The Edmond Sun

Local News

November 3, 2012

SQ 764 allows water board to issue bonds for infrastructure

EDMOND — State Question No. 764 creates the Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund; allows the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds, according to the ballot.

Any bonds issued by OWRB would provide a reserve fund for water resource and sewage treatment funding programs. This fund would only apply to bond payments and program obligations, according to the ballot.

Other funding sources would need to be used before the bonds could be issued.

State Sen. Brian Crain of Tulsa and state Rep. Phil Richardson of Minco, both Republicans, produced the measure.

 The general obligation bonds would not exceed $300 million with the passage of SQ 764. The Legislature would administer the funds.

“The $300 million in bonds would never be issued unless the OWRB went into default on indebtedness that we have,” said Joe Freeman, chief of the Financial Assistance Division of OWRB.

OWRB funds projects through selling bonds. The City of Edmond borrows from OWRB for waste water projects. The city would have a 10 percent reserve when borrowing through the OWRB state revenue loan program.

Theoretically, Edmond would have a reserve fund of about $100,000 if it borrowed $1 million through the loan program.

“If Edmond were to go into default on their loan — start missing payments — that would start hitting that reserve and that reserve would make the loan payments to us so that we never missed any payments,” Freeman said of paying the bonds.

The water board would begin paying bonds from its cash reserves of about $22 million, Freeman explained, in the case that a city such as Edmond had used all of the $100,000 loan in default. If a city had a $100 million loan, it would have a $10 million reserve.

If a city spent that $10 million and continued to go into default, it would become problematic for OWRB’s $22 million in cash, Freeman said. Insurance policies of $28.5 million could become depleted.

At that point the state would begin issue bonds not to exceed $300 million, Freeman said. Only if the borrower would go that far into debt would the state government issue bonds to cover the board’s payments, he said. A reserve fund is necessary when issuing bonds.

“I absolutely am against that one,” said state Sen. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie. “The state already has $2 billion worth of government debt and another $6 billion worth of business type activity debt. I don’t think we should be issuing any more debt, period.”

The Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan estimates that an investment of more than $80 billion will be needed for the state to expand and maintain water and wastewater infrastructure in the state for the next 50 years. The Water Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Reserve Fund would begin addressing those needs.

“Our problem is we’ve reached capacity,” Freeman said. “We cannot issue much additional debt to meet demand of borrowers throughout the state.”

The Credit Reserve Enhancement Fund would relieve the state from putting up cash reserves, Freeman said. Standard & Poor’s would then let OWRB issue 10-1, up to $3 billion to fund water and waste water projects throughout Oklahoma’s 77 counties.

“Since the water board has been lending since 1985, we have never got to where we hit our reserves,” Freeman said. “So the likelihood of those bonds ever being issued, statistically is zero.”

The State Chamber of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal League endorse SQ 764. Economic growth and the protection of available water resources is needed to ensure the delivery of and access to safe drinking water supplies, according to the Chamber.

“If Edmond were to go out and sell its own bonds for a water and waste water project, the interest rate potentially is going to be higher than what we were able to loan to Edmond,” Freeman said. “We have on our state revolving fund programs, AAA ratings from all three rating agencies, and actually Edmond would be borrowing below that, because we subsidize a portion of the interest of expense.”

Communities would potentially pay higher water and sewer bills if SQ 764 fails to pass on Nov. 6, he said.

State Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Edmond, said the Legislature needs to review who has ownership of water rights, especially when it comes to selling water to out-of-state interests such as Texas.

“We live in a semi arid to arid state. We need to look at how we process water and do so in a more efficient manner,” Moore said. “New technologies can do so in a more cost-effective manner.”

Water can be recovered instead of having to replace used water, Moore continued.

“There’s things we can do that are less expensive so why do bonds and create greater debt with something that’s old technology?” Moore said.

TO LEARN MORE about Oklahoma state questions, go to https://www.sos.ok.gov/gov/proposed_questions.aspx

1
Text Only
Local News
  • jc_OUChuck Spicer.jpg OU Medical Center expands with new ER

    OU Medical Center Edmond is expanding its services. A new freestanding OU Medical Center Emergency Department will be built at the Veranda Shopping Center, Lisa Wilson, CEO of OU Medical Center Edmond, announced Thursday.
    The emergency department will be located just outside the border of the City of Edmond at Northwest 150th Street and Western. Construction costs are estimated at $5.5 million.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nick and Karen 2.JPG Massey speaks to Summit Rotary

    Council member Nick Massey, standing here with Edmond Sun Publisher Karan Ediger, spoke to Summit Rotary Tuesday on the subject of the City’s electronic sign laws. Summit Rotary Club meets at 7 a.m. Tuesdays at Oklahoma Christian University, 2501 E. Memorial Drive. For more
    information about the club, call 405-CUEARLY.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keep these tips in mind for May gardening

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head into your May gardening routine. Keep ahead of the weeds. We are always happy for the rain, but wet ground can keep us out of the garden and that allows weeds to grow by leaps and bounds. Now is the time to guard tender plants such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers against sudden late frosts. During the first part of May you may be planting beans, early corn, okra and late potatoes. You also may be replacing tomato plants lost to late frosts. Finish setting out cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, beets, etc.
    Here are some things to do:

    April 24, 2014

  • Jurors hear evidence in mercy killing murder trial

    Testimony is underway in the trial of a Logan County man accused of murdering his wife by placing a plastic sack over her head and causing her to suffocate.
    On June 13, 2013, Logan County District Attorney Tom Lee filed a first-degree murder charge against Mark Schemm, 53, of Crescent, who told an OSBI agent in court records he killed Monica Schemm, his wife, because she asked him to kill her.

    April 24, 2014

  • Man faces civil suit in motorcycle fatality

    A local man awaiting disposition of a criminal charge stemming from the death of an Edmond motorcyclist now faces a civil suit, court records show.
    On Sept. 24, 2013, Edmond Police Officer Milo Box was dispatched on a call regarding a collision at the Santa Fe-Country Wood Lane intersection, according to the report filed by Box.
    Box stated Daniel Bricker, 54, of Deer Creek, was traveling northbound in the inside lane of Santa Fe while Erron Heise, 39, the motorcycle driver, was stopped and waiting to turn left onto Country Wood Lane.

    April 24, 2014

  • Sheriffs accuse state of ducking out on prisoner promises

    State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
    A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.
    “The sheriffs are now in a position where they have to make adjustments to their budgets,” he said.
    Sheriffs converged on the Capitol on Tuesday, filling the Senate gallery, in part to protest efforts to remove inmates from their custody. The change will cost the sheriffs — but save the state — millions each year.

    April 24, 2014

  • OK officials account for disaster spending

    Nearly a year after deadly tornadoes hit central Oklahoma, officials announced that they have spent close to $9.4 million in private donations on relief efforts.

    April 24, 2014

  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • N Front Door 3.jpg FBI seeks suspect in robbery of local bank

    Police and FBI agents are investigating the robbery of a local bank by a suspect wearing a fake mustache and goatee, a spokesman said.
    FBI Special Agent Martinus McConnell said the robbery occurred Tuesday morning at the Arvest Bank, 2025 Sonoma Park, Edmond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Grumpy Cat Not Impressed at "Idol" Is Shaquille O'Neal the World's Best Ex-Athlete? Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 2 BASE Jumpers Set World Record Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Penguins game Pineda: Put pine tar because he didn't want to hit anyone Beyonce on Her Biggest Influence Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Clerk catches on fire after man throws Molotov Cocktail into Brooklyn store Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India
Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results