Of those, 85 are Oklahoma Department of Corrections prisoners, 71 of which have received a judgment and sentencing and will ship out as soon as DOC takes them.

The county commissioners approved blanket purchase orders for the following:

· County Commissioners to Shawn Blackburn $600

· District 2 Warehouse to Hydradyne Hydraulics $1,000

· County Health Department to Norman Stamp & Seal Co. $200; Lowe’s Companies, Inc. $500

· County Election Board to Eureka Water Company $200

· County Sheriff’s office to O’Reilly Automotive $500

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