City Beat
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August 10, 2021
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News & Updates
New construction hits $24M over last year
1,037 City building permits issued through July of this year
The first seven months of 2021 is shaping up to be a good year for new construction in Bartlesville, with the City of Bartlesville issuing permits totaling about $24 million over the valuation of the entire 12-month period of 2020, Community Development Director Lisa Beeman said this week.

"Construction was slow in 2020, likely due to the COVID pandemic," Beeman said. "But when we look at all of 2020 compared to year to date 2021, our construction activity in the first seven months of this year is already $24 million higher in terms of valuation than all of last year. That is because of new commercial and new residential construction, with even more new residential construction expected to come in soon."

Beeman said that through the end of July, new residential construction permits show an average of 3,000 square foot homes with an average valuation of $285,000. She said permits have been issued for six new commercial projects and 18 new single family residential projects. Overall, 1,037 permits have been issued through July — compared to 1,597 in 2020.

"So, building activity is looking good. Our inspectors are staying very busy with the necessary inspections and trying to get these projects built and occupied as soon as possible."

Photo courtesy Vel Chuklanov, Unsplash
Sales tax up 10.3 percent over last August
Shop local
Sales tax revenue for August is up 10.3 percent compared to the same period last year, CFO/City Clerk Jason Muninger said Monday.

"Our August deposit was $1,911,343, compared to $1,732,491 for August 2020," Muninger said.

Muninger said the upward trend is likely due to increased local shopping and the issuance of federal and tribal stimulus funds.

"It's impossible to say exactly why our sales tax revenue has been consistently higher compared to the same periods last year, but the increases do coincide with the issuance of stimulus funds by the federal government as well as the Cherokee Nation," he said. "Bartlesville residents shopping locally has almost certainly had a big impact as well, a trend that we hope will continue well after the pandemic is no longer an issue."

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Contract talks continue between City, IAFF

Meetings between negotiators representing the City of Bartlesville and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 200 resumed last week, and City officials say they are hopeful an agreement will be reached before the matter reaches arbitration.

"Negotiators for the groups met on August 5 to resume negotiations that will hopefully result in a 2021-22 Fiscal Year contract between the City and the IAFF Local 200," said City Manager Mike Bailey. "The meeting went well, with both groups moving a little closer toward an agreement. We’re still pretty far apart, but we are certainly closer than we were two weeks ago. We remain optimistic that this will be resolved and not require arbitration proceedings, and I believe I speak for both sides in saying that."

The City is required to negotiate annual contracts with the IAFF Local 200, which represents firefighters, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 117, which represents Bartlesville police officers. While an agreement has been reached with the FOP for a 2021-22 Fiscal Year contract, negotiations for a new contract with the IAFF had stalled.

Following several weeks with no response to the City's last offer, City Attorney Jess Kane recently began steps to have the matter decided through arbitration. Arbitration is an adversarial procedure resembling a legal hearing in which both sides present their case to an arbitrator, who is appointed by both sides. If an agreement isn't reached by the time of arbitration, the arbitrator will render a finding in favor of either the City's or the union's "last, best offer." If the ruling is in favor of the union, the City has the option of asking Bartlesville voters to decide the final outcome.

Arbitration is set for Oct. 25-26. City and IAFF negotiators are set to meet again on Aug. 24.
School zone enforcement starts this week
School zones strictly enforced: No tolerance, no exceptions
Local schools will resume classes this week and Bartlesville Police Chief Tracy Roles has a message for drivers: Beginning Thursday, there will be zero tolerance for traffic violations in or near school zones.

"There won't be any exceptions," Roles said. "Anyone who a commits traffic violation in or near a school zone will be cited accordingly. This is a 'no tolerance' policy."

Drivers should take care to avoid the following violations, Roles said:

  • Speeding in a school zone
  • Not stopping for a school bus
  • Failing to stop and/or yield from all school parking lots
  • Running or not coming to a complete stop at stops signs in neighborhoods near the schools
  • Excessive acceleration from stop and yield signs
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving in a manner not reasonable and proper

"We understand it's an adjustment — we're all get used to not having to worry about school zones during the summer months," Roles said. "But it's important that we all slow down and keep our students' safety, as well as the safety of teachers and parents, top of mind as they begin their new school year."
Pools closed; splash pads open until weather changes

Frontier and Sooner swimming pools are closed for the season, but the splash pads in Sooner and Johnstone parks will remain open until the weather turns colder, Public Works Director Keith Henry said Monday. The City-owned swimming pools, which are operated by the Richard Kane YMCA, closed Sunday.

"We'll keep the splash pads up and running until it's no longer appropriate due to weather changes," Henry said.
Caney River Pump Station work to start soon
Pump replacement, exterior work planned for original station
Renovation of the Caney River Pump Station is set to get underway this fall — bringing the City's long-awaited Water Reuse System one step closer to completion, Water Utilities Director Terry Lauritsen said this week.

In addition to obtaining additional water rights at Copan Lake, water reuse is one of the long-range measures the City is taking to help ensure potable water availability for the next 100 years.

Water for 2060 law

Water reuse is made possible through the Oklahoma "Water for 2060" law, the goal of which is to consume no more fresh water in the year 2060 than was consumed statewide in the year 2012, while continuing to grow the population and economy of Oklahoma.

"The way to achieve this goal is through utilizing existing water supplies more efficiently and expanding the use of alternatives such as water reuse and other non-potable water supplies," said Lauritsen, noting that El Paso, Las Vegas and Phoenix have implemented reuse systems with good results.

"The law instructs the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the regulatory arm of the State, to develop regulations and encourage water reuse, which allows cities opportunities for wastewater to be recycled and retreated for its public water supply. It allows the two systems to work together in a more cost effective, efficient and sustainable way that wasn’t possible before."

How it works

The system will require the construction/installation of infrastructure that will consist of a pump station at the wastewater treatment plant and an underground pipeline transporting the water to the Caney River just south of the County Road West 1500 bridge.

"This will allow the City to utilize treated wastewater to augment the yield of the Caney River during periods of drought, which serves as one of the City’s main water sources," Lauritsen said. "We will pump treated wastewater upstream (of the) Caney River and allow it to blend with existing river water, then send it to the water treatment plant for further treatment and, from there, to our water customers."

Part of the reuse project includes renovation of the Caney River Pump Station, the City's original pump station, which is located in Johnstone Park.

How much it costs

A $1.2 million project, the renovation involves replacing all pumps at the station as well as exterior repairs. Contract company Crossland Construction will start work on the renovation in September or October, depending on administrative aspects of the project, Lauritsen said.

The entire reuse system is expected to cost around $8.2 million, which will be funded partially through grant funding but primarily with Water Capital Investment Fees. Implementation of the entire system is targeted for completion late next year.

Did you know?

The City of Bartlesville supplies water to Bartlesville residents as well as the cities of Dewey, Ramona and Ochelata and several rural water districts.

Average annual water use for the area is 5-6 millions of gallons of water per day (mgd), with usage spiking as high as 12 mgd during the summer months, and dipping to 3-4 mgd during the winter.

Studies show that water reuse could extend available water supply by 4 mgd, which will help meet estimated future water demands of 7.1 mgd by 2035 and 8.4 mgd by 2055, based on a projected 2055 Washington County population of 63,000.
Work on Tuxedo underway

City Street Department crews are replacing the damaged concrete joints on Tuxedo Boulevard east of Cherokee Avenue. Traffic is reduced to one lane in each direction for the duration of the project. Crews have completed the work on the westbound lanes and are set to begin work in the eastbound lanes. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the first week in September, weather permitting.
Director's Cut
It's official: Scooter programs a hit with riders
Riders use Bird, Lime scooters for recreation, transportation
In December 2020, Lime Scooters launched a program in Bartlesville that made electric scooters accessible to residents and visitors for recreation and local transportation purposes. Bird Rides followed shortly, with its program becoming active in February. Since then, nearly 2,500 rides have been taken on the scooters. Community Development Director Lisa Beeman shares the details in this week's Director's Cut.

City Beat: You recently issued a report to the City Transportation Committee, which consist mostly of citizen volunteers as well as two City Council members, about the status of the electric scooter programs in Bartlesville. Can you give us rider usage details from your report?

Beeman: Reports from both companies indicate ridership has been consistently high in Bartlesville — with the exception of February, which, as you'll recall, was extremely cold and weather prohibitive. So, with the exception of an extremely cold February, ridership of electric scooters in Bartlesville has averaged 2,459 rides per month, or 79 rides per day, and 3,249 miles per month, or 104.8 miles per day, for both recreation and transportation use. In total, riders have taken 15,149 trips and covered 19,894.22 miles on electric scooters in Bartlesville.

Are those numbers consistent with what Bird Rides and Lime Scooters expected in our community?

Representatives of both Lime and Bird have said they are happy with the current operation of their programs and plan to continue to offer this service to the public.

Are people using them recreationally or for transportation?

Preliminary reports indicate people are using them for both. I have asked each company for the breakdown of the data collected to provide an overview of the average trips by day and time of the week, as well as more detailed information on routes, origins and destinations to the extent that can be summarized by each company.

Are the scooters being used exclusively downtown? That seems to be where they are seen the most frequently.

Based upon ridership mapping, the greatest use of electric scooters is located in the downtown central business district and the surrounding area. But they are used in other parts of the city as well, and we know riders are utilizing the Pathfinder Parkway trail system to connect with other areas of town.

Who picks the scooters up each day and where are they taken?

Bird and Lime each have contract employees who retrieve the scooters. After being recharged each night (as needed), the scooters are placed each morning in locations based upon an analysis of ridership demand and usage. They City doesn't have any involvement beyond allowing the companies to operate their programs here.

Have there been any complaints or problems with the scooters?

According to the Police Department, there have been no major issues — no accidents, injuries or citations regarding the use of electric scooters in our city. Early in the program, we did receive two complaints from people about riding electric scooters on downtown sidewalks, but the riders were unidentified. As a result of those complaints, the police were instructed to stop people who are riding on downtown sidewalks and issue warnings.

How much do these programs cost the City?

Both programs are free to taxpayers. In fact, Bird and Lime pay the City $200 per month to use our right of ways, so we actually make money from the programs.

The following summarizes the ridership data since the inception of the service on December 18, 2020 through the end of June 2021.
Out & About
Salsa North of Tulsa

Bartlesville got its groove on Friday at the "Salsa North of Tulsa" event held at Unity Square, 300 S.E. Adams Blvd. The event, part of the 2021 Sizzlin' Summer Series sponsored by the Bartlesville Community Center, featured free salsa dance lessons, music by Zodiac and Latin cuisine. Unity Square is maintained and operated by the BCC, which also handles programming for the park, and the Price Tower.

Photo by Michael Wray
OCH set for September 18

Operation Clean House will be held this year on Sept. 18. Items will be accepted between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at two drop-off locations:

Phillips Parking lot

Located on Adams Boulevard just west of the railroad tracks

Items accepted at this location include electronics and hazardous household waste such as cleaners, yard care products, oil- and aerosol-based paints, pharmaceuticals and fluorescent bulbs.

Washington County District 2 barn

Located on Ninth Street in Dewey, 2 miles east of U.S. Highway 75

Items accepted at this location include motor oil, antifreeze, automotive batteries, tires and appliances.

For more information about the event, contact the Washington County Commissioners at 918.534.1170 or email
COVID relief funds available

If you need help with rent or utility costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, call Concern at 918.214.8945 to apply for COVID relief funds.

To qualify for rent assistance:

  • You must be a Bartlesville resident.
  • You must be renting your home.
  • You must be requesting assistance for bills dated no earlier than Jan. 21, 2020.
  • You must have a total household income in the low to moderate range, per HUD guidelines.
  • Your inability to pay rent must have been due to COVID-19.
  • You must not claim the same assistance from any other source.

To qualify for utility assistance:

  • You must be a Bartlesville resident.
  • You must be requesting assistance for bills dated no earlier than Jan. 21, 2020.
  • You must have a total household income in the low to moderate range, per HUD guidelines (see below).
  • Your inability to pay utilities must have been due to COVID-19.
  • You must not claim the same assistance from any other source.
Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer Opportunities.jpg
Board, Committee & Commission Openings

The City of Bartlesville has numerous boards, committees and commissions that are driven by citizen volunteers. All citizens are encouraged and welcome to apply.

Board applications are located online and in the city manager’s office, located on the second floor of City Hall, 401 S. Johnstone Ave. Applications are kept on file for two years. To view a complete list, see Boards, Committees & Commissions.

The City currently has the following committee/board openings:

  • Two openings on the Ambulance Commission
  • One opening on the Construction and Fire Code Appeals Board
  • Three openings on the White Rose Cemetery Board

For more information, visit the City's website,
Help Wanted
Job Listing

The City of Bartlesville is currently accepting applications for the following positions:

Construction Crew Leader - Water Department
Fiscal Technician - Accounting & Finance
Summer help - Parks
Building Inspector - Community Development
Maintenance Worker - Street Department
Police Dispatcher - Police Department

For an application or more information, visit the City's website,
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Kelli Williams, Editor
401 S. Johnstone Ave.
Bartlesville, OK 74003