ENID, Oklahoma— Enid town commissioners on Tuesday approved a receipt for $5 million to cover storage costs to access Kaw Lake water for the town’s future pipeline.
The payment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the lake’s water, was the majority of the city’s $8 million claims that the Enid City Commission overwhelmingly approved at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Tonight is paying the bills, but it’s the culmination of years,” City Manager Jerald Gilbert said after the meeting.
The city estimated that it saved about $8 million to access water from the Arkansas River watershed for its long-planned pipeline project.
City staff expected to pay $13 million to USACE, but thanks to an amendment to a longstanding federal water resources bill, about $5 million was billed in March 2021.
Gilbert credited U.S. Senator James Inhofe, city military liaison Mike Cooper and former engineering director Chris Gdanski with securing the deal after years of behind-the-scenes work.
“We had to save that,” he said. “It’s 8 million (dollars) for the taxpayers.”
On Tuesday, commissioners also accepted all road crossing and floodplain permits necessary for the pipeline to cross county roads and floodplains in the three counties before Garfield County.
The permits included seven road crossings in Osage County, one floodplain and 10 road crossings in Kay County, and 15 road crossings and 10 floodplains in Noble County.
Those permits were previously approved by county commissioners, but needed city approval on Tuesday, Gilbert said.
The only permits for the Kaw Lake project still pending county-level approval are in Garfield County, he said.
The commission also accepted nominations to several city councils and committees on Tuesday, including three ward-based recommendations to the Kaw Lake Funding Oversight Committee.
The commissioners of each district recommend appointments. Ward 1 Commissioner Jerry Allen recommended current Rep. Wade Patterson, who chairs the Kaw Lake committee; Ward 3 Commissioner Keith Siragusa recommended new member Todd Linza; and Ward 5’s Rob Stallings recommended new member Brian Henson, Vice President of the Enid Henson Construction Company.