Tuesday, November 15, 2016

City Improves Financial Standing by $1.6 Million

During their regular city meeting held on Monday evening Sallisaw City Commissioners learned the city had received a clean audit and improved its financial standing by about $1.6 million. City Manager Clayton Lucas explained, “The purpose is to compare the current year to the year before. The city had a net position increase of $1.6 million.”

That includes all assets, debt paid and cash.

“That means the city is that much better than the year before,” Lucas said. “All utilities, everything, generated revenue with the exception of the wastewater treatment plant.”

Meredith Meacham Wilson, CPA, of RS Meacham, CPAs, of Clinton, presented the audit to the commission.

Wilson told the commissioners, “The city got the best opinion – unmodified.”

She said that means the city had “a clean audit. That’s good.”

The commissioners were given copies of the audit for review, and its acceptance is on December’s agenda.

In other business the commissioners heard from Shannon Vann, president of the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, about the condition of the chamber office at the corner of Cherokee and Wheeler, and whether the city wants to repair the chamber’s present building or search for another building for relocation.

The city owns the building, which is in need of repair. Vann said chamber members wanted to make the city aware of problems with the building, and to prepare for a future decision to either repair or move.

It is expected that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s realignment of U.S. Highway 59, which is also Wheeler Avenue, will take away all parking at the front of the building. The city has already been reimbursed nearly $300,000 from ODOT for the value of the building.

Lucas also told commissioners that a study of the building’s interior revealed five types of mold, and to remediate the mold would cost from $15,000 to $50,000 depending upon the extent of the mold. Problems with settling have also caused problems, he said.

The purchase of other office space and a building could cost over $100,000.

“That’s why we want to know sooner than later,” Vann said, “if you want to invest in that building or buy another. We need some direction from the city.”

The commission took no action on repair or relocation of the chamber’s offices.

The commission approved the purchase of police and municipal court software from Information Technologies Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., for an amount not to exceed $90,000. Police Chief Terry Franklin said the old system, known as ODIS for Offender Data Information System, is archaic and doesn’t work.

The new system allows officers to take computers into their cars, and be dispatched by computer, with additional background information. It will also make reports easier. The new system, he said, “is a lot more efficient and will help us.” Franklin said the new system will probably be installed after the holidays.

The commission, by a vote of three to two, also approved a COPS grant for the police department. The $93,260 grant will pay for one police officer for three years, and the city must pay the officer’s pay for the fourth year. It is hoped by the time the grant funds are depleted that the city will have sufficient funds to keep the officer on.

Franklin said his police force is already down one officer, and a replacement is being sought. However, the grant will not pay for that new regular officer. For that reason the vote was split on the grant.

The commission accepted a $42,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. This grant is for capital improvements.

The commission also:

-approved a $43,180 contract for engineering services with Neel, Harvell & Associates P.C. of Sallisaw for the I-40/Delaware Avenue waterline relocation, the amount will be reimbursed to the city by the state; 

-approved a $79,700 bid and contract with Danny Mitchell Construction Inc. of Muldrow for pump station rehabilitation at the railroad underpass on West Cherokee Street; 

-agreed to call for bids for annual mowing services;

-agreed private citizens could place a Blessing Box on city property;

-went into executive session to review the city manager’s performance, which was reported positive;

-and approved the purchase of a $217,290 3,000-gallon pumper tanker for the Sallisaw Fire Department. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $50,000 grant for the pumper and the Cherokee Nation supplied another $50,000 for the pumper.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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 Green Leaf Properties

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