OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Monday morning the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held their regular meeting to handle pertinent business for the County.
After hearing from County residents at the top of the meeting, the Board went on to approve a bid for construction on the Triple X Road project. The Board also approved a contract for the Court Clerk’s office to hire a company to digitize records.
The Board also discussed a contract for providing sanitization services in the Courthouse, Annex, and the County’s two downtown parking garages.
Request for The Village
Cathy Cummings, Councilwoman for the city of The Village, addressed the Board in her official capacity to kick off Monday’s meeting.
Cummings explained that The Village has several very important drainage and sewer improvement projects that the municipality is unable to afford. Cummings lobbied the BoCC to invest approximately $3 million in infrastructure improvements. Cummings listed the specific projects, including a physical list she distributed to the Commissioners.
Cummings explained that the County’s American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) money dwarfs the financial needs of The Village. These projects being completed would take up a very small percentage of those funds.
As Cummings points were made during “Citizen Participation” and not during an agenda item, the Commissioners could not respond to her comments.
Cummings took the opportunity to suggest to elected officials in other townships in Oklahoma County to attend BoCC meetings to advocate for their communities as well.
Triple X Road
In the latest chapter of the years-long saga of the Triple X Road streambank stabilization project, the BoCC approved a bid for road construction.
At the last meeting of the BoCC, the County received only one bid for the massive project. That bid came in at approximately $1.7 million, which is higher than the original estimate by the County, which was $1.4 million.
Due to deadlines, federal and state restrictions and oversight, and labor and supply shortages, the Commissioners were informed that they shouldn’t expect any better bids than the one received.
In fact, according to County Engineer Stacey Trumbo, there wouldn’t likely be any more bids than the one if they were to re-bid the project. Many of the contractors in the area who do this sort of construction work are already subcontracting with the CP Integrated Services, the only firm that bid.
For the federal requirements to get a FEMA reimbursement for some construction costs, the project, with audits, must be completed by August 2022, creating a significant time crunch for selecting bidders on the project.
District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan, who has been dealing with this project since a house washed into the North Canadian River at Triple X Road in 2013, said of the project that “Following a long tradition, if anything can be complicated about this project, it will be.”
The Board unanimously accepted the bid from CP Integrated Services, moving the project toward completion.
Rick Warren, Oklahoma County Court Clerk, requested a contract with Business Imaging Systems, Inc. in the amount of $928,500.
The company mentioned specializes in digitizing records. Last year the state legislature passed a law allowing Court Clerks to add a two-dollar fee for all civil filings. That fund has yielded approximately $1 million for Warren’s office in the year since its passage.
Warren said that this contract is a good use of that money, as it will clean up storage for records, as well as making records more accessible. All records required to be sealed will remain so, but most other records will be stored online, where the public can gain access.
The digitization will also allow Court Clerk staff to upload relevant records to OSCN, a website where members of the public can find court cases across Oklahoma.
During the course of the year-long contract, BIS staff will train Court Clerk staff in digitizing records, so that the contract will not have to be permanent.
The contract was approved unanimously.
Since the early weeks of the pandemic that has killed nearly 9,000 fellow Oklahomans, the County has had a crew of people sanitizing surfaces throughout the Courthouse, Annex, and the two parking garages the County owns downtown.
The contract is set to expire soon.
Facilities Manager Keith Monroe discussed with the BoCC whether or not to retain those staff or not.
Maughan said that on his floor the workers look bored, including that he’s seen them come and wipe down his door handles when nobody has come in or out of the office for over an hour.
District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert asked if the staff of six full-time contractors could be reduced to three.
“We can do anything you want to,” Monroe replied.
District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey pointed out that the CDC had declared that COVID doesn’t really spread via surfaces and that the sanitizing may be moot. He also said that sanitizing certainly helps diminish other bugs that could be transferred by touch, but that we weren’t sanitizing against that before.
The Board ultimately chose to take Blumert’s suggestion and reduce the number of full-time contractors to three.
The Board of County Commissioners will meet again on October 4 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Updated September 20, 2021, 4:19 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor