Roland passes ordinance

To lower utility rates for elders

Dan Drake, left, manager, and Kim Rider, assistant manager, recently celebrated 25 years with O’Reilly Auto Parts in Sallisaw. Drake and Rider are both from Sallisaw.

Roland town residents age 65 and over will be getting a discount soon on their utility rates after the Roland Town Board of Trustees approved an ordinance to amend utility rates at Tuesday's monthly meetings.

Monty Lenington, Roland town administrator, said the board will decide on details such as rates and guidelines to determine eligibility and discuss and approve the set rates and eligibility requirements at next month's meeting.

“We're hoping to get this started on July 1 which is when the new rates go into effect,” Lenington said. In addition to regular business, the item was the only one discussed and received action during the utility authority meeting, the first of three conducted by the board each month.

During the Roland Development Authority meeting,   the board was provided details on the progress of the gas utility authority which was established as the first step towards the town maintaining its own gas utility authority.

John Bolte with Small Arrow Engineering of Joplin, Mo., who has been providing monthly updates, said the work is ongoing to secure easements. Bolte said he has also been meeting with Cherokee Nation tribal officials to go over rate structures and secure an energy connection agreement with Enable Midstream which will be the main source of gas supply for the town once installation is completed.

Bolte said the next point of action will be to determine design details such as where to install gas pipelines and pinpoint what residents will be connecting to the new gas utility then to hire contractors to begin the pipe installation.

Following Bolte's progress report, Randy Wills, senior account executive for Ameresco, an energy services company also of Joplin, provided benefits of installing an automatic meter infrastructure for the town which would reduce the time and cost of having meters read manually. Wills said the  company installs a computerized system in place of the old method of reading meters and meters can be read in 15 minutes or less. “This also keeps them from having to reread the meters,” Wills said.

Wills said the system saves between 40 to 60 percent on electrical rates and also the cost of labor for reading meters.

“It would free the meter readers to make repairs and tend to other duties for the town. Using this system would make Roland a Smart Town. We have worked with many municipalities as far as Chicago to have meters read this way and it's for all utilities,” Wills said.

Although there were a few questions asked by the board, there was no action taken regarding the presentation.

After the Roland Development Authority meeting, board members approved some personnel related issues for the Roland Police Department which included hiring Kathy Fuller as part time dispatcher to take over duties of the full time dispatcher when needed. They approved her pay at $10.50 an hour. The board also approved hiring Gabriel Sopshire as a reserve officer.

They also approved a raise for Katherine Raney after  she completed nine weeks of  CLEET certification training.

Board members approved moving Jarrett Cannon from a junior firefighter to an active member. It was noted Cannon just recently completed 100 hours of classroom instruction to become an Emergency Medical Responder.

Business items approved included purchasing a 300 pound ice machine from Refrigerated Products for $3,492.50 with using the fire department's county tax account.

Sequoyah County Times

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