Locust Grove, Oklahoma — Locust Grove Town Council met Monday evening.
There was an unscheduled public appearance by a woman who asked not to be identified. She was protesting a red light traffic ticket she received on Broadway Street. She wanted the council to fire the entire police department and to reimburse her for the traffic ticket. The council took no action.
Locust Grove Fire Department had 88 runs in July and worked 503 man hours. Two firefighters are in training. Four fighters attended a Hazmat awareness course.
The police department made 30 arrests in July. Seventeen of the people arrested were not residents of Locust Grove. Police wrote 88 citations, gave 212 verbal warnings on traffic stops, 16 vehicles were towed and eight animal pickups were made. Reserve officers worked 87 hours.
The Street and Alley Department repaired 12 streets. Residents Ronnie and Becky Rogers talked to the council about a fee for a fire run. They had a fire last year and Locust Grove’s department responded. The Rogers had not paid the $50 dues to the fire department, so they received a bill for $750. State Farm Insurance paid $500 to recover the loss. The Rogers asked the council to accept the $500 check and said they would pay the $50. The town council agreed.
The council approved suspension of the town meeting and went to the Public Works Authority Meeting. The PWA sold 5.1 million gallons of water in July, with a 52 percent loss. This is down from a 70 percent loss last month. This news pleased Mayor Terry Cooper. The PWA fixed three leaks and replaced two meters. They cleaned the water tower on the edge of town. There was anywhere from three feet to 18 inches of sludge in the water tower, which was removed along with a beer can and some rocks.
The PWA approved a schedule for the water line replacement. Carson Leblanc, an engineer with the Cherokee Nation, said the council needed to approve a schedule for line, connecting to Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority. The Cherokee Nation will determine the amount it will contribute to the water line construction at the first of October when the new budget is presented.
Mary Elizabeth Mach of Garver Engineering said a 30 percent water loss is acceptable. The PWA must lower the water loss to that level or lower.
After much discussion, the PWA tabled approving a contract for wells for customers who live on 570 Road and experience consistent low water pressure. The PWA would like to hear from the residents before a new contract is made. The PWA approved having Vice Mayor Health Holman talk to the residents.
The PWA approved paying Filtration Specialists, Inc. $10,594.34 for repairs to the water treatment plant which will still have to be used until a new water line to OOWA is connected.
The PWA approved the final invoice to Garver Engineering for $1,212.00 for the waste water treatment plant.
The PWA approved two invoices to Water Products. One for $3,880.43 and $3,664.78. One invoice was for parts the other for water meters.
The PWA approved an invoice to Pryor Rental for $2,340 for use of a track hoe.
Community Care was chosen as the health insurance provider over Blue Cross and Blue Shield for PWA employees, not to exceed $300 per employee a month. Blue Cross is $290.65 per employee a month and increasing. Community Care is $280 a month.
The PWA approved a blanket purchase order, not to exceed $600, to Advanced Communications. This is for communication devices between the water tower and pumps.
PWA employee Christopher Studebaker received a $1 per hour raise from $11.20 to $12.20. Studebaker was hired in 2010.
PWA employee Leah Hurry received a $1 per hour raise from $12 an hour to $13. Hurry has worked for the PWA for four years.
The PWA took no action on sending Hurry to an Oklahoma Municipal League conference in Oklahoma City in September.
The PWA voted to adjourn and went back to the town meeting.
The council accepted an insurance premium from the Burrows Insurance Agency in Claremore for insuring the fire department’s equipment, including trucks, in the amount of $13,487.00.
The council tabled action on a 90-day review of town employee Elizabeth Henson.
The council terminated Neva Flood in the call dispatch center, after two extensions and a 90-day review.
The council approved hiring Lloyd Dale Phillips at $9 per hour with a 30-day review. Ray Vaughn, of the fire department, expressed reservations he has about hiring Phillips.
The council approved renewing the support agreement with Jayhawk Software for $500. This is for the court clerk computers.
The council tabled a motion to purchase two portable intoxilizers for the police department for $320 each. They are not recognized by the state as a certified testing device. Zeb Rone with the police department said intoxilizers are useful to check for public intoxication, which helps prevent driving under the influence cases.
Town attorney Tammy Ward asked if the police department is on board with probable cause procedures. “Yeah, I think we are on board with that,” Officer Zeb Rone said.
There were three agenda items regarding a sales tax extension. The council approved Ordinance Part Seven, Finance and Taxation, Chapter 2, Sales Tax, section 7-208 and Section 7-207 to make the sales tax extension effective Jan. 1, 2013 should voters approve it in November. The council approved an emergency clause to get the proposed sales tax extension sent to the election board so that it will be on the November ballot rather than wait 30 days before submission to the election board. The council approved submitting it to the voters of Locust Grove for the November ballot. The sales tax extension (amounting to one percent) would be used for Public Safety, Street and Alley, and the General Fund. Ray Vaughn of the fire department asked if he could campaign for the sales tax extension. Ward said he could tell people why it should pass as a private citizen. Should the extension not be approved by voters, the town sales tax will go to three percent instead of four.
The council approved a blanket purchase order for Gillick Automotive for $500 for town vehicles.
The council approved a blanket purchase order for Gall’s store for police uniforms not to exceed $250 a month.
The council approved a $2,000 per month blanket purchase order from Tri-State Asphalt for street repairs.
The council approved raising the monthly blanket purchase order from Robert’s Automotive from $100 a month to $250 a month.
The council approved condemnation proceedings on a house at 415 S. McNair St. The house burned on July 4.
The council tabled a motion to purchase Global Positioning Systems for the patrol cars.
The council took no action on sending town clerk Tamatha Ogilvie to the Oklahoma Municipal League Conference in Oklahoma City and offering her a per diem. Ogilvie told the council she was “aggravated” at not being able to attend the OML conference when she put it on the agenda.
The council approved hiring Zach Rodriguez for the Street and Alley Department at $9 per hour with a 90-day review.
The council approved the same health insurance premiums for town employees as PWA employees.
The council tabled action regarding policy shifts for the police department.
The council tabled action regarding personal use of police cars. The policy now is that only the police chief may take a squad car home.