The Pryor Times

Local News

June 4, 2013

Chouteau talks sirens and radios

Chouteau’s town board was updated on emergency services by Mike Dunham of Mayes County Emergency Management at the May meeting.

"With two recent tornadoes in Mayes County, we've had a bunch of calls about how we trigger our sirens," said Dunham. "We activate our outdoor warning sirens as soon as the National Weather Service issues a warning."

Dunham said if any trained emergency professionals see a tornado or funnel formation, the siren will be activated at that time.

The sirens, which Dunham explained are designed to be heard outdoors, are on an on an automated system as opposed to manual activation.

"Also, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) requires each town to have an emergency operations plan, specifically an Emergency Services Function (ESF) plan.

"We're switching to the ESF function a year early. We will talk to departments as necessary to get their input," said Dunham.

The 300-page plan will outline who is in charge of responsibilities in the case of an emergency. He said the county will be a front-runner in the state as nobody else has started on the process.

"As you know, the hazard mitigation plan was a three-year, $100,000 plan. The state has signed off on it, now we’re waiting on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)," said Dunham. "If it's approved we're looking at a county-wide safe room project."

He said this year's plan has been modified to include school districts, more than past plans.

"Lastly, I wanted to update you on weather radios. If the board wants, we can do the same thing as last year. We can set a place and spend an afternoon or evening there, if anyone wants their weather radio programmed we can do it in no time," said Dunham.

Floyd said Emergency Management set up at the senior citizen center last year, and had positive results.

The council moved to go into a public hearing to discuss a petition from Chouteau Hills Inc. to vacate a portion of Blackfoot Avenue and 20th Street in Chouteau Hills Estates.

"Anybody got any remarks on this? It's north of 16th Atreet between Cherokee Street and Highway 69. They're going to re-plot it in five-acre tracts," said Mayor Jerry Floyd. "It's his property and he's proposed putting a road in there."

Floyd said the property owner would like the city to vacate the property and that the proposed roads will line up with the new tracts. When no one present had a comment, a motion was made by Floyd to vacate the property. Board member Randy Grossman seconded the motion, which passed.

Entering regular session, Floyd began a discussion on copying fees charged for open records requests.

"We've been charging a dollar per copy. Lynn [Herschberger] found something that says the most we can charge is 25 cents," said Floyd. "But I have this here (state statute) that says we can charge one dollar for the first page and two dollars for each consecutive page. I don't see anything wrong with what we've been charging."

Floyd said the quarter charge Herschberger was referring to only applied to court records.

"Well it is a state statute that applies to all open records requests. What you read is a city ordinance. State statutes supersede city ordinances," said Herschberger.

"Not always," said Floyd.

A citizen said that the only instance a city ordinance could take precedence over a state statute is if the town is chartered, which Chouteau is not.

Floyd said he would leave the decision to the board. The board voted, and approved, to amend the city ordinance to match the state’s requirements.

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