River Group Discusses Endowment to Fund Operations & Maintenance for Potential Low Water Dams
ARCHIVED PRESS RELEASE: Published 3-25-2015
Viewed as a Groundbreaking Approach to Proper Care
of Public Investments
The Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force held discussions at
its most recent meeting on the establishment of an endowment that
would serve to permanently fund the operations and maintenance of
any low water dams approved by voters.
"To our knowledge, this approach to funding the permanent cost
of maintenance at the outset is a first in Tulsa and is very unique
nationwide," said Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force Chairman
G.T. Bynum. "All too often, you see governments do a good job
of building new things with no idea how they will properly maintain
them. Our task force members feel very strongly that not be the
case with any low water dam proposal."
The Task Force discussed funding such an endowment by including
the cost to capitalize it in any proposal put before voters to
construct low water dams.
The endowment would be designed to generate enough funds for two
main purposes: daily dam operations, and a long-term maintenance
fund that would cover both routine maintenance and larger
"Tulsa can set an example of good stewardship in government,"
said Tulsa City Council Chairman Phil Lakin. "While most units of
government barely take care of today's needs, we Tulsans will not
only build the dams, but we will cover all future costs as well, so
future generations don't have to deal with our debts or
obligations. People expect this of other businesses and nonprofits,
and they should expect it of governments too."
The Task Force anticipates estimated costs for operations and
maintenance to be included in the report that will be presented by
its Engineering Working Group on April 30. Using these estimates,
the Task Force will then be able to develop an amount needed to
properly capitalize an endowment.
The Task Force will discuss potential governance issues related
to the management of a maintenance endowment at its meeting this
Thursday, March 26, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 411 of Tulsa City
The Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force is convened by the
Cities of Tulsa, Bixby, Jenks and Sand Springs, Tulsa County, and
the Creek Nation. It was created in 2013 for the purpose of
developing a proposal for the construction of low water dams in the
Arkansas River Corridor.