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February 24, 2014

Ross details plans for next term

CHICKASHA —

Chickasha Mayor Hank Ross has had family connections in Chickasha for 100 years and he brought his family back to their Chickasha roots from Edmond about 12 years ago.

During his next term as mayor, Ross said he and the council plan to continue work to improve streets, begin a 30-year project to update the water system, and tear down dilapidated properties.

"One of the jokes I tell is, 'When I flush the toilets, I'm using the same system my grandfather did in 1912,'" he said.

Ross will begin his next term in March after running unopposed in the 2014 municipal elections.

"We're trying to create an opportunity to make [Chickasha] a place people want to raise a family," he said. "Chickasha is a real opportunity geographically--close to Oklahoma City and Norman."

A major problem that has stunted growth in Chickasha is a law from the '80s, which prevented city officials from raising water and utility rates to cover the cost of city operations, Ross said.

Chickasha reached a record of $1 million in sales tax revenue last December, but  the city is still running on a $200,000-$300,000 deficit for this year, according to Ross.

"The council has changed that [law] to put [revenue] toward infrastructure…for water and sewers," Ross said.

One of the biggest problems facing Chickasha is its water system from the '20s.

Ross and the council are working to replace the current water system within 30 years. Despite the out-of-date system, Fort Cobb Lake is a reliable water supply, so the city shouldn't have concerns with water shortage until 2060, Ross said.

"We're revitalizing Chickasha for the next 50 to 100 years," he said. "We're working on projects that bring quality of life to the town."

Ross said he would also like to be able to bring a community center and more retail to town, but water, sewer and infrastructure take priority.

He said he's happy to be able to serve as mayor while owning Ross Home Health Care.

"I would like to continue my political career on a broader level in the next two to four years," Ross said.

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