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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held their regular meeting on Monday morning.

Among the matters of business before the Board on Monday was a $25 million dollar request from County Clerk David Hooten to build a rescue dog training facility that was flatly denied. 

The BoCC also discussed receiving recommendations to fill a vacant at-large seat on the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust).

Additionally, another major step forward was made in the massive, ongoing Triple X Road Bridge project, and the Board declared May to be Mental Health Month.

Marty Peercy reports Local government

Hooten Request

At Monday’s meeting, the BoCC heard from County Clerk David B. Hooten for one agenda item.

David B. Hooten, Oklahoma County Clerk, Oct. 2020 (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Hooten requested up to $25 million be allocated from the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) award to Ground Zero Emergency Training Center to acquire land and build a facility in Oklahoma County. The facility would be used as a training center for search and rescue dogs.

Free Press reported on this previously:

Hooten did not explain how that facility might be related to recovery from the deadly pandemic that is still taking lives across America and has caused some economic turmoil in some sectors of the community.

Each of the three Commissioners agreed that the request was premature, as plans for the use of ARPA funds have in no way been solidified. The County hired Accenture to consult with the Board on legalities and strategies for maximizing the benefits of the approximately $150 Million awarded to Oklahoma County under the act.

Hooten reminded the Commissioners that this item had been approved by the Budget Board last summer by a vote of 9-1, with District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert being the sole vote against.

While each of the Commissioners paid respect to the Ground Zero organization, they unanimously chose to take no action on the item.

Switzer Connection

An aspect of Mr. Hooten’s request that was not discussed in open session at Monday’s meeting, was the connection to Oklahoma football legend Barry Switzer.

Switzer and his wife, Becky, are the founders of the Ground Zero organization with Becky still the executive.

The Switzers have both made maximum allowable donations to Hooten’s campaign for Oklahoma State Treasurer.

Jail Trust Vacancy

In a letter to the Jail Trust and the Board of County Commissioners dated April 14, Trustee Joe Albaugh tendered his resignation from the Trust. Albaugh cited that he believed himself no longer eligible to serve as he had moved his business outside of Oklahoma County.

At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Blumert introduced an item to seek recommendations for the vacancy from the newly impaneled Citizens Advisory Board of the Trust.

The new CAB, chaired by TEEM CEO and former Speaker of the Oklahoma House Kris Steele, is composed of an appointee from each of the Trust members.

Blumert asked her peers on the Board if they could formally request that the CAB offer some recommendations for their consideration in filling the vacancy on the Trust.

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey said he supported the move, and clarified that this was not an abdication of the Commissioners’ responsibilities. The Commissioners will have the final say on who is appointed to fill that seat.

Triple X Road

The project to repair the long destroyed bridge on Triple X Road at the North Canadian River took another step forward on Monday.

An expensive part of the project is a utility relocation for ONEOK Hydrocarbon. Moving the line will cost an estimated $425,670.

County engineer Stacey Trumbo said that some of that cost may be reimbursed by a federal program, but regardless, the work must be done before the project can be completed.

Mental Health Month

Commissioner Blumert submitted a resolution on Monday to recognize May as Mental Health Month.

Representatives of several mental health care providers were present at the meeting. Hope Community Services, SSM Health, The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), and Nami were all present to raise awareness of Mental Health services in Oklahoma County.

The Board of County Commissioners will meet again Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. for a special meeting. The next regular meeting of the BoCC will be on Monday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m.

Last Updated May 2, 2022, 11:41 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor