News Column

Official: Lone Chimney association members must live up to pledge

July 29, 2014

By Michelle Charles, Stillwater NewsPress, Okla.

July 29--STILLWATER, Okla. -- Cities and water districts that pledged to help Lone Chimney Water Association pay back a loan that covered the cost to build a pipeline connecting it to Stillwater's system are being asked to live up to that agreement.

Even if they aren't getting water from Lone Chimney.

Darrel Clark, chairman of the Lone Chimney Water Association Board of Trustees, said Noble County No. 2, the water district he represents is one of them.

At the Board's July 10 meeting, the trustees agreed to separate the charge for debt payment from the charge for water usage.

By separating them, entities that signed the $3.35 million loan agreement with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board but aren't on the Lone Chimney system can be billed for debt service only.

Noble County No. 2's share will be approximately $3,000 a month, Clark said.

The Board of Trustees previously had discussed enforcing minimum purchase provisions for entities that went off-line but ultimately decided against it.

"We've got to make enough to pay our bills," he said. "We're working under a temporary budget and will look at the budget every month. It's something we're trying."

Clark said Lone Chimney Water Association is set up like a cooperative and isn't designed to generate big profits.

Most cities and water districts it serves are members, not customers.

Clark said these are tough times and the extended drought has even affected ground water. Springs that used to keep the lake full through the winter months don't flow anymore and some landowners are finding their wells are drying up.

Recent rains filled ponds and didn't generate runoff.

Clark said he can only hope another hurricane comes inland and refills the lake like the last time Lone Chimney was in this situation.

"If I could tell you what the outcome's going to be, I'd be glad to," he said. "We're looking kind of sad, if you want to know the truth."


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Source: Stillwater NewsPress (OK)

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