By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A group of homeowners in rural Canadian County are working to secure financing for a new road improvement district.
Canadian County Commissioners have heard from six contractors interested in rebuilding two streets in the Piedmont Meadows addition in an unincorporated area off County Line Road south of Waterloo Road.
“It’s not that big of a project,” Canadian County District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader said. “The roads are pretty bad.”
The commissioners, at their Jan. 11th meeting, tabled indefinitely awarding a contract for the project.
The road contractors submitted bids to fix Callahan Way and Hudson Lane in Piedmont Meadows, an addition developed about 15 years ago. The bid prices were $225,043, $258,617, $275,446, $374,600, $374,959, and $449,610.
The low bidder wants the job but doesn’t want to finance the project, according to District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart.
The plan calls for about 42 Piedmont Meadows property owners to pay for the road improvements through an ad valorem assessment added to their millage.
County commissioners have worked with the Piedmont Meadows Homeowners Association (HOA) and engineering consultant Ron Cardwell to establish a road assessment district – the first of its kind in Canadian County. They’re following a seldom-utilized state law.
“We want this to come to fruition,” Commissioner Hader said. “Nobody knows exactly how to ‘tie the bow’ on it and make it happen.
“We’ve already said we’d award to the low bidder. The problem is, we haven’t figured the logistics of actually getting the financing completed.”
F&M Bank of Piedmont/Surrey Hills is interested in financing the project, he noted.
Commissioner Hader emphasized Canadian County does not have the funds to rebuild or maintain private roads, saying “we don’t have the resources to take care of the 900-1,000 miles of road we currently have.”
‘IT’S NOT PRETTY’
Piedmont Meadows’ existing roads are in poor shape and were “not built to any particular standard,” Hader added.
“The developer came in, peeled off the grass, leveled it, and laid two inches of asphalt with nothing to support it,” he said. “Over time, it’s just fallen apart.
“It’s not pretty.”
Commissioner Hader knows of one road assessment district in Oklahoma County, for a cul-de-sac in an industrial area off Interstate 35 and Waterloo Road. The road contractor agreed to finance that project.
“We’ve never done one here; I’m not sure any other county in the state has ever actually taken advantage of these statutes,” Hader said. “We’re all ‘feeling our way in the dark’.”
Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries, who is advising the county on the Piedmont Meadows’ road assessment arrangement, said “we’re carefully working through the process.”
The Piedmont Meadows HOA must have the financing worked out to proceed, he noted.
“We want a positive outcome that’s proper and legal,” Humphries told commissioners.