(Cushing, Okla.)  Cushing Board of Commissioners approved unanimously resolutions calling for a special election to be held in February for voters to approve or disapprove two separate items – the purchase of a quint ladder truck for the Cushing Fire Department and the renovation of City Hall.

Cushing Fire Department is seeking to replace a 1960s model ladder truck that is basically inoperable. Fire Chief Chris Pixler said the truck proposed for purchase, a quint ladder truck, will serve several needs since it serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck and has five functions – pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.

“It’s basically a fire engine with a ladder on top,” Pixler explained.

He went on to say a quint will meet new ISO requirements which have changed since the purchase of the 1960s ladder truck in the 1980s.

Pixler noted with 69 multi-story buildings downtown, the Best Western Hotel and new construction of a hotel on East Main Street, a ladder truck is imperative – not only for fire compression, but rescue. A quint would go out on most emergency calls and be able to be used with less personnel.

Commissioner Don Amon raised the question as to whether or not the proposed amount of $550,000 for the purchase of a used (no more than 10 years old) and equipped quint ladder truck was enough.

“My concern is, if we go to vote in February, will we be able to find one for that price,” Amon asked, noting in a recent study session Pixler told commissioners the cost of a new quint could easily be in the $700,000 range.

City Manager Steve Spears assured Amon that if one can’t be found for that price, it will be brought back for another vote of the people.  Pixler said he felt it was a “good budget” to find one suitable.

The other issue going to a public vote is the renovation/refurbishing of City Hall. Chairman of the Board Joe Manning had a fact sheet distributed to commissioners and the media at Monday night’s meeting, explaining some of the reasons a renovation/refurbishing is needed.

“This is a 45 year old building,” Manning said. “”If you don’t take care of the building, you aren’t taking care of city property.”

Fact Sheet:

OBJECTIVE:  Refurbish Cushing City Hall

*45 years old

*Never been refurbished or renovated

*1969 energy efficiency=NONE

*Original heating/air conditioning system – Some offices hot, others cold

*Flat roof

*Virtually no insulation

FUNDING:  NO new taxes

*Funding established in 2009, when Cushing voters adopted .8% capital improvements sales tax by a 79% majority

REASON FOR VOTE:  City of Cushing’s Charter

*Cushing’s Charter requires a vote of the people when the City seeks to purchase or sell property in excess of $185,000

*This is an “authorization to begin” vote

ONE STOP:  More convenient for Cushing Citizens

*Consolidates Court Clerk, City Attorney and Code Enforcement into one administration building, eliminating citizens first coming to City Hall, then being directed to another building.

*Eliminates City offices, and city costs, in a non-city owned building

ADVANTAGES:  Proper upgrade of City Hall will significantly extend its life and reduce cost of operation

*Energy efficiency

      * Double pane glass with proper seals

           Current single pane without proper seals

*Energy efficient outside wall covering with insulation

*Pitched roof for proper draining and proper insulation

*Energy efficient lighting

*Energy efficient heating and air conditioning, with cost saving zoning

*Utilize now vacant former police and fire space

*Eliminate file storage needs at Gayley Building

COST:  The total needed to refurbish, make energy efficient and provide proper space for the Court Clerk, City Attorney, Code Enforcement and record storage is $2.2million

*This will be paid for through the existing .8% capital improvements sales tax

*NO additional taxes will be required

The election will be slated for February 10, 2015.

Comments from commissioners on renovation:

Commissioner Evert Rossiter recalled a check for asbestos in the building had been done in recent years and the finding was there isn’t any.

Commissioner Tommy Johnson said he felt the renovation of City Hall would be a “fabulous start” in improving the downtown.

Commissioner Brannon disagreed with Johnson, saying he believes they are two separate issues and should be addressed as such.

In other city business, commissioners approved requests from American Energy Woodford, LLC to drill and operate two more oil and gas wells in the SW/4 SE/4 of Section 3-17N-R4E of the Indian Meridian, Payne County.

Brannon once again made sure there have been no issues regarding any of the wells drilled so far, which according to Spears, there have not.

Chuck Crooks of CBEW reported the annual audit of the City of Cushing and its various municipal trust authorities “looked real good.” Crooks said he visited different departments and even went “deeper” into some areas and concluded everything looked “real clean.”

Commissioners also voted to approve a permit for Goldstar Land Services, LLC to conduct geophysical operations on property owned by the City and its municipal trust authorities, much of which includes the airport.

Spears described the procedure as a “wireless system” involving sensors along the ground and a “thumper” that uses soundwaves to determine the geology of the surface.

After approving three of the four requests involving the different city authorities, Commissioner Rossiter raised the question as to whether or not the “thumping” would have an adverse effect on homes such as his that have been damaged by recent earthquakes.

“I approved the others, but I had to ask,” Rossiter said.

Spears said he didn’t believe it would be an issue, but he would be happy to get a representative to address the question.

Brannon suggested Commissioner Amon do an interview with the representative and broadcast it the same way the city meetings are done on television.

Commissioners approved the request unanimously.

Spears said he would follow up on the suggestions.

Other approved agenda items:

A resolution to amend the FY 2014-2015 City of Cushing Grant Fund Budget to accomodate a grant in the amount of $4,000 from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Acknowledments of one expiring term on the Airport Advisory Board and two expiring terms on the Cushing Housing Authority.

A resolution authorizing a purchase order to McFarland Cascade for poles for the Electric Distribution Department with the total sum not to exceed $20,300.00.

A resolution authorizing a purchase order to T&R Electric in the sum of $49,500.00 for a remanufactured 3750 KVA Padmount transformer for the Electric Distribution Department. (This will serve as a back up since the one previously in stock had to be used due to an issue earlier in the year.)

A resolution to issue a purchase order to Altec Industries in the sum of up to $20,000.00 to refurbish the Electric Department’s Unit E-8 bucket truck. (According to Spears, this truck is “used all the time” and recently had a problem with its 8 year old hose. The purchase order total includes hose replacement as well as addressing other possible issues that warrant fixing.)

Acceptance of audits performed by CBEW for the City of Cushing and its municipal trust authorities.

The Cushing Board of Commissioners monthly meetings are held the third Monday of each month and are open to the public.