Okarche, Banner water districts awarded ARPA funds

Canadian County Commissioners finalize rural water distribution

Tommy Humphries

By Conrad Dudderar
Associate Editor

EL RENO – Two Canadian County rural water districts on Oct. 9 were awarded shares of Canadian County’s federal stimulus funding.

The Okarche Water District will receive $136,619 and the Banner Water Authority will receive $180,795 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting, voted 3-0 to approve their final ARPA fund distribution for rural water projects. They had $317,414 left in the rural water category.

Banner received $542,384 when county commissioners first awarded rural water funding at their Aug. 14th meeting. The Maple Water District also received $53,296.

Commissioners previously agreed to distribute $913,095 to these three rural water districts that applied for shares of Canadian County’s $28,806,702 million ARPA award.

At the Oct. 9th meeting, Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries told commissioners that the Banner Water District serves 823 meters while the Okarche Water District serves 55 meters.

Humphries administers Canadian County’s ARPA program.

On Aug. 14, commissioners approved 75% of Banner’s $723,179 funding request. They agreed Oct. 9 to approve the other 25%.

The Banner Water Authority is a Canadian County public trust. Its customers include the $20 million Canadian County Expo & Event Center at Jensen and Alfadale roads.

“There are more Canadian County residents under the Banner umbrella,” District 3 Commissioner Tracey Rider said.

Rider recommended “fully funding” Banner’s request with the additional $180,795 – which left $136,619 for Okarche.

“I like that approach,” said Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson, the District 2 commissioner.

District 1 Commissioner Tom Manske said this will benefit “more Canadian County citizens and we’re still helping out Okarche.”

The Okarche Water District – which serves customers in both Canadian and Kingfisher counties – had requested $250,00 for a 2-1/2-mile water line project.

The $136,619 awarded this week represents 54.7% of Okarche’s funding request.

“It may just be they that knock out a mile-and-a-half as opposed to the two-and-a-half miles,” Humphries said.

The Maple Water District request was fully funded Aug. 14.

ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package designed to speed up the country’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing recession.

Federal ARPA stimulus funds may be used to:

  • Restore lost revenues for any negative tax impact due to lower economic activity.
  • Upgrade and improve Internet broadband, water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Respond to the negative economic impacts and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to be prepared for any future pandemics.
  • Provide premium pay for essential employees who undertook required public health-related work during the pandemic.


This spring, Canadian County Commissioners approved ARPA fund distributions totaling just over $1 million in a second category – municipal water and sewer:

  • City of Mustang – $2,802,612
  • City of El Reno – $2,438,044
  • City of Yukon – $3,725,438
  • City of Piedmont – $1,040,536

Mustang received 78.7% of its requested amount, El Reno 69.7%, Yukon 85.6%, and Piedmont 74%.

Canadian County Commissioners also will distribute $913,095 in ARPA funds in a third category – community services.

Funding requests totaled $3,023,508 from five entities – Red Rock Behavioral Health ($1,699,775), Cardinal Point Family Justice Center ($454,265), SCARS-Second Chance and Re-entry Services ($336,000), ICAN-Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network ($33,468), and Boy Scouts Last Frontier Council ($500,000).

Canadian County Commissioners earlier obligated $16.6 million of its $28.8 million ARPA award:

  • $10 million for estimated “lost” Canadian County revenue, which may be used toward construction of a new county courthouse/administration building complex. A location has not been determined.
  • $6.2 million to the Canadian County Health Department. Some $6 million was spent to acquire property near SH-66 and Evans Road for a new clinic and offices.
  • $432,100 to the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office to administer the county’s ARPA funds over five years.