A previously approved loan for a project related to water upgrades that ultimately needed more funding, which Duncan Council members approved seeking last week, saw final approval from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) on Tuesday.

The loan funding — which appeared on the Nov. 9 Duncan City Council agenda for approval of an increase after viewing estimated project budgets — granted for the City of Duncan totaled $26,450,000 from the OWRB. According to city information, the first request totaled $16,200,000, financed by the Financial Assistance Program (FAP), and the second requested amount came in at $10,250,000 and was funded through the Oklahoma Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).

The funding approved for Duncan Public Utilities Authority (DPUA) in the first loan will go to “replace water lines throughout the system and for water treatment plan improvements” while the second loan’s funding will pay for “the installation of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system and to replace approximately 13,000 water meters and 9,600 electric meters with automatic readers.”

Nate Ellis, Public Finance Law Group, on Nov. 9, explained to council why the increase in funding was necessary.

“We approved this loan for the meter replacement back at the end of September when we did the other two water board loans,” he said. “Since then, based on the kind of estimated project budget, it’s been determined that you need to borrow about $10 and a quarter million as opposed to the $6.2 million that was initially approved. So this is just basically a re-approval of that for a higher dollar amount.”

The council approved it 4-0, sending to back to higher entities that approved it on Nov. 16.

“These loans would both move forward with closing probably second, third, fourth week of December,” Ellis said.

The loan for the new meters, according to documentation, will allow DPUA to “better monitor and bill for water and electricity used by its citizens, ultimately reducing the amount of water and energy consumed.” The same paperwork shows the project helps “meet Oklahoma’s Water for 2060 goals by focusing on water conservation through a reduction of unintended flows to the wastewater treatment plant and is recognized under Oklahoma’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan for improved energy efficiency, which helps reduce atmospheric deposition of mercury into nearby waterbodies.”

According to information from OWRB, Joe Freeman, chief of the OWRB’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the Authority’s customers will save a combined estimation of $3,719,800 over the life of the two loans compared to traditional financing. Paperwork shows the loans will be secured with a lien on the revenues of the Authority’s water, sewer, sanitation and electric systems and a one cent sales tax. A DPUA representative stated: “On behalf of the citizens of Duncan, we would like to express our appreciation to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. The Board’s loan programs have helped manage the costs to upgrade the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure. We would particularly like to thank the OWRB staff for their hard work and assistance.”

Ellis also updated on the Fire Station project and loan, which has gone out for bids. Ellis said the lowest so far came in 1.98% fixed rate, for 15 years, so “that’s moving forward.”

The next city council meeting for Duncan will take place at 5:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19. The meeting is a special meeting and will see a new council member named to the board for the vacant Ward 1 position.

Duncan Council convenes in the Council Chambers, located inside Duncan Police Department on 7th Street.

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