Claremore Daily Progress

March 13, 2012

Nowata/Rogers water district borrows $575K for projects

Staff Reports
Claremore Progress

OKLAHOMA CITY — A northeastern Oklahoma rural water district is borrowing more than half a million dollars from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to refinance three loans at a lower interest rate.

The OWRB approved a $575,000 loan to Nowata/Rogers Consolidated Rural Water District #1, state Sen. John Ford and state Rep. Steve Martin announced Tuesday.

J.D. Strong, executive director of the OWRB, said proceeds from the new loan will be used to pay off two loans secured in the early 1980s from the Rural Development arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, plus a 1998 Financial Assistance Program loan from the Water Resources Board.

One of the Rural Development loans financed new water lines, the other loan paid for construction of a water tower, and the OWRB loan underwrote construction of two pump stations and a water transmission line to Chelsea, state and local officials reported.

Nowata/Rogers Consolidated RWD#1 buys potable water from Chelsea and resells it to the district’s 576 water customers, district ledgers reflect.

Joe Freeman, chief of the Water Board’s Financial Assistance Division, said the new loan from the OWRB will command an interest rate significantly lower than the 5 percent interest rate on both Rural Development loans.

The 1998 FAP loan has an interest rate that’s currently only 1.17 percent, but it’s a variable rate that fluctuates depending upon prevailing market conditions, Freeman related. The new FAP loan will have a fixed interest rate, he said.

The OWRB was created in 1957 to manage, protect and improve Oklahoma’s water resources and plan for the state’s long-range water needs in a responsive, innovative and professional manner. Since 1983, the agency has extended more than $2.6 billion in loans and grants to improve and enhance the water and wastewater infrastructure needs of communities across Oklahoma. For more information, visit http://www.owrb.ok.gov/.