(Cushing, Okla.)  At the regular monthly meeting of the Cushing Board of Commissioners held on Monday, the board voted unanimously to submit a second request to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to reduce the speed limit in the 2200 block of Main Street (Highway 33) to 35 miles per hour. The area near the Harmony Road intersection has become an increased concern for citizens over the past few years and even more so with the upcoming opening of the new Middle School.

City Manager Steve Spears told commissioners a request had been made of ODOT more than one year ago to lower the speed limit from 45 mph, but was turned down based on the lack of engineering data obtained from a speed study and accident severity history and rating.

Following a discussion regarding the speed limit change, commissioners voted on a resolution requesting ODOT to extend the 35 mpg speed limit to a point approximately 1000 feet east of the Harmony Road/Highway 33 intersection. Accompany the request will be two letters written in support of reducing the speed limit (one from Cushing Public Schools and another from Cushing Chamber of Commerce) and a traffic safety report by the Cushing Police Department. Spears said he has been in contact with the Division IV Traffic Engineer Bill Walton and informed him of the community’s interest in having the speed limit reduced before the new school opens in August. Walton agreed to try and move the request forward and has already requested a speed study.

Spears also said because the police report includes a fatality in the area in 2013 and 2014, along with a substantial increase in the number of accidents this year alone, it should increase the chance ODOT will agree to a speed limit reduction.

Spears said staff has been looking into ways to increase awareness, including the possibility of purchasing or renting a radar speed sign which are often used in construction or school zones as a way to slow cars down by making drivers aware of their speed.

In other business, commissioners voted to approve:

A resolution authorizing a purchase order to Missouri State Highway Patrol in the sum of $17,800 for a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe 2×4 police pursuit vehicle for the Cushing Police Department

A resolution authorizing a purchase order to Fleet Distributors Express in the sum of $11,491.11 to equip the Tahoe (see above)

A resolution appointing William W. Ahrberg as Municipal Judge of the City of Cushing for the term of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017

A resolution appointing Wade Shaw as Alternate Municipal Judge of the City of Cushing for the term of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017

A resolution approving the authorization a purchase order to St. Louis Quint Concepts, L.L.C. in the sum of $5600 for three days of firefighter Quint training and one day of mechanic maintenance training for the Cushing Fire Department

*A resolution authorizing repairs of damage to the runway at Cushing Regional Airport, declaring an emergency and waiving competitive bidding.

*A resolution authorizing a professional airport consulting services agreement with LBR Inc., for the emergency repair of thermal expansion failures on runway 18 – 36 at Cushing Municipal Airport.

*A resolution authorizing an interlocal government cooperative agreement with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission

*The above resolutions go hand in hand in order to expedite repairs to the runway at Cushing Municipal Airport.

The board also approved the appointment of three members to serve new three year terms and one member to fill an unexpired term on the Library Board. Those reappointed: Jaime Griffith, Sara Payne Keyes and Scott Haynes for new three year terms and Amy Cline to fill the unexpired term (through June 2017) of Barbara Colclasure who has moved out of town.

Four of the five commissioners voted to approve the application of Crown Energy to drill an oil and gas well inside the city limits. The lone “no” vote came from Trace Rowe. Meghan Crumpton, realtor and president of the Cushing Chamber of Commerce, questioned setting a precedence by allowing drilling in the city limits. City Attorney Stewart Arthurs and City Manager Spears pointed out that due to legislature passed earlier this year, rules on drilling will actually be less stringent once the law takes effect. (Click here to read: Senate Bill 809)

In general business for the Cushing Municipal Authority, a resolution authorizing the purchase order to J & R Equipment LLC in the sum of $12,739 for the purchase of Granitenet software, equipment, training and installation for the sewer maintenance department camera system. Spears explained this is needed in order to manage all the data collected during inspections of the sewer system.

In Cushing Industrial Authority business, a resolution was approved to amend the FY 2015-2016 budget to appropriate $4,284.83 from the unobligated fund balance and establish a transfer line item account for the same amount for the purpose of providing an economic incentive to promote housing in the City of Cushing.

Because of the lack of sufficient housing in Cushing, Spears suggested this “shovel ready” project was a good one to consider to get things moving. Commissioner Brent Thompson agreed, but asked if other/additional incentives could be looked at in the near future. Rowe was concerned of the precedence this might be setting, and therefore cast his vote as “no.”The resolution was approved with a vote of 4 -1.

Two upcoming city events:

Coffee with the City Manager, Monday, July 27, 2015 – 7:30 a.m., Backroom Cafe (inside the Copper Penny in downtown Cushing)

Cushing Conversations with Commissioners Brent Thompson and Don Amon, August 4, 2015 – 6:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church of Cushing. (corner of 9th and Little Ave)

For information and news updates from the City of Cushing, be sure to visit cityofcushing.com