A new fee, designed to help city officials establish a capital improvement fund, will soon be found on the bills of Grove Municipal Service Authority customers.

The fee, approved during the Tuesday, July 18, Grove City Council meeting, replaces the existing surcharge on GMSA bills with a new monthly fee, designed to provide a funding source for ongoing infrastructure needs within the city.

The ordinance, approved unanimously, establishes a monthly fee for each utility to be collected for the capital improvement fund at $3.25 each for water, sewer and natural gas.

Customers, will be charged the flat fee for each utility service they use, rather than a fee based upon the amount of utilities sold to customers.

Sign ordinances

The council approved amending a policy, put into place in 2006 when the Oklahoma Department of Transportation contractors removed several off-premise signs and billboards along Highway 59, between Leisure Lane and Sail Boat Bridge.

The move, which came during the road widening project, was designed to rid the highway from multiple billboards and off-premise signs. At the time it was implemented, only people with businesses abutting the highway frontage were allowed to replace the signs.

Grove City Manager Bill Keefer said the request, to allow signage for off-premise businesses, came from Mark Dudley, owner of DoRight Automotive during the July 11 planning and zoning meeting.

Keefer said the planning and zoning commission approved the changes, which limits the placement of signs to be those “designed, constructed and installed by a professional sign company licensed to perform work in the city of Grove.”

Off-premise directional signs may be permitted only if other permitted signs located at the business is not visible from Highway 59 from both directions, a private drive accessing Highway 59 is not available and the business has a current City of Grove Occupational license.

An off-premise multiple business sign will be allowed if the signage meets the off-premise directional sign requirements and the multiple business are located on the same street within 500 feet of U.S. Highway 59.

Bill Miller, a former member of the planning and zoning commission, urged the council to use caution when changing the ordinances. He said the current rules were put into place in order to clean up the highway frontage.

Employee of the quarter

In other business, the council honored Debbie Bottoroff, assistant city manager, as the employee of the quarter.

Bottoroff has worked for the city of Grove for 13 years of her 25 year career in local government. She has twice served as interim city manager for the Grove community.

In making the presentation, Grove Mayor Ed Trumbull said Bottoroff is “a team player, who represented the city well and is always looking out for the best interests of Grove.”

Public works issues

The council voted to approve bids on asphaltic materials, limestone base rock, and other fill materials, as well as bids for gasoline and diesel fuel.

In making the recommendation, Grove Street Superintendent Jack Bowers, suggested the city accept Apac’s bid, as well as Longan, which allows Apac to serve as the primary vendor and Longan as the secondary source for materials.

For the hot mix asphalt, council members approved the bid from Apac-Central in Vinita for $40 and $43 per ton, while Longan Construction of Grove’s bid was for $48.50 and $51.50 per ton. Longan also bid $98.50 for cold mix asphalt.

Bower also recommended the city accept Kemp Stone’s bid for limestone base rock and other fill materials. The Fairland company bid $5.50 to $12 per ton, depending upon the type of material.

In a written recommendation, Dale Younger, vehicle maintenance supervisor, asked the council to accept Lakeland Petroleum’s bid for ethanol free unleaded gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel.

Lakeland’s bid was for the fuel to be at .05 cents per gallon over cost, subject to change based upon refinery prices. The Grove company does not charge delivery fees and includes checking the city’s tanks three times a week to ensure fuel is present as needed.

The council also approved a change order for the city’s Street Repair Project which allows for the repair and improvement to Industrial Road A.

The change order adds $104,804 to the project's total cost, which was included in an economic development agreement with Orizon Aero.

The scope of the work will include milling the existing surface, patching designated areas and applying a two-inch asphalt overlay. The improvement will run the length of the road from the intersection with Highway 10 at the south end to the north end where it comes to a dead end.

Other business

The council approved a request made by Grove Fire Chief Mike Reed, to require gated communities served by the department to install an Emergency Vehicle Detector System, which activates - and opens the gates - if an emergency siren is sounded.

The request also requires all public buildings including commercial and industrial buildings, as well as schools and apartment complexes, to install a High Security Key Box, which allows emergency personnel quicker access to a building without causing destruction - such as breaking a glass window or door.