ONG franchise election March 2 in Yukon

City's voters will consider 25-year agreement, 2% fee

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By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

Voters will head to the polls next March for a citywide election on a proposal to grant a 25-year franchise to a City of Yukon utility provider.

The Yukon City Council, at its Dec. 15th meeting, set the Tuesday, March 2, 2021 special election for One Gas, Inc., acting through its Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) division.

Qualified electors living in Yukon’s corporate limits will be asked to approve a proposition granting the ONG franchise to give the utility company the right to “sell, transmit and distribute” natural gas in the City of Yukon.

If approved by voters, the proposal will give the gas company the right to “construct, maintain and operate a system of distribution, poles, wires, conduits, and other facilities and equipment in, upon, across, under and over the streets, alleys, public grounds and other places” in Yukon city limits.

Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby

The new franchise agreement – pending voter approval – will clarify ONG’s responsibilities in the City of Yukon, City Manager Jim Crosby explained.

It will not change rates, he noted.

The non-exclusive franchise will be for 25 years and the City of Yukon will be compensated through a 2% “royalty”, according to the special election proclamation.

This would allow ONG to collect 2% from residential, commercial and industrial bills and pass those funds along to the City of Yukon.

Ten Yukon polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 2 for the special ONG franchise election.

The special election had originally been set this April but was postponed due to COVID-19.

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JOINING THE LIST

All other major utility companies beside ONG already have franchise agreements with the City of Yukon.

ONG now operates in the City of Yukon under a gross receipts ordinance approved by the city council in 1942. This ordinance already allows ONG to collect 2% from its Yukon customers that is passed through to the City budget.

But the 1942 gross receipts ordinance doesn’t specify rules, requirements and standards of construction that ONG must follow or provide indemnification to the City of Yukon in case of an accident, Crosby said.

ONG has been in Oklahoma since 1906 and most of its communities charge a 3% franchise fee.

When ONG officials first approached the Yukon City Council about formally establishing a franchise, they asked for a 3% fee. The council agreed on 2%.

THIS AND THAT …

In other business at the Dec. 15th meeting, the Yukon City Council approved:

  • Paying $463,847.93 to Brewer Construction Oklahoma for a water line relocation between Highway 66 and Wagner Road for the State Highway 4 project. Yukon’s share is $157,773.59 and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s share is $306,074.34.
  • Bid specifications for a 2021 model, 46,000-pound water/sewer flushing truck, authorizing the City’s purchasing agent to advertise for bids. Bid opening will be Jan. 11.
  • Granting a permanent utility easement to Oklahoma Gas & Electric for underground electrical service to serve Yukon’s new outdoor ice-skating rink in Chisholm Trail Park.

    Skyview Elementary student Isabella Thomas reads her second-place essay in the Mayor’s Essay Contest during the Dec. 15th Yukon City Council meeting. Standing with Emma is Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)