DURANT - Area residents are looking to brighten up the Durant community and the city council took a big step toward that with approval of a proposal for new LED lighting around town with Oklahoma LED.


The agreement comes at a cost of $337,000, with a $90,000 rebate coming from Oklahoma Gas & Electric.


Bryan County Emergency Management Director James Dalton stressed to the council that they are expecting a major return on their investment in the new lighting, tremendously decreasing the normal electric bill that ranges around $8,200 per month for the city-owned facilities where lights burn around the clock.


"The group surveyed lighting on all the buildings around the city for a couple-week period and we feel the energy savings would pay for the financing over a five-year period," Dalton said. "Interest rates are extremely low right now, so this is as good a time as any to get this loan. Based on the numbers we have, it will provide a 57 percent savings in energy cost over that five years.


"LED lights are almost maintenance free as well, so the long-term return on our investment should be very good."


According to Dalton, Oklahoma LED is the largest retrofit company in the state and currently has over 200 school districts statewide in its clientele. It will replace current bulbs with nine-watt LED bulbs, which will lower the wattage without losing any brightness and be at an 86 percent lower cost to operate.


The company utilizes a sophisticated software called Snap County, which is known for its accuracy. Oklahoma LED officials added that more than likely the rebate from OG&E would be even larger than the estimated $90,000.


"It’s not actually going to be costing us anything more currently than we are already spending now," Mayor Oden Grube told the council.


In other action, the council awarded financing for a bid from Vison Bank for the purchase of five new police patrol vehicles that will be fully equipped and ready to go.


Also, the current State of Emergency declaration in the city was extended until Oct. 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


A recommendation by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was approved to name the new disc golf course in honor of Craig Parker.


"This is a very noble and honorable gesture by the board," Councilman Jerry Tomlinson stated. "There is no question that he played a key part in getting that course with his time, effort and passion, and is definitely deserving of this honor."


The city recently received a grant from the Federal Aviation Agency to install a wind cone (commonly known as a wind sock) at the Eaker Field airport and it was approved by the council.


A sealed bid for $1,699,000 related to the Public Works Grant Award for wastewater treatment plant improvements was accepted from Wynn Construction Co., Inc.


Finally, several projects were approved to utilize reimbursement from the government’s Cares Forward funds.


According to City Manager John Dean, the big-ticket item includes $500,000 for an emergency supply and distribution warehouse, which will be a distribution point for southeast Oklahoma in the event of all types of emergencies.