Photo caption: The Fourth Osage Minerals Council meets in chambers on Jan. 15 on the Osage Nation Campus. CODY HAMMER/Osage News
Come March, the checks will be in the mail – and on time.
At the Osage Minerals Council’s Jan. 15 meeting, a representative for the Office of the Special Trustee said her office has everything squared away to prevent another round of late headright checks.
With the office implementing new accounting software in late 2019, third and fourth quarter payments were late for many shareholders, prompting a flurry of frustrated phone calls to both the Minerals Council and the OST call center in Albuquerque.
“We have everything we needed,” Fiduciary Trust Officer Janel Perry said. “I do not foresee any issues.
“I am watching diligently to make sure the checks are going out like they should.”
In the interim, shareholders who incurred late fees due to the tardy checks are asked to hang on to receipts, invoices or other forms of documentation to submit for reimbursement. Shareholders are also urged to contact the OST’s Pawhuska office if another check arrives late or other issues are still cropping up in connection with delayed headright payments.
Federal regulations prevent OST from doing automated payments ala Venmo or similar mobile applications. However, both Perry and members of the Osage Minerals Council made it clear that they want to work together moving forward.
“We want to work with you and get this straightened out,” Councilor Margo Gray said. “We need to find a way to streamline this if at all possible.”
In other business, OMC attorney Wilson Pipestem confirmed that his team has started working with Osage Nation Environmental Services to prepare comments on a draft environmental impact study on drilling operations within the county. On Jan. 10, the comment period deadline was pushed back from Jan. 22 to Feb. 21.
“We did get an extension from the federal government … that does provide some relief to get that work done,” he said. “It is an extensive document and there is a lot of work that needs to be done.”