The Moore American

Local News

May 14, 2013

Rural water district still struggling

MOORE — The Cleveland County Rural Water Board is still wading through bureaucratic red tape, hoping to meet target deadlines required to keep some of the grants expected to fund the infrastructure and drilling costs of the new district.

It’s been a 12-year-long battle, and even with all of the work completed so far, it may not be enough.

Water district vice chair Richard Murnan and Chair Daryl Covey reported to county commissioners Monday at the Board of County Commissioners meeting.

BOCC Chair Rod Cleveland said he had a meeting Tuesday to talk to representatives of either or both Capital Assets, which has the water rights, and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, in hopes of getting a clearer picture of where the project stands.

At this time, Lexington prison facilities and the city of Lexington need water wells. The rural district hopes to drill on land owned by the Department of Corrections in the Lexington area. But Capital Assets is managing DOC property right now, leaving it unclear which entity needs to sign off on water rights and what red tape is involved.

“We’re incurring a lot of time and expense and that concerns me,” said Assistant District Attorney Jim Robertson, a civil attorney with District Attorney Greg Mashburn’s office. Robertson represents county officials in civil legal matters.

“We have a tentative purchase agreement,” Covey said.

But Covey wouldn’t name who he has spoken with in state government.

The rural water district also has to comply with requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, at least two attorneys are working on the purchase contracts, title opinions, easements and interface with state agencies trying to move the project forward.

Covey said there is precedent. The corrections facility at Quartz Mountain and a rural water district in Greer County have a very similar agreement to one Cleveland County Rural District 1 is seeking with DOC at Lexington. Quartz Mountain Rural Water Authority is the rural entity in that agreement.

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