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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held their regular meeting Monday and swiftly handled County business. Among the important decisions the Board made were authorizing an application for additional rental assistance money, and to allocate existing relief money to the rental assistance program.

District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan updated the Board on his recent inspection of the Jail and was positively surprised.

The BoCC went on to authorize the final contracts in the Triple X Road Streambank Stabilization Project.

Marty Peercy reports Local government

Rental Assistance

For over a year the County has used federal relief funds to assist people who are struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the deadly COVID pandemic that has affected so many Americans.

At Monday’s meeting, the BoCC considered two items related to emergency rental assistance.

The first item was for an application for Oklahoma County’s remaining allocation of funds for the U.S. Treasury Department’s ERA2 program. The estimated amount applied for will be $7,945,156.50 The application was approved by the Board.

The second item was for the transfer of already allocated emergency rental assistance funds in the amount of $5,296,771. That money was received by the county in two tranches. The first of those is in the amount of $2,575,113.56 from the Treasury’s ERA2 program. The second, from the County’s high need population award, totalling $2,721,657.44.

That money will be transferred to the Oklahoma County Home Finance Authority (OCHFA) who will administer disbursal of that money to those in need by way of the Community Cares Partners organization. Community Cares Partners will continue their rental and utility assistance programs with those funds.

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey abstained from voting on both items. While he says he thinks the programs are good, he is an attorney who sometimes represents landlords. Calvey said that he does not believe there is a conflict of interest, he abstained out of an abundance of caution.

Jail Inspection

District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan reported to his peers about his recent inspection of the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail).

Each Commissioner is statutorily required to make regular inspections of the Jail. Maughan tries to make his inspection a surprise visit to the facility so he can get a good idea of what conditions are like in real time.

Brian Maughan
District 2 Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan (file, BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Maughan, who has been with the County for 21 years, said that this is the first inspection he’s done where he thought things had improved significantly.

The Commissioner went on to describe the improvements of the plumbing and the air handling systems. He also mentioned that water pressure is working well in the top floors of the Jail, and that no detainees complained of not having hot water.

In general, Maughan explained, the morale and environment of the Jail are better than he’s ever seen them. Even the detainees that he spoke with during his visit were not complaintive about the food, smell, or physical conditions of their stay, he said.

Maughan congratulated the Jail Trust for the improvements their staff have made to the Jail.

He added that he was inviting District Attorney David Prater to come with him to tour the Jail and see the improvements in light of Prater’s ongoing investigation of the Jail Trust.

Triple X Road

The final contracts for the Triple X Road Streambank Stabilization Project were approved by the BoCC at Monday’s meeting.

Greenshade Trees, Inc., will provide landscaping services on the ongoing project. Smith Roberts Baldischwiler, LLC if providing consultant engineering services on the roadway project.

The project that has been in the planning phase for multiple years, has to be completed and audited by August, 2022 in order to receive the FEMA reimbursement that makes the very expensive project financially feasible for the County.

Sheriff Donation

Sheriff Tommie Johnson, III came before the BoCC as the last order of business in open session.

Johnson explained that his department has been offered a donation of $20,000 from The Oliver Foundation. Though the use of that money is not being stipulated by the donor, Johnson wishes to use the gift to replace ballistic vests for the Sheriff’s Deputies.

When asked about The Oliver Foundation, Johnson avoided giving any details, only describing the donor as a good person who cares about law enforcement.

The Board approved receipt of the donation.

The Board of County Commissioners will meet again on November 1 at 9:00 a.m.

Last Updated October 18, 2021, 12:05 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor