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“This issue has been before us every year....even those people who say they don’t want another dime spent on this project say, ‘I want to see it finished.’ It doesn’t make any sense to the people back at home that we continue to pay debt service on a shell of a building.” Sen. Rick Brinkley in debate on the AICCM funding bill in being considered in the Joint Committee on A&B.

“When it’s finished, even some of the harshest critics have said they are going to take their families there.” Sen. Kyle Loveless in debate on the AICCM funding bill in being considered in the Joint Committee on A&B.

“Don’t you think there is a vast misconception of those in this building, and even more so out in the general public, about who this is for? It is not for the Indians, it is about the Indians. And it’s for Oklahomans.” Rep. Jerry McPeak during questions on AICCM in House Joint Committee on A&B.

“I have to ask, if we’re going to be spending money on this, what would be next? Are we going to join a jelly of the month club? Because as Eddie so famously said, “Clark (Griswald), that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year long.” Sen. Nathan Dahm on the Senate floor in debate on funding for a proposed pop culture museum in Tulsa.

“We have a tendency to forget our history...our arts are certainly a part of what Oklahoma is about...folks, once we give up on the arts, we give up on a major portion of Oklahoma.” Sen. Thompson, the Senate floor in debate on funding for a proposed pop culture museum in Tulsa.

“From my standpoint as a financial manager, you’ve got low debt, you’ve got low interest rates, you’ve got an infrastructure project that will create a multiplier of ten times what the actual cost to the taxpayers are, and that is what we call in my business a win-win.” Sen. Mike Mazzei on the Senate floor in debate on funding for a proposed pop culture museum in Tulsa.

“If an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, then a museum for a museum makes this state insolvent.” Rep. John Pfeiffer, on the House floor in debate on funding for a proposed pop culture museum in Tulsa.

“I would ask this body here to seriously consider making the baseline not to let us fall below Mississippi. You know, that ain’t asking much.” Sen. Earl Garrison on the Senate floor, during questions about education funding levels in the general appropriations bill.

“We had to figure out how to stop the bleeding going forward on us being able to appropriate less and less money, us being able to not say education, health care, roads are a priority by having funds diverted before we ever had a chance to weigh in....we got some apportionment reform in this bill.” Sen. Greg Treat on the Senate floor, during debate on the general appropriations bill.

“Members, we will take a back seat to no one on transportation: over two billion dollars that we have invested. I don’t know of another state agency that has received state appropriation increases of over two billion dollars that we’ve put into roads and bridges in this state since Republicans took the majority in the House in 2005.” Speaker Jeff Hickman on the House floor, during debate on the general appropriations bill.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The chairman of the Pittsburg County Board of Commissioners has declared his county a disaster area, “entitled to aid, relief and assistance,” because of repeated storms that have caused “considerable damage to public and private properties…”

Damage to Pittsburg County’s transportation infrastructure alone is estimated at $1.5 million to $2 million, Safety Director Kevin Enloe reported Tuesday.

Commission Chairman Gene Rogers, Vice Chairman Ross Selman and Member Kevin Smith signed emergency proclamations on May 11, May 20 and again on Tuesday, May 26. The proclamations were transmitted to the state Office of Emergency Management by Sandra Crenshaw, the commissioners’ first deputy.

In addition, state Reps. Brian Renegar and Donnie Condit, both D-McAlester, sent a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday, requesting disaster relief assistance. And Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, belatedly asked that his name be included on that letter.

With the ink on the state budget “barely dry,” the $71.9 million that Republican legislators diverted from the $254 million County Improvements for Roads and Bridges fund “is already sorely missed,” Renegar and Condit lamented.

They recalled that the state “rainy day” fund was tapped for $50 million two years ago “to address emergency funding needs” after tornadoes “wreaked havoc” in Oklahoma and Cleveland counties. “We would ask that you make the same consideration today for rural Oklahoma’s flooding devastation,” Renegar and Condit wrote. “Although we have addressed only one county’s loss,” the damage is “widespread” and resources to address the crisis are “limited, at best,” they concluded.

Governor Fallin scheduled an aerial tour Wednesday of storm and flood damage in Purcell and the Lake Texoma area. Renegar said he invited Fallin to visit Pittsburg County two weeks ago to view the storm damage firsthand.

Stormwater runoff washed out tinhorns and roadbed aggregate throughout Pittsburg County. A six-mile section of the roadbed and culverts on Burris Valley Road in southern Pittsburg County were washed out over the weekend, Commissioner Smith said. “It’ll take a lot of manpower and money to repair that damage,” he said.

Also in Smith’s commission District 2, the only road leading into and out of the community of Chambers sustained heavy damage in a washout (photo attached). “We still have four or five roads closed in my district, and several others are barely passable,” Smith said Tuesday.

Pittsburg County desperately needs financial assistance from the state and/or federal governments, Smith said. “We don’t have a million and a half to two million dollars laying around in the bank.”

State Rep. James Lockhart, D-Heavener, sent a similar letter to the governor Wednesday, requesting $50 million in financial aid from the state “rainy day” fund to repair storm damage in LeFlore County. Other signatories of the letter were Reps. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum; Johnny Tadlock, D-Idabel; and Renegar.

“We’ll have to wait for the water to go down before we can fully assess the road damage,” Lockhart said Wednesday.

State Highway 1 (Talimena Drive) is closed between U.S. 271 and U.S. 259 because of storm-related erosion. U.S. 270 is closed between Wister and Heavener and U.S. 271 at Wister; signs are in place and traffic will be detoured to Poteau and Heavener.

Also, U.S. 259 five miles south of S.H. 63 was closed temporarily because of a rock slide that began 80 feet above the roadway; Oklahoma Department of Transportation maintenance crews cleaned up the site on Memorial Day.

“I just got off the ‘phone with someone whose house is flooded and they don’t have flood insurance – and they’re not the only ones,” Lockhart continued. “Miles and miles of fences have been washed out, livestock has been washed away, and crop losses on the Arkansas River bottom north of Spiro” are substantial.

“We need help with boxes, bottled water, and manpower to help with the clean-up once the water goes down,” Lockhart said.

In Hughes County, Emergency Management Director John E. Roberts Jr. estimated infrastructure storm damage at approximately $1.5 million to $2 million.

Several Hughes County roads have sustained severe damage from storm water runoff. At least three bridges “are still under water” (see attached photo) and the wooden deck of one bridge floated away, he said Wednesday. More than a few Hughes County residents must detour 10 to 12 miles to get to or from their homes because of flood damage to county roads and bridges, he said. (Photos attached)

Previous storms resulted in “damages to many private properties” and “several reports of barns and outbuildings, as well as carports and garages, being damaged or destroyed,” along with downed trees and “a great deal of damage to power lines,” Roberts reported.

A major transportation repair project in rural Hughes County involved the installation of two 10-inch diameter by 80-foot-long pipes May 8-12 to restore a crossing that washed out, stranding some residents for four days, Roberts related.

“If we don’t get some federal assistance on this, we’re screwed,” Roberts said bluntly Wednesday. One county bridge that’s been inundated for the past two weeks will cost at least $200,000 to repair or replace, he estimated.

Hughes County officials transmitted disaster proclamations to the state Office of Emergency Management on May 11 and again on May 26, records reflect. “We have road crews working five, six, seven days a week, trying to repair our transportation network. We’re working our way down the list as fast as we can.”

“We have a slow-motion continuing disaster” in McIntosh County, Emergency Management Director Wesley Dawson said Wednesday afternoon.

Residents of that county have had to cope with flooding from Lake Eufaula, “which is becoming quite a nuisance,” and storm runoff flooding that has “cut county roads” and has triggered flash flooding of bridges and other crossings, Dawson said. Some crossings have been repaired as often as four times this month, but some are under water again, he added.

A preliminary count showed 12 to 15 residential subdivisions “cut off” because of floodwaters or extensive damage to roads or bridges, Dawson said. “They’re using boats to get out, or they’ve cut cross-country paths and are walking or using four-wheelers.”

McIntosh County’s commissioners have issued two emergency disaster proclamations this month, Dawson said. The first was issued after flooding May 8-11 and the second was issued last Saturday, he said. The proclamations allow the commissioners to make emergency purchases without soliciting competitive bids, and will enable the county to seek reimbursement of some of its storm-recovery expenses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency if a presidential disaster declaration is issued.

President Obama signed an Oklahoma disaster declaration on Tuesday and authorized federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by “severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding” during the period of May 5-10. However, residents of just three counties – Cleveland, Grady and Oklahoma – qualify for federal aid under that declaration.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Legislature could tap the state’s “rainy day” savings account for up to $175 million to provide county commissioners with funds to finance repairs to roads and bridges damaged or destroyed by recent floods and tornadoes, House Democratic Leader Scott Inman said Thursday.

Governor Fallin issued a press release Wednesday in which she announced that she instructed the state Transportation Department “to expedite bidding on county infrastructure projects and to explore additional means of supporting recovery efforts.”

“While that’s helpful, the best way to support recovery efforts would be to draw down some of the balance in the rainy day fund,” Inman said.

The “rainy day” account currently holds $535 million. The Legislature appropriated $150 million of that to balance the state budget for Fiscal Year 2016. That leaves $385 million, and the Legislature could appropriate $175 million of that.

Doing so would require the Legislature to convene in special session at the call of Governor Fallin.

“Expediting the bidding process will do little, if any, good for many of our counties, because they don’t have the money to initiate the repairs that need to be made,” said Inman, D-Del City.

Pushmataha County commissioners, as just one example, are coping with damage from tornadoes and flooding.

District 2 Commissioner Jerry Duncan and District 3 Commissioner Rickie Briggs both have had tornado and wind damage in their districts. And District 1 Commissioner Michael Brittingham said that he, Briggs and Duncan all have “major” damage to their bridges and roads, many of which are closed because of flooding.

In many of the locations “the repairs we’ve made are just temporary,” because several sites have been washed out multiple times, Brittingham said. “In some places we can’t even get to the materials, such as gravel, that we need to make the necessary repairs,” because of flooding, he said.

“We’re really in a bind.”

The economy of southeastern Oklahoma is at a standstill because of the persistent storms, the commissioner noted. “The timber industry is shut down because the roads and bridges are damaged, and tourism is suffering because so many of the parks are underwater.”

Because of a rockslide on U.S. 271 between Antlers and Clayton, residents of the Nashoba area are having to detour up to 100 miles a day “to get to and from minimum-wage jobs,” Brittingham said.

Similarly, U.S. 259 at Pecan Point between Idabel, Okla., and DeKalb, Texas, was closed Wednesday by the Texas Department of Transportation “due to floodwaters running over the highway” south of the swollen Red River.

“Lives, property, livestock, roads, bridges and businesses” in state House District 1 in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma “have been devastated” in recent weeks, state Rep. Johnny Tadlock, D-Idabel, wrote Thursday in a letter to Governor Fallin. “This truly is a disaster area and I ask that it be treated as such.”

Preliminary infrastructure damage estimates from many counties across the state total in the millions of dollars, Inman noted.

“Our counties need financial help now,” Inman said. “It’s called a ‘rainy day’ account for a reason, and what we’ve been experiencing in recent week constitutes a genuine emergency. The Legislature can and should extend a helping hand.”

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on May 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1. Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Discussion and possible approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Muscogee (Creek) Nation

G. Discussion and possible approval of Agreement with Oklahoma Department of Agriculture

H. Discussion and possible approval of Juvenile Detention Contracts

I. Signing of Contract with RRY Services for Bridge Project (per Bid #18)

J. Discussion and possible approval of reappointment of member to Health Department Board

K. Consideration and action upon resolution authorizing and approving the incurring of indebtedness by the Trustees of the Okmulgee County Educational Facilities Authority to be accomplished by the issuance of lease revenue bonds, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness in one or more series on a tax-exempt or taxable basis, at a premium or discount, in the aggregate principal par amount of not to exceed Eight Million Dollars ($8,000,000) to provide funds to Independent School District No. 1, Okmulgee Public Schools

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Adjourn

The Oklahoma House and Senate approved a measure intended to conclude the final chapter in the state’s long history with the building of the American Indian Cultural Center.

“I am pleased my fellow lawmakers voted to bring this situation which has been ongoing since the early 1990’s to a close,” said Speaker of the House Jeffrey W. Hickman, R-Fairview. “This measure provides the only legal means in which the museum can be finished. The taxpayers deserve closure and the great economic impact the proponents of the museum in Oklahoma City have promised for almost 25 years.”

House Bill 2237 calls for a $25 million dollar bond to finish the construction of the American Indian Cultural Center.

Once construction is complete and the museum’s doors are open, the state’s Native American Cultural and Education Authority will be dissolved and stewardship of the museum will be handed over to Oklahoma City.

As of today, the state has spent roughly $90 million on the Cultural Center, $63 million of which is bonded indebtedness. The state currently pays about $5 million a year on the debt and $2 million to keep the unfinished museum maintained.

Once the new $25 million bond is issued, the $2 million currently being spent on operations will be redirected toward the final bond payment. Fifty percent of any revenue over $7 million the museum and the surrounding development bring in will also go toward paying the state back up to $25 million. No new state funds will be spent on this project.

This bill sets up a process for the state, cultural authority and the City of Oklahoma City to begin negotiations on an operating agreement and includes an immediate transfer of roughly 143 acres that surround the museum property so economic development of the area can proceed to ensure the museum’s success. Pledges totaling $40 million from private, city, county and tribal sources are committed to the construction completion and proponents of the museum plan to raise additional private funds to reach the estimated $75 million necessary to open the doors.

Restrictions in the deed from Oklahoma City when the property was given to the state require the land to be used for a Native American cultural center or transferred back to Oklahoma City. This means selling the property is not an option for the state. Because the state owes $54 million in bonded indebtedness on the museum building, the state cannot give the structure back to Oklahoma City as is until the bonds are paid off at maturity.

“This bill puts the destiny of 210 acres located at the prominent intersection of I-35 and I-40 in the heart of Oklahoma City in the hands of the citizens of Oklahoma City and their community leaders,” Hickman said. “I am hopeful an agreement can be reached soon and the center can be completed so we can finally realize the great potential of this development which has been discussed for decades.”

HB 2237 will now go to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin.

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on May 18, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1. Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting and special meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Open and possible award of Bid #20 to purchase 2006 or newer crew cab pick-up

G. Discussion and possible approval of appointment to EMS Trust Board

H. Discussion and possible approval of Invoice and review Bridge Inspection Reports

I. Discussion and possible approval to hire engineer and surveyor for County Fairgrounds CDBG Project

J. Discussion and possible approval of Application for ETR funding

K. Discussion and possible approval of Resolution to dispose of equipment

L. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #23 to lease purchase 10-wheeled semi-haul truck

M. Possible approval of monthly Appropriations

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Adjourn

Voter registration deadline for June 9 Special Election is May 15, 2015 according to ELection Board Secretary Ashley Carnes.

Registered voters in the City of Henryetta districts have until June 3rd to apply for absentee ballots for the Special Election to be held on June 9, 2015.

Voters may apply in person at the County Election Board office or send in their Absentee Applications by mail, fax or email. The application can be downloaded from the State Election Board web site or picked up in our office.

Completed Absentee Applications must be in the hands of the County Election Board no later than 4:30pm, Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015, in order for them to be processed and ballots mailed out to voters that day.

Voted ballots must be returned by mail, UPS or FedEx not later than 7:00pm Election Day to be counted. We encourage those voters who need to vote by mail to apply as soon as possible.

Early In-Person voting dates are Thursday, June 4th and Friday, June 5th, from 8:00am to 6:00pm. All Early In-Person voting will take place in the Election Board Office at the Okmulgee County Courthouse 1st floor.

Sample ballots are available in the Election Board office now.

The State Election Board has a new tool at their web site which allows voters to verify their party affiliation, locate their polling location, track their absentee ballot, find early voting hours and contact information. The link for the State’s website is www.ok.gov/elections.

Voters who have questions may come by the office in the Okmulgee County Courthouse, 314 W 7th or contact us by phone at 918-756-2365, by fax at 918-758-1275 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

After the County Commissioners regular order of business, they had the following agenda item:

The Board awarded Bid #19 to purchase (1) used skid steer tracked loader to Boxcer Equipment. Bids were received from Boxcer Equipment and Warren Cat. The bid from Warren Cat was lower than the bid from Boxcer Equipment, but was rejected because it didn’t meet the required specifications.

The Board opened Bid #18 for crew and equipment for bridge construction. The only bid received was from RRY Services. The Board awarded the bid.

Leadean Puckett was present to discuss the County Fairgrounds CDBG Project. The specifications of this project is to make improvements to handicap parking, grade for drainage, improve sidewalks, upgrade restrooms to ADA standards and repair barn roof. As Fair Board Chairman Clint Scism stated in the meeting of May 4th, an accurate survey needs to be done before the dirt work can be performed. The dirt work has to be done before any other improvements can begin. Ms. Puckett informed the Board that if the County doesn’t have time in their schedule to do the dirt work, the Board can hire it done as their portion of the in-kind match. No action was taken by the Board.

The Board approved the Resolutions for Disposing of Equipment for District #1 as follows: (1) John Deere tractor, for surplus to sell; (1) Rhino DB150 mower, for surplus to sell; (1) Massey Ferguson tractor, for surplus to trade.

The Board approved the reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s Office for the month of April 2015, in the amount of $800.14.

The Board approved the reimbursement claim for the Election Board Secretary’s salary for the month of April 2015, in the amount of $3,476.41.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #21 for road materials for a six-month period, to be opened June 8, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #22 for the installation of guardrails for a bridge project, to be opened June 1, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

The Board approved the Emergency Disaster Proclamation to declare Okmulgee County to be a disaster area; entitled to aid, relief and assistance, and to direct the implementation of the County Emergency Operations Plan.

 

AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OKMULGEE COUNTY

As required by Section 311, Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, notice is hereby given that the Board of County Commissioners of Okmulgee County will hold a regular meeting on May 11, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the County Commissioners Conference Room in the County Courthouse, located at 314 W. 7th, Okmulgee.

AGENDA

The following is a list of the business to be conducted by the Board of County Commissioners at the above-mentioned meeting:

1. Call to Order
Invocation
Pledge of Allegiance

2. Possible approval of minutes from regular meeting

3. Input by the Public on any non-agenda items

4. Order of Business:

A. Discussion and possible action of Officers’ Reports

B. Discussion and possible action of Blanket Purchase Orders

C. Discussion and possible action of Employee Status Reports

D. Discussion and possible approval of submitted Utility Permits

E. Discussion and possible approval of Private Property Agreements

F. Possible award of Bid #19 to purchase skid steer tracked loader

G. Open and possible award of Bid #18 for labor and equipment for bridge work

H. Leadean Puckett to discuss Okmulgee County Fairgrounds CDBG Project with possible action by Board

I. Discussion and possible approval of Resolutions to dispose of equipment

J. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for expenditures of the District Attorney’s Office

K. Possible approval of reimbursement claim for Election Board Secretary’s salary

L. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #21 for road materials for six-month period

M. Possible approval of Invitation to Bid #22 for installation of guardrails on bridge project

5. Report from Emergency Management Director

6. New Business

7. Discussion and possible approval of claims and/or signing of documents

8. Adjourn

After the county commissioners regular order of business, they had the following agenda item:

The Board approved the Proclamation naming the week of May 4th through May 8th of 2015 as Oklahoma Home and Community Education Week.

The Board opened Bid #19 to purchase (1) used skid steer tracked loader. Bids were received from Boxcer Equipment and Warren Cat. This was tabled to allow reviewing time.

Fair Board Chairman Clint Scism was present to discuss the County Fairgrounds CDBG Project. He reported that the site has been surveyed by NRCS. The dirt work still needs to be performed which will be done by Okmulgee County as the in-kind match for the grant. The possibility of another survey was discussed due to the water run-off issue. No action was taken by the Board.

The Board approved the Resolutions and Project Maintenance, Financing and Right-of-way Agreements with ODOT for the following projects: Salt Creek Bridge Project in District #1; Okmulgee Creek Bridge Project in District #2; Unnamed Creek Bridge Project in District #3.

The Board approved the Detention Transportation Agreement with the Office of Juvenile Affairs for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year.

The Board approved the corrected Detention Transportation Claim for OJA for the month of July 2014, in the amount of $1,223.62.

The Board approved Invitation to Bid #20 for a 2006 or newer crew cab pickup, to be opened May 18, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.

 

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