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10/9/2013 9:01:00 PM
SUA Can't Agree On Formula
By Van Mitchell

Stillwater Mayor John Bartley wants to see a change in the formula that the Stillwater Utility Authority must follow when trying to borrow money to pay for city infrastructure needs.

But SUA board members couldn't come to an agreement on how to make that change Monday night during their regularly scheduled meeting. SUA members are also members of the Stillwater City Council.

Bartley says that formula which was included in a 1979 agreement that created the SUA states that the SUA can't borrow more than 10 percent of its annual revenue.

He says it The Oklahoma WONDERtorium, a Stillwater-based children's museum serving north central Oklahoma will celebrate its second successful year of operation throughout the month of October.

The museum offi cially opened on October 15, 2011, but the staff considers the whole month of October a chance to celebrate. The month kicks off on Friday, October 4th with "WONDER Jam," an afterhours musical event for the whole family.

An instrument The human body where children can play at being doctor and nurse is one of the WONDERtorium's most popular exhbits. Photo provided WONDERtorium celebrates two years petting zoo, interactive song singing, instrument making, giant keyboard and drum circle finale are included in the festivities from 6 to 8 p.m. Local Stillwater business, Kicker, is sponsoring "WONDER Jam."

Tuesday, October 15th through Friday, October 18th offers a number of family-friendly programs and events including "Tricked-Out Trucks" all week long! Fire trucks, trash trucks, construction equipment and even an ice cream truck will be on-site for children and grown-ups to explore.

Near Halloween on Friday, October 25th the WONDERtorium presents "Frankenstein Friday" - a FREE members-only event. Members are encouraged to come in their Halloween costumes and experience a night of activities and exhibits including flesh-eating beetles, deformed frogs, a costume contest and much more. is outdated and needs to be fixed.

"We had a proposed amendment to the trust agreement that created the Stillwater Utility Authority," Bartley said.

"The amendment that was being proposed did have to do with the ability to borrow money. The existing trust agreement states that the Utility Authority can't borrow more than 10 percent of its annual revenue unless you met one of three exceptions."

Bartley said those exceptions included if the SUA was refi nancing an existing debt; if a project was started and more money needed to be borrowed to pay for it and if the SUA had enough revenue to keep operating on a yearly basis.

The SUA yearly revenues are about $70 million meaning with a 10 percent cap the SUA couldn't issue municipal bonds for more than $7 million without a vote of the people.

Previously, the Stillwater City Council and the Stillwater Utilities Authority approved the SUA to study and move forward with plans to build a new electric generation station. Bartley said the SUA also is considering issuing bonds to pay for water transmission improvements in west Stillwater.

"If you didn't meet one of those exceptions and you wanted to exceed 10 percent you had to go a vote of the people," Bartley said. "The problem with the way it is worded is the formula is incongruent. For example if you have a salary of $50,000 you could never borrow more than $5,000. You couldn't buy a house and you would be hard pressed to buy a car under that rule."

Bartley said the 1979 agreement doesn't meet the needs of the SUA or the City of Stillwater especially with the water projects in the west side of town and a potential $70 million power generation station under consideration. "It has been part of the trust agreement since 1979," Bartley said. "In the last three or four years is the fi rst time it has come into play.

It has never been a question until now because the only money the Utility Authority was borrowing was to buy a garbage truck or that type of thing. The two major projects that are out there right now are projects that we never had to deal with before under this trust agreement."

Bartley said he was frustrated that this issue hasn't been addressed sooner and has instructed city staff to come up with alternative ideas on how to address the issue.

"Going forward I want to see a different alternative," Bartley said. "The formula that they have in there is not a standard formula. I think modernizing that formula is the proper way to go. This is not going to be kicked down the road.

This is going to be addressed by the SUA and city council or by a vote of the people."

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