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By David Seeley
The Poteau Daily News
POTEAU – The Poteau Valley Improvement Authority approved keeping its three officers — Chairman Mick Lafevers, Vice-Chairman Joe Mode and Secretary-Treasurer Ron Pelanconi — during the PVIA April board meeting, which took place Tuesday night at the LeFlore County Court House.
The board also approved its committees’ members, but added newest board member Nick Grant to be on the PVIA Budget and Finance Committee. Also, it was addressed that a PVIA member needed to step into the shoes of the late Jim Fry, who passed away in January, as chairman or to at least be a part of the PVIA Building Committee. Fry had been the chairman of that committee.
However, since it’s not used as much, the decision was made to do away with the PVIA Public Relations Committee.
Upon Pelanconi’s recommendation, the board decided to table taking action on the PVIA Finance Committee’s report as well as approving water rates for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which will begin in July. That will be done at the May meeting.
In his report, PVIA Engineer David Wyatt said there will be a meeting slated for sometime this week to hire an environmentalist to do PVIA’s environmental assessments on the backwash ponds, with the cost for such an individual’s service ranging from $6,000 to $93,418.
“I asked (PVIA Manager) James (Morrison) to get some prices,” Wyatt said. “I can’t do it for what they’re quoting. We need to hire an environmentalist.”
Wyatt also shared with the board that he looked at a different brand of pump for the intake “that will fit in our slot.”
“I actually believe it’s a better pump than what we have,” Wyatt said. “It’s about $1,000 cheaper. I think we ought to try this new one, and it has a three-year warranty. Plus, the distributor is in Fort Smith (Ark.) instead of Oklahoma City.”
Morrison said that the pump being looked at only will take five weeks to be delivered.
In his manager’s report, Morrison said that one of the 20-inch lines between Poteau and Wister had a leak last week, that work on repairing the road to the intake has started and that work has been done with the City of Heavener to get them tied in on the north (water) tower.
Morrison also said that it would be a good idea that with frequent regularity that updated information on contact information of each PVIA district and water rates be submitted.
“The contacts may change operators and we don’t know,” Morrison said. “If there’s something that goes on in their system, and somebody calls us, we don’t know who to call. We would appreciate updated contacts every couple of years.”
Wyatt added that such information would be a wise idea to be done when the water requisitions are turned in each year.
Two of the three remaining district’s submitted their water requisitions for the 2022-23 fiscal year — Cameron was $12 million and Consolidated District No. 1 was $85 million. Keota’s information is still not been reported as of the end of the meeting.
While BioXDesign Representative Steve Patterson was not present for Tuesday night’s meeting, Lafevers gave the board an update on the watershed project. He said the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter basically asking for software and revisions. However, Morrison shared an e-mail letter from Patterson he received in which Patterson said, “Most of the requested revisions are relatively minor, but some will require a bit more work. The EPA also requested (the software) to be sent to them,” which it was found out were sent last week to EPA.
The letter went on to say that once this process was totally completed, that the next step would to be to have ODEQ (Oklahoma Department for Environmental Quality) to do what is necessary on its end. It was shared that Patterson’s cost to PVIA for these aforementioned services was $750.
The board approved the PVIA Financial Committee’s recommendation to pay the March claims.