Osage Nation and City of Pawhuska - A Unified Community

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Pawhuska, Ok. – October 16, 2019, the Osage Nation (ON) Managed Assets Director, Dante Halleck, and the newly elected Pawhuska City Manager, Dave Neely, sat down and had a closing discussion regarding the utility rates charged to the Osage Nation and Pawhuska Indian Village residents.  City Manager Neely, with acknowledged support of the City Council, resolved to dismiss the “out of town” classification. 
 
During a preceding meeting, ON Managed Assets, ON Strategic Planning, and ON Information Technologies Department met with the City of Pawhuska.  In an effort to respectfully consider the city’s best interest in any upcoming projects, the Osage Nation gave the city representatives a platform to express municipal requests.  It was at this time that Neely made it known that he intended to terminate the utility rate that the Osage Nation had always paid to the city as “out-of-towners.”  Tribal property has always been classified as not in city limits, therefore the charge has always been allocated to the Osage Nation and the Pawhuska Indian Village residents. 
 
During the meeting, other topics of discussion included broadband, water & wastewater projects, flood mitigation, and EAP (Emergency Action Plans).  As a result of the Smart Growth initiative in 2017, these meetings have been a continuous economic development and revitalization partnership effort between the City of Pawhuska and the Osage Nation to collaborate on projects that affect all citizens and visitors in Pawhuska. 
 
Neely recognizes the Osage Nation and residents of the Pawhuska Indian Village as “neighbors” and a key part of Pawhuska as a whole.  Starting November 1st, 2019, the Osage Nation and the residents of the Pawhuska Indian Village will pay the same rates for utilities as the rest of the community.  When asked about the decision, Neely stated, “It is time.  I want to have a great working relationship with the Osage Nation.  We need their support.”
 
Halleck commented on the neighborly approach, saying “By leveling the playing field, and taking the ‘Whole-Community’ approach, we will be able to optimize resources, funding opportunities, and ensure that the growth of the community is safe and sustainable for future generations.”
 
The Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear commented, “This is a welcome relief to the historically high utility rates charged to the residents of the Pawhuska Indian Village. We have developed a great working relationship with the City of Pawhuska and great things are ahead for this community. Pawhuska is the Capital of the Osage Nation.”
 
 
For more information about the Osage Nation, please visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/
 
For more information about the City of Pawhuska, please visit: https://www.pawhuska.org/

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