Listen Live

Ponca City Board of Commissioners held regular session on Monday

Ponca City Board of Commissioners met in regular session on January 25.  Mayor Homer Nicholson called the meeting to order, which was followed by the pledge of allegiance.



Under the consent agenda, the City Commission voted to approve the minutes of the Ponca City Board of Commissioners regular session held on January 11, a resolution appropriating money for the payment of claims against the City of Ponca City, a resolution amending the operating budget of various funds for fiscal year 2020-21, and a resolution adopting the City of Ponca City Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Disease Relief Program Citizen Participation Plan.



Under the City Manager’s Report, City Manager Craig Stephenson provided information on various items.


Residential Ice Storm Tree Debris Only Collection is on-going and the Street Division is in section 13 and the Parks Division is in Section 14.  There are 21 sections in total and as of January City crews have removed 4,388.6 tons or 20,898 cubic yards of debris from the community.


Christmas Tree recycling mulch will be available beginning Thursday, January 28 until it is gone.  The Christmas Tree Recycling area is located across the street from the drop-off Recycling Center, located on West Prospect Avenue.  Citizens will need to bring their own shovels and storage containers to collect the mulch.


The City of Ponca City’s Residential Autumn Leaf Collection will end on February 5, 2021.

  • Loose leaves (non-containerized) WILL NOT be collected at this time due to the on-going Residential Ice Storm Debris Only Collection.
  • Bagged leaves, placed in the regular refuse collection area, will be collected free of charge. Bagged leaves will be picked up at the rate of 10 bags per pickup day.
  • Bagged leaves may be collected by special pick-up anytime of the year by calling Solid Waste at 580-767-0411.  Special pickups carry a minimum charge of $39.09.
  • Other options to consider for getting rid of leaves include safely using a lawnmower to mulch leaves into the yard or using leaves as backyard compost for next spring’s plantings. Do not place compost enclosures in the alley right-of-way, so alleyways are not blocked for utility access.

Even though Residential Autumn Leaf Collection ends February 5 and Residential Ice Storm Debris Only Collection continues, residents will still be able to have bagged leaves picked up at the rate of 10 bags per pick up day.


City Commission budget hearings with City Management and Department Heads are scheduled for April 19 and April 20.


The State Legislature will be taking up the possibility of allowing for virtual open meetings again, when they return to session in February.


The City Commission election for Seat No. 4 is Tuesday, February 9, and the candidates are Robert Bodick and Terron Liles.


A City Commission Work Session is scheduled for Monday, February 1, and it is anticipated that the City’s bond counsel and financial advisor will be in attendance.





CDBG-CV funding


Under new business, the Board of Commissioners voted to approve an application for the Community Development Block Grant Program to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for Coronavirus Response funding in the amount of $612,680 and execute a resolution in support of the application.


Rhonda Skrapke, Grant Administrator for the City of Ponca City advised the Mayor and Commissioners, “It is important to note that we are just at the application phase for this project.  The Grant Application is due to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce on February 1, 2021.  At this time there is no firm date of when or if any grant to the City of Ponca City will be awarded. We are optimistic about the potential funding; however, there is no guarantee that we will receive any funding through the CDBG-CV program.”


The City of Ponca City began meeting with various non-profit agencies in April of 2020, when City staff became aware of the possibility of CDBG-CV funding.  After discussing potential projects, it was clear that the largest public service needs in the community are utility assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, and food bank assistance.  The City of Ponca City has partnered with the NERA (New Emergency Resource Agency) to provide these public services.  NERA is one of only 12 official Food Resource Centers in Oklahoma and is certified by the Regional Food Bank for adopting and adhering to their high standards of service and product delivery.  They currently run a utilities assistance program as well as a rent/mortgage assistance program.  The availability of the CDBG-CV funds will allow NERA to increase their capacity of all public services by over 50% for the next two years.


A public hearing to assist in the development of this grant application was held on January 12.  These grant funds are intended to be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Coronavirus and cannot be used for any other purpose.  The funds are intended to benefit low and moderate income persons, and projects have been developed as a result of the guidelines set forth in the CDBG-CV Application Guidelines.


The first grant request of $300,000 is for rent and mortgage assistance.  The purpose of the Rent/Mortgage Assistance Program is to provide assistance to income eligible residents who reside within the City of Ponca City and are delinquent on their rent/mortgage accounts. Assistance will be provided to eligible applicants in the form of a grant in an amount not to exceed $1,500.00 per household per year to bring their account current.  This amount may be made in multiple monthly payments, but shall not exceed $1,500.00. All payments will be made directly to landlords and/or mortgage companies.


The second grant request of $200,000 is for utility assistance.  The purpose of the Utility Assistance Program is to provide assistance to income eligible utility customers of the City of Ponca City, as well as other utility providers, who are subject to a disconnect notice/or have been disconnected and need financial assistance to restore utility services, and keep/get their account active and in good standing. Assistance will be available in the form of a grant in the amount of $500.00 as a one-time payment to bring the account current. Applicants will be eligible for this assistance two times a year, if needed.


The third grant request of $78,000 is for the food bank.  This activity will assist income eligible applicants in the City of Ponca City who are in need of groceries to eliminate food insecurity.  NERA provides a food pantry in a familiar grocery-store setting allowing residents to select from a variety of eligible items they prefer. The food bank currently provides enough food for 3 meals per person, per day, for up to 14 days. With the funding from the CDBG-CV program, NERA will be able to increase by 50% the allowable groceries our residents are currently eligible to receive thus providing sufficient food for an entire 4 weeks.


The CDBG-CV Program allows Activity Delivery Costs of $34,680 or rather 6% of the total amount requested. These costs are allowable costs incurred for implementing and carrying out the eligible activities. Examples of eligible activity delivery costs include personnel costs, materials, office supplies, and other expenses required to implement and manage the projects.


The Board of Commissioners also voted to approve a resolution to affirm the City’s commitment to take all action within its power to facilitate the receipt of assistance of Community Development Block Grant-CV funds if the City of Ponca City is awarded a Community Development Block Grant-CV from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.



Prospect Avenue Project


The Board of Commissioners also voted to authorize the advertisement for bids for the street improvement project, Concrete Pavement Reconstruction, Prospect Avenue – 14th Street to 350 Feet West.


This project is for concrete pavement reconstruction of Prospect Avenue from Fourteenth Street to 350 feet west. The outside lanes, curbs and the newly constructed median are all in good condition and will not be included in this project. Only the westbound inside lane, eastbound inside lane and eastbound left turn lane will be repaired in this project.  These sections of the concrete pavement are deteriorating and have been exhibiting numerous surface failures that have been worsening over the past few years. The new pavement section will include an 8-inch dowel jointed HES (High Early Strength) concrete pavement over 8 inches of ODOT (Oklahoma Department of Transportation) Type A Aggregate base over a compacted base.  Advertisement will begin before the end of January with a bid opening scheduled for February 25, 2021. Construction will likely begin in April 2021. The project is funded through the City’s Street Sales Tax capital fund.


The most difficult aspect of this project will be phasing the road closures and detouring traffic. This is the busiest intersection in Ponca City and, as such, has garnered the full attention of City Engineer Jim Fairbanks and Traffic Engineering Manager Mike Lane to plan for traffic control. The close proximity of the 14th Street signalized intersection and the vehicle turning movements through this intersection as well as the adjacent businesses and parking lots make it challenging to phase the project and provide for a quick construction time frame.  Total estimated construction time for both phases of construction is 45 calendar days.  To encourage the contractor to expedite the completion of the project a $2,000 per day bonus/penalty clause will be included in the contract.


Staff’s conclusion is that it would be most appropriate to complete the project in two phases. The first phase would involve the closure of all of the westbound lanes (north side of the road) from the west side of 14th Street to a point 350 feet west. During phase one, eastbound traffic lanes will remain open to traffic and continue to move uninterrupted. A construction timeframe of 20 calendar days is estimated for completion of phase one. During phase one, traffic will be detoured north on 14th Street to Knight Avenue, then west to 5th Street and then south back to Prospect Avenue. The northbound left turn lane on 14th Street will be closed to traffic during phase one.


The second phase will not begin until after the completion of the phase one repairs and the reopening of the phase one area to traffic.  Phase two will close all of the eastbound lanes (south side of the road) from a point 350 feet west of 14th Street to the west side of 14th Street. During phase two, the westbound traffic lanes, will be open to traffic and will move uninterrupted. An estimated construction timeframe of 25 calendar days will be provided for the completion of phase two as it involves more concrete repair area than phase one. During phase two, eastbound traffic will be detoured north on 5th Street, then east on Knight Avenue, then south on 14th Street back to Prospect Avenue.



Third Street Project


The Board of Commissioners also voted to authorize the advertisement for bids for the street improvement project, Third Street South 100 Block East Side And Fourth Street North 100 Block West Side, Project No. SST 20-5.  Advertisement will begin before the end of January with a bid opening scheduled for February 18, 2021. Construction will likely begin in April 2021. Total estimated construction time for both pieces of sidewalk is 45 calendar days.  This project is funded through the City’s Street Sales Tax capital fund.


This project will replace deteriorated concrete and address ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) concerns in the downtown area.  The east side of Third Street, between Grand Avenue and Central Avenue, will be replaced and receive the stepped-curb treatment along most of its length, and making ADA-compliant crossings at the alley and two driveways. An ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp will be added to the business entrance on 3rd Street. On North 4th Street, the sidewalk from the alley entrance to the Cleveland Avenue intersection will be replaced. A stepped curb would result in dangerously shallow steps along this section, so a traditional 6-inch barrier curb will be used. The corner will be pushed into the intersection approximately 1.5 feet north and 2 feet east to accommodate ADA-compliant ramps across the intersection.



Ponca City Utility Authority


Under the Ponca City Utility Authority, the trustees voted to approve the Consent Agenda, which included the minutes of the Ponca City Utility Authority regular session held January 11, 2020, a resolution appropriating money for the payment of claims against the Ponca City Utility Authority, and authorizing the Chairman to submit the monthly operating statement to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.