February 23, 2012

LG disbands library board, upgrades radios

February 23, 2012 Ted King Staff Writer

ADAIR — The Locust Grove Town Council met Monday night in the first meeting of the town’s second century. Locust Grove became a town on Feb. 14, 1912. Mayor Terry Cooper, trustees Martha Pierce, Jo Hallford and Brenda Williams were in attendance. Vice Mayor Heath Holman was absent.

The Locust Grove Library had 623 patron visits and 692 books checked out in January.

The fire department had 57 runs and 225 volunteer man hours.

The police department had 293 calls, picked up three animals, and held 46 people in jail, 30 of whom were town residents.

Annissa Saffell, the town librarian, spoke to the council regarding dissolving the board. Saffell’s reasoning is the board members do very little and some of the members rarely attend meetings. Saffell said any members of the board who still want to be involved may join a support group of friends of the library. Council members voted to dissolve the library board and establish a board of trustees with a liaison. Williams abstained.

The council voted to have the radios for the fire department reprogramed to 12.5 megahertz. The cost of this change is not to exceed $1,500. This vote was more of a mandate than a decision the town could make on its own. This Federal Communications Commission requires all emergency services lower the power of radios to 12.5 Mhz. The Mayes County Sheriff’s Office and the Mayes Emergency Services Transportation Authority have already made this change.

If Locust Grove doesn’t convert the radios, FCC could fine the town $10,000.

The Easter egg hunt is scheduled for March 31. The chamber of commerce is in charge of the hunt and has asked the town to split the cost for the eggs. The council voted to purchase eggs for the hunt, not to exceed $400. Williams abstained.

The council voted to change the town’s Christmas fund from a checking account to a savings account.

The town approved an interlocal agreement between Locust Grove and Salina for dispatching services. Salina has to approve this agreement. Salina does not have a dispatcher. Locust Grove does and Salina would like for Locust Grove to act as its dispatcher. The council voted to raise the pay of dispatcher Haylee Beck an additional 50 cents an hour after a 90-day review of her performance.

The council voted to raise the pay of dispatcher Kristy Allison an additional 50 cents an hour after a 90-day review.

Both raises are dependent upon the agreement with Salina. The council voted to increase the pay for full-time dispatchers, should Salina agree with the agreement.

The council voted to send Police Chief Wade Henderson and Officers Thomas Fisher and Chad Nave to the Oklahoma Impaired Driving Prevention Summit in Tulsa, Monday through Wednesday,  and provide them a per diem of $25 plus their hourly pay. The summit will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel and will not charge the participants to attend.

The town hired Zeb Rone at an hourly rate of $13 as a full-time police officer.  

The  council approved an invoice from Scotty Maner for repair work on a Dodge Nitro police car. The invoice is for $210.

Cooper brought up the idea that the town offer its police officers an additional $1 an hour if they move within the city limits of Locust Grove. No police officers reside in town. Council members agreed that no members of the police force were interested in moving into town. Henderson told the council he lives in Chouteau.

Under new business, City Clerk and Treasurer Tamatha Ogilvie told the council she is preparing budgets for the year and that the town-wide cleanup will be March 31, the same day as the Easter egg hunt.

Ogilvie said while she can ticket residents for not mowing their lawns or leaving junk cars on their property, she would prefer being escorted by a police officer when she tickets these violators.

Water was the dominant topic of the Public Works Authority meeting. The PWA produced 3.8 million gallons of water in the previous month, had 42 work orders and repaired six leaks.

Janet Donnelly of the PWA said the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality wants to place a continuum until March 1 on Locust Grove’s engineering report to connect with the Oklahoma Ordinance Water Authority so the town can address leaking water problems due to old meters and lines.

Donnelly said the water tower is filled at midnight and the water treatment plant shuts down. By 2 a.m., the water treatment plant starts up again due to leakage in that two-hour period. ODEQ has proposed that the town replace leaking water lines and that Locust Grove can get grant money to do this because it is a “green project,” i.e. environmental.

The town has an estimated 50 percent water loss now. The new water lines, said Donnelly, “should have been done five or six years ago.”

Pierce asked if the PWA knew this was going to be an issue before it hooks up to OOWA. Donnelly said this is something the PWA knew would be a factor.

Cooper wanted to know how much water loss has decreased since new meters were installed. The answer was a reduction of eight or nine percent in water loss since new meters were installed. Locust Grove must have the engineering report approved by May 31 in order to be reimbursed for a grant to connect to OOWA.

Trustees approved an invoice from Garver Engineering regarding the town’s waste water treatment plant. The council voted to pay the invoice of $6,060.

The PWA approved paying the invoice for new water meters for the town to the company Water Products. That invoice is for $3,952.08.

The PWA agreed to purchase a new vacuum pump not to exceed $700 for the waste water treatment plant.

The PWA approved purchase of a polymer feed pump not to exceed $500 for the water treatment plant. Organic polymers are used to take dirt out of water. The PWA approved the purchase of a bleach pump not to exceed $600 for the waste water plant. The bleach pump will be used to control fecal coliform bacteria.

The PWA approved repairs for a 30-horsepower pump that is used to pump water from the water treatment plant to the water tower. S&D Electronics will make the repairs to the pump at a cost of $1,020.40. Donnelly said the repaired pump should last a few more years.

The PWA agreed to have testing of water samples done in house to save money. The testing supplies will cost $1,7045. Donnelly said this will save the town $4,800 a year. Under new business, Cooper said the old railroad track easement on the west side of town may actually belong to the town. Cooper said he would like to use it for the new water line. That railroad track is no longer in use.

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