4 minute read

The Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners on Wednesday discussed procedures for tax payments, and the state of emergency, and where the Sheriff’s Office will reside in the future. They also discussed clearing a literal logjam.

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Fee Waiver

The Board entertained an item to extend the deadline for property tax payments. District Attorney David Prater explained to the Board that statutorily they have no authority to extend deadlines.

Instead, they encouraged the County Treasurer, Butch Freeman, to waive fees for late payment.

District 3 County Commissioner Kevin Calvey explained that approximately 85% of tax collections have been received, so the 15% not yet collected should not have an immediate impact on the County’s budget and should not be an impediment on cash flow “up to a point.”

Resource Officers

The Sheriff’s Office brought three items before the board. Each was for approval of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to supply a Sheriff’s Deputy as a School Resource Officer (SRO).

The schools to contract are Christ the King Catholic School, Oklahoma Christian School, and Rosary School.

In the past, District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan has voted against authorizing school resource officers, citing the Sheriff’s own stated concerns about staffing shortages for the Oklahoma County Detention Center (jail).

Today, Maughan broke with that tradition, stating that since the SROs’ funding will come from the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement budget and will no longer be attached in any way to the Jail’s budget, he would approve. Each MOU passed unanimously.

Emergency Declaration

As the Board’s Declaration of Emergency expired Monday after being in place for seven days, Director of Emergency Management David Barnes recommended a new Declaration.

The Board voted unanimously to Declare a State of Emergency to run concurrent with the State’s Declaration. The Board may choose to cut that declaration short at their discretion.

Logjam!

For once, a logjam was discussed in a government meeting and it was an actual logjam, not the metaphoric kind that most commonly arises in partisan politics.

There is a creek obstruction in Logan County created by living and dead trees and brush that is causing flooding in northern Oklahoma County, which could threaten road quality and safety as spring rains come.

Calvey of District 2 said that he has been fielding calls of concern from constituents in the area. He said the cost of clearing the obstruction would be approximately $35,000.

Statute allows the County to do such work on private property when it is determined to be for the public good, but there is a question as to legality of Oklahoma County doing that work in Logan County.

Aaron Etherington, of the DA’s Office, said that she could not answer as to the legality of doing that work without doing some legal research into the question. The item was deferred for future consideration.

Sheriff’s Headquarters

As the deadline for relocation of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) draws near, the potential future home of the Sheriff’s Office came up in two separate items at today’s meeting.

First, under items from the Purchasing Office, the bids returned on a request for information (RFI) regarding potential real estate options for the relocation were discussed in brief.

County Clerk David B. Hooten, as Chair of the Detention Center Transition Committee, spoke to the Board. He said that all bids returned were rejected by the Committee and that the Committee’s recommendation was to relocate the OCSO to the Krowse Building, as has been discussed for several months.

After brief discussion of the Committee’s recommendation, the Board voted to reject the bids.

Krowse Building issue

During the Public Buildings Authority meeting, an item was brought by Commissioner Calvey to allow a company access to the Krowse Building for the purposes of appraising the property on behalf of the Oklahoma Military Department.

District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert asked why, if the County had no interest in selling the property, an appraisal would be necessary.

Calvey responded, “I wouldn’t say there’s no interest in selling it.” He went on to say that it is the Commissioners’ duty to the taxpayers to look at various options for all county assets and seeing what will be the most fruitful going forward. He said this wouldn’t obligate the County to sell the property but would allow an appraisal to be done at the cost of the Military Department.

When asked for comment after the meeting, Blumert told Free Press, “In order to help the Sheriff’s Office transition from the jail to a new location, I think our best option is a building already owned by the county. Using the Krowse Building creates a smoother transition.”

Blumert went on to say, “I have no intention of selling that property. It’s an asset that has potential to generate revenue for the county. But I’m only one of three Board members who gets to vote on that.”

The mystery remains as to where the Sheriff would move if the Krowse Building is sold, and with a deadline nearing, the mystery grows more urgent weekly.

Will the County use budget money from the Sheriff to rent a private entity’s real estate, or will that money be kept within the County’s coffers? The Board will have to decide.

The next meeting of the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for April 1, at 9:00 a.m.


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