Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sallisaw Pool and Splash Pad Ready for Summer Fun

Sallisaw City Pool 

Sallisaw Splash Pad

Swimmers can return to the Sallisaw Municipal Swimming Pool starting June 2, City Manager Keith Skelton said Thursday.

The pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 1-7:45 p.m. on Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. They are closed Mondays.

Residents will be able to enjoy swimming at the pool until Labor Day weekend. Admission is $3 per person; an individual season pass is $30 per person. A family pass is $50 for up to four people, with a $10 per person charge for additional family members.

Safety precautions recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Health will be in place, Skelton said. Crews will sanitize around the pool area as often as possible, among other measures to keep people safe from the coronavirus.

To add to the fun for Sallisaw kids, the city’s Splash Pad opened this week as well.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Sallisaw Man Charged with Firearm Possession

A Sallisaw man was arrested and charged May 27 with possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Mark Alan Busby, 35, was arrested after a traffic stop at the intersection of South Kerr Boulevard and Drake Street.

On May 27 at 12:20 a.m., a Sallisaw police officer was on patrol at the intersection when he spotted a vehicle without a license plate. He then initiated a traffic stop.

Before the officer exited his vehicle, he noticed that the truck wasn’t in Park, but was instead in Reverse. As the truck began backing up, the officer had to quickly reverse his patrol car and slam on the accelerator to avoid getting hit. The truck then stopped and the driver put it in Park.

When the officer made contact with the vehicle, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside it. He also spotted a green, leafy substance on the shirt of the driver, Kimberly Jordan. Busby and another passenger were also inside the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle turned up a marijuana pipe in Busby’s possession and officers also located a 9mm pistol in his backpack. Officers also found a blue container of a green, leafy substance inside the vehicle’s glove box.

A look at Busby’s criminal history revealed that he was a convicted felon and he was subsequently arrested without incident. Busby had been convicted of domestic assault and battery by strangulation in Sequoyah County in August 2019.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Here’s How YOU Can Help Sequoyah County Grow

We often hear, “Why can’t we get a (insert name of chain restaurant, movie theatre, or national retail store) in Sallisaw or Sequoyah County?” One of the main factors that all businesses consider when choosing locations is population. 

Many national chain businesses require a population of 10,000 or more before they will even consider looking at a town. According to the numbers recorded on the April 2010 Census, Sallisaw had 8,880 residents. Officials say this number is far below the actual number. Under reporting on the current Census could cause our area to miss out on future opportunities. Completing your 2020 Census is crucial to the economic future of Sequoyah County.

Counting everyone in the 2020 Census can help communities receive funding for health care, education, emergency services and more. Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions for communities nationwide. 

Big chain businesses considering setting up shop in Sallisaw look at Census figures and several other factors before determining the suitability of adding a location here.

Sallisaw’s proximity to Interstate 40 gives it a leg up on wooing popular chains but having an adequate population is also crucial.

George Bormann, the economic director for the City of Sallisaw, said answering the Census is vital to the growth not only of the city but also the rest of Sequoyah County. Bormann said the current national response rate is at 60.1 percent, while the number of respondents in Oklahoma sits at 53.7 percent. Unfortunately, the response rate within Sequoyah County is hovering around 37.4 percent.

“We want every dollar, every opportunity to improve our little community,” Bormann said, and answering the Census is the only way to do it.

Only 52.5 percent of Sallisaw residents have responded, Bormann said, but the smaller towns in the county are lagging behind in their responses also. Vian’s response rate is only 15.3 percent; Marble City, 5.7 percent; Gans, 7.1 percent; Gore, 33.3 percent; Muldrow, 45.5 percent; and Roland, 49.2 percent.

Those figures are improving each week, Bormann said, and he expects the numbers to be higher since the deadline to respond was pushed back to Oct. 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Once Census figures are tabulated, businesses will be able to pinpoint where they want to open new locations. New businesses in the area mean more job opportunities for county residents.

Bormann said only 54.5 percent of Sequoyah County residents responded to the 2010 Census, which probably kept some business opportunities out of reach.

“We want to give Sallisaw and Sequoyah County the best possible future and answering the Census is the only way to do it,” Bormann said.

Some people express concerns over sharing their information on the Census form. The Census Bureau DOES NOT share your information with any other entity inluding the Internal Revenue Service, Tribal Services or the Department of Human Services.

Your 2020 Census response helps shape your future. If you have not yet responded online or by phone, you may receive a paper questionnaire so you can respond by mail. You are strongly encouraged to respond promptly. Even if you receive a paper questionnaire, you can still respond online at

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Roland High School Plans Parade, Rally for Seniors

Roland Public Schools has scheduled a parade and pep rally Friday, May 29 for the Class of 2020.

Members of the senior class are asked to meet at Roland Road Hardware and the Assembly of God no later than 6:45 p.m. Friday to be escorted to the high school. Seniors are asked to NOT wear their caps and gowns and to save those for the June 20 graduation.

Senior class members are to park at the high school using either the band room parking lot, the administration parking area, or if need be, the area by the gym.

Everyone is asked to remain in their vehicles except for the seniors, who will walk to specified chairs and be seated, abiding by social-distancing protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at all times.

After being addressed by Mrs. Harrell and Mr. Rainwater, the senior class will be expected to leave the facilities while still using social-distancing guidelines.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cookson Hills Electric’s Lobbies Now Open

Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative has announced that its lobbies reopened Tuesday, May 26, at the Stigler and Sallisaw locations. 

In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, Cookson Hills has implemented some restrictions to maintain a safer environment. Anyone with fever, cough or shortness of breath is asked not to enter the building, but instead return to your vehicle and call the corresponding office. 

All visitors are urged to use the complimentary hand sanitizer available at each office for your use. The cooperative has also limited the number of people allowed in the lobbies. No more than four people will be allowed in the Stigler lobby at one time, and no more than five people are allowed in the Sallisaw lobby at one time. 

While Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative begins the transition toward normal operations, members are still encouraged to consider payment options that do not require entering the lobbies. Below are some alternative payment methods available to customers:

*SmartHub app
*Secure pay by phone (888) 678-1937
*Sign up for automatic bank draft
*Night deposit box
*Mail payment to: P.O. Box 539 Stigler OK 74462 (Include account number with payment)
*Kiosk options at Stigler and Sallisaw offices
*Drive-through at Stigler and Sallisaw offices

The cooperative has also decided to extend the waiver of convenience fees through the end of June. 

For questions, call the cooperative at (800) 328-2368 or (918) 775-2211.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Commissioners OK Delaying Treasurer’s Resale

The Board of Sequoyah County Commissioners voted Monday to postpone the Seqouoyah County treasurer’s June 2020 resale at their weekly meeting Monday.

Board Chairman Ray Watts said the sale will now be held in June 2021.

The commissioners also approved several transfers of appropriations for the Sequoyah County Election board, including transfers from the Election Board Salary Account to the part-time account, the travel account and the board’s maintenance and operations account.

Also at the meeting, Sequoyah County Emergency Director Steve Rutherford said there are no current COVID-19 cases in the county. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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NWS Investigates Possible Blackgum Tornado

Damage to a building in the Blackgum area 
following Monday night's storm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) was in the area Tuesday to determine whether the storm that hit the Blackgum community late Monday night was actually a tornado.

Sequoyah County Emergency Management Director Steve Rutherford said a building was destroyed and many trees were uprooted during the storm, but no injuries were reported.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Sallisaw Football Program Announces 'Safe Return to Play' Guidelines

SHS players practicing during last year's Summer Pride program.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) Board of Directors met in a special meeting May 22 to discuss summertime activities. The Board rejected the organization's proposed guidelines for COVID-19 and voted to conduct summertime activities in accordance with current Rules and Policies as stated in the Administrators Handbook.

The vote essentially allows schools to conduct business as usual for their summer athletic programs. Most schools will be developing and implementing a set of safety guidelines in response to ongoing coronavirus concerns.

The Sallisaw High School football program is one of the first school's in the area to announce their 'Safe Return to Play' plan for their Summer Pride program. Head Coach Randon Lowe stated the guidelines were developed with the assistance of Dr. Christopher Orendorff, MD and David Martin, PHR. 

"The plan was implemented to ensure the safety of all players, staff and their families for summer time activites," said Lowe.

All players and personnel are expected to comply 100 percent with each item outlined in the plan. 

Policies and procedures for the SHS Football Summer Pride program held at Perry F. Lattimore Stadium are as follows:

*During Phase 1, all participants will be temperature screened upon entrance into the facility.

*Each person entering the facility must self-report any symptoms to football staff (elevated temperature greater than 100.4 degrees, dry cough, breathing difficulty, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, etc). Participants with any symptoms will not be permitted to participate until they are without symptoms and have been afebrile (without fever) for at least 24 hours.

*Hand sanitizing stations will be made available upon entry, in the weight room, and in the outdoor workout area.

*Hands must be washed or hand sanitizer used prior to entering the facility and touching any equipment.

*Locker rooms and/or restrooms will be sanitized daily.

*Perry F. Lattimore Field House will be separated into sections to ensure safe traffic flow. 

*Social distancing will be practiced in all possible situations.

*Equipment will be sanitized regularly and at the end of each day.

*No shared hydrating bottles, towels, gloves, or any other personal equipment is permitted. Participants must bring their own water bottles/drinks etc.

*There will be a one-way entrance for screening and a separate one-way exit to reduce cross-contamination and ensure safe traffic flow.

*If a player tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to be on a 14-day quarantine. They must communicate their diagnosis to the football staff, follow their provider's direction, and cannot return to the football facility without clearance from their provider.

*Participants will be grouped together throughout the summer to ensure tracing capability in the case of a positive diagnosis.

*Phase 1 will include High School Boys and Girls (for the month of June). Elementary and Junior High will be allowed to participate during Phase 2, tentatively scheduled for the month of July.

*Personal masks, bandannas, and other face coverings are permitted.

The policy goes on to state, "The situation surrounding COVID-19 is fluid and adjustments may be made as deemed appropriate by football staff/personnel."

KXMX News Staff 

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Mounted Search and Rescue Slates 2020 Course

The Sequoyah County Mounted Search and Rescue has scheduled this year's training course for new members. The group has assisted with numerous search and rescues including a successful search earlier this month for a missing woman in Latimer County.

The 2020 course will start at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at Dwight Mission Cherokee Reservation with a sign-up and meet-and-greet ride for candidates. 

At 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 7, the candidate horse and handler SCMSAR obstacle course will begin at Big M Ranch in Muldrow. 

Sign-up is required via the SCMSAR Facebook group page or on-site June 6 at check-in and Coggins inspection. 

The group is led by Granville “Mac” Moad, the team’s founder and training commander. Founded in February 2016, the group currently consists of 28 volunteers who are trained in everything from tracking, land navigation, terrain association and map reading, helicopter operations, field emergency response, incident command center operation, scene preservation and horsemanship.

The team, the only mounted search team in the state, also includes 36 certified horses, Moad said. The team serves eastern Oklahoma, but can respond to any call when deep wilderness work is necessary.

Moad said the course is taught once a year and also includes rappelling work along with the other training sessions.

“We have a large team with a good team dynamic,” Moad said. 

The volunteer group includes men and women who are law enforcement officers, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, mounted shooters and more.

Moad brings a wealth of experience to the 60-hour training course with his service in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2000. He also has a ranch between Muldrow and Roland where he keeps 13 horses – quarter horses, a Tennessee walker and some mustangs.

At the end of the course, Moad said, the search-and-rescue team participate in a mock search-and-rescue mission to find a missing person.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Roland Man Fails to Comply With Registry

Matthew Sebastian Dodgin

A Roland man was arrested May 15 and charged with failure to comply with sex offender registry, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Matthew Sebastian Dodgin, 30, was convicted of first-degree rape in Sequoyah County in August 2012.

On April 21, 2020, Dodgin was arrested after the Roland Police Department learned of his whereabouts.

Dodgin’s listed address is at 104B Mondier Street in Roland, but he was arrested after Roland police learned he was actually living at 323B E. Dorcus St. in Roland after being told he was not allowed to live there because of its proximity to a city park.

A neighbor told police Dodgin had lived at the Dorcus Street address for about two months, which coincides with Dodgin’s recent marriage to Allison Knapp.

After Dodgin was released from jail from the April 21 arrest, he moved back to 104B Mondier St. and lived with his mother and she then moved to the Dorcus Street address.

On May 4, a Roland police officer spoke with the sex offender registration officer and asked if Dodgin had updated his contact information with her and told her of his new marital status. She said he had not done so.

During the week of May 4-9, the sex offender registration officer left Dodgin multiple voicemails requesting that he call her back. On May 12, Dodgin still hadn’t called back, so the officer tried calling him one more time and he answered. Shelby told Dodgin he needed to come in the next day between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to update his paperwork and Dodgin said, “OK.”

When the sex offender registration officer left work at 2 p.m. that next day, Dodgin was a no-show and he was later found at his home and arrested him for failure to comply.

Knapp, Dodgin’s new wife, told officers that her husband’s attorney had urged Dodgin not to go to the RPD because the last time he did, he was arrested. Knapp also said the attorney had tried to contact the department by phone, but a look at phone records revealed that no calls had been received from the attorney.

Dodgin has been registering with the Town of Roland since March 2014 and had been working with the sex offender compliance officer since January 2016. Dodgin must register every 90 days.

His next court appearance is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 8, before Judge Kyle Waters.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Free Antibody Testing for Blood Donors

The next blood drive for Northeastern Health System - Sequoyah is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at the hospital, 213 E. Redwood in Sallisaw. The Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) is providing free COVID-19 antibody testing for all donors that day.

All donors will also receive a free T-shirt and their choice of one ticket to the Science Museum of Oklahoma or two tickets to Safari Joe’s H20 Water Park. If you are interested in donating, call the hospital lab at (479) 652-2362 and speak to Bethany Davis to schedule an appointment.

In addition to having every OBI employee’s temperature checked at the door when they report for work each day, following is a list of the precautions that will be in place at all blood drives:

*Every donor will have his/her temperature checked at the entrance to the bus to ensure no one with a temperature of 100.4 or higher has access

*Limiting the number of donors on the bus at a time to maintain maximum distance between donors

*OBI is asking donors to make appointments to avoid having too many people coming to the bus at once

*Sanitizing reading material after each donor use

*Sanitizing donor beds and high-contact areas between each donor

*Encouraging donors to use Donor Express before they come to the bus to shorten the amount of time they are in the bus

*All staff members are required to wear masks if they are going to be within six feet of a donor, or if there are any donors present at a blood drive

*Masks will be provided to donors who do not have one with them

If you don’t feel well, or if you believe you might be sick, you should not give blood. Please wait until you are completely healthy before donating.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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OHP Encouraging Memorial Day Safety

As Oklahoma returns to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 situation, it means lakes and rivers will be ready for guests this Memorial Day weekend.

While social distancing and hand hygiene are still important, so is the need to socialize and be with friends during the opening of the summer season.

If you’re headed to the lake, river or just down the road to celebrate the long weekend, make sure you pack a plan to get home safely.

During the 2019 Memorial Day holiday period in Oklahoma, two people were killed in crashes, one of which was alcohol-related. That’s down significantly from the 11 people killed in 2018. While that decline is great news, Oklahoma still lost two people last year in preventable crashes.

If you go to a lake or river, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need before you make camp. This will save you from having to run back to the store after you’ve been drinking.

“We will have troopers on the roads, in the water and in the air making sure people are being safe this holiday weekend,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Chris Arnall said. “We want to make sure everyone enjoys the time with friends and family, but we want them all to make it home safe.”

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) and the OHP want to remind everyone that law enforcement is still on duty and will be looking for impaired drivers this weekend.

The OHP’s marine enforcement division, Troop W, will have all available troopers out and working on area lakes this weekend.

“We urge everyone to consider safety on the water as well as on the roads, Troop W Capt. Mike Sharp said. “Have a life jacket onboard your vessel for each passenger. Children 12 years old or younger must wear a life jacket if they are on a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length. Never operate boats or personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

The OHP will team up with local law enforcement across the state to put a special emphasis on impaired driving enforcement this weekend. Several agencies in the areas around popular lakes and rivers will have officers working with Oklahoma impaired driving liaison troopers to get impaired drivers off the roads.

“We understand everyone wants to have a good time,” Sharp said. “We just ask that you follow certain rules and use common sense to avoid a tragedy that could have been prevented.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Sallisaw Man Charged With Sexual Abuse; Possibly Multiple Victims

Zachary Flock

A Sallisaw man pleaded not guilty May 20 to a charge of felony sexual abuse of a child under age 12. 

Zachary Lyle Flock, 38, faces up to life in the Department of Corrections on the charge, which also carries a penalty of up to $5,000 in fines. 

Flock was arrested May 19 at the Sallisaw Police Department after a woman came forward and said she believed her 9-year-old daughter had been molested by him. The mother stated that she had heard that Flock had also molested other children in the trailer park that he resides in on Cherry Street in Sallisaw. 

Investigators with the police department spoke with the girl in question and she said Flock had touched her inappropriately several times while she stayed at his home. A forensic interview was conducted with the girl by a female employee of the Help in Crisis center. The girl provided detailed accounts of the alleged incidents. The girl also said she wasn’t Flock’s only victim. 

In an interview with police, Flock admitted to “rubbing diaper rash” on the girl’s private parts more than once. He said he has also done this with his own 8-year-old daughter and to other neighbors’ children. 

Forensic interviews are scheduled with the other children. 

Flock’s next court appearance is at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 3. 

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Cookson Hills Electric Resuming Disconnections

In March, Cookson Hills Electric Co. (CHEC) made the decision to suspend disconnections for non-payment on all residential accounts for members directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEC then opted to extend the moratorium to all residential consumers.

CHEC is beginning the transition back to normal operations. This includes lifting the moratorium on disconnection for non-payment. They want to remind members that all delinquent accounts will be subject to disconnections for non-payment beginning Wednesday, May 27, and will continue through Thursday, May 28, and all future dates. 

If you are directly impacted by COVID-19 and unable to meet your financial obligations on your account, please call either the Stigler office at (800) 328-2368, or the Sallisaw office at (918) 775-2211 to request a payment arrangement.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Joe Exotic Attorneys Hoping for Pardon

Attorneys for Oklahoma's Joe Exotic are on the move trying to gain attention for their client in an effort to have him pardoned by President Donald Trump.

Joe Exotic, born Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is a former zoo operator and Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate who became famous after the airing of Netflix's true-crime docuseries "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness."

Exotic has described himself as a "gay, gun-toting cowboy with a mullet" and his feud with Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin is becoming the stuff of legends.

In 2019, Maldonado-Passage was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse (eight violations of the Lacey Act and nine of the Endangered Species Act) and two counts of murder for hire, for a plot to kill Baskin.  He is serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison.

The legal team, under the direction of Joe Exotic, have rented a tour bus and covered it with a large graphic wrap asking President Trump to "Please Pardon Joe Exotic". The legal team calls themselves "Team Tiger".

The bus has a 6 foot tall head shot of Joe Exotic on both sides along with Joe's favorite tiger.

Fans taking a tour of the bus will be asked to donate to the former zoo owner and entertainer's legal fund before departing the bus. The bus was seen outside Trump International Hotel in D.C. Wednesday afternoon.

Reports indicate that Carole Baskin will not be taking the tour.

KXMX News Staff

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Gans Man Hurt in I-40 Crash

A Sallisaw man was injured Wednesday when two pickups collided on Interstate 40.

According to the accident report, a 2019 Ford F-150 driven by Edward Madden, 67, of Perry struck a 2008 Toyota Tacoma being driven by John Woods, 49, of Gans.

The accident occurred at 10:52 a.m. Wednesday at mile marker 297, one mile east of Vian. Madden was traveling eastbound on the on-ramp to I-40 from mile marker 297. Woods was eastbound on I-40 when Madden failed to yield and struck his vehicle.

The drivers of both vehicles were uninjured, but a passenger in Woods’ pickup, Joseph Woods, 28, of Sallisaw, was transported by First Flight to St. John Hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted in stable condition with head and trunk injuries.

Everyone involved in the collision was wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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Commissioners, Staff Discuss FY 2021 City Budget

The City of Sallisaw staff presented the city commissioners with the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 at a two-day special meeting this week. The meeting was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wheeler Event Center.

Titled “2021: A New Chapter,” the budget proposal includes a 6.62 percent increase from fiscal 2020 to the general fund, a $1.3 million increase, for a total of $21,007,241, and City Manager Keith Skelton said that by June 30, 2021, the city’s reserve fund will have $995,000 in its coffers.

Once the budget is finalized, city staff has set a June 8 deadline to present the completed budget to the commissioners for an official vote.

“Fiscal Year 2020 was quite a year,” Skelton said, noting that the first nine months of the fiscal year were great, tax revenues were looking good, but then the coronavirus “puts the brakes on everything.” Skelton also said the city was pretty much shielded from the worst of the pandemic, which was a blessing. And the city was also lucky, Skelton said, that so many restaurants here were able to transition to curbside and drive-through service instead of dine-in and make it through the pandemic successfully.

Though the city rescinded its plans to increase electrical service rates because of COVID-19, those changes will soon take effect.

Sales tax revenues are on track for an all-time record high, Skelton said, but he pointed out that the proposed budget was structured so that officials can back up and regroup in case the pandemic resurfaces and causes any further stay-at-home orders. “This will make it very easy for us to adjust (the figures) on the run,” he said.

Budget figures will also include a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase for city employees.

Skelton said the budget numbers take into account any losses that are expected from the coronavirus’ impact on the city. In his presentation, Skelton and Sallisaw Economic Development Director George Bormann also highlighted several positive things going on in the community, including the planned Veterans Center, expansions at the Aviagen plant, work on the wastewater treatment plant and more.

Bormann said groundbreaking on the Veterans Center is expected to begin in late summer or early fall. 

Skelton discussed various programs the city is planning, including the summer streets program, which is expected to continue this year. Skelton said the city is considering purchasing a small asphalt machine to make street repair easier for city crews. Mayor Ernie Martens liked that idea, and the commissioners urged Skelton to look into it further. “I feel like we can get a lot of use from a small (asphalt) machine,” Martens said, and it will save the city money to boot.

City sales tax numbers are good, Skelton said, though he pointed out that tax figures for May have not been released yet and may show a slight downward trend because of the coronavirus.

The Series 2013 bond issue and half-cent sales tax the city has in place could fund a swimming complex and other “quality-of-life” projects, Skelton said, and some of the funds could be earmarked for economic development projects.

A swimming complex is a priority for the city, Skelton said, and the bond issue, which expires in August 2023, should be put to a vote of the people whether or not to let the tax expire. Skelton said the bond’s renewal could provide funding for a new wastewater treatment plant in the city, something he says is vitally necessary.

Some projects city crews are working on include the 62-acre expansion of the landfill. Crews are measuring the groundwater table now and are working on the design. Crews are hoping to finish the project in about three years.

Other projects include the ongoing methane farm project, which has several attorneys working on the annexation of land near the landfill. Crews are also trying to create a leachate line to the city sewer system.

The city pool will open June 1 as planned, Skelton said.

Skelton also highlighted several projects and purchases the city was able to make last year, including the new Event Center, moving the Chamber of Commerce office, creating the new Splash Pad and remodeling at Stanley W. Tubbs Memorial Library and the City Hall’s lobby and more.

The walking trail at the city’s Sports Complex is nearly complete, Skelton said. He said construction was hampered by the flooding that occurred in May 2019 -- and the storm Friday that brought more than 4 inches of rain to the city in 90 minutes didn’t help, either, Skelton noted.

The city was also able to acquire necessary work equipment as well, with purchases including a water wagon for the landfill, a euthanization incinerator for the animal shelter, “Curbie” the trash truck and more.

In fiscal 2020, Sallisaw was named an honorary Purple Heart Community and received the military Order of the Purple Heart in recognition of the city’s commitment to military veterans.

The commissioners also held a 46-minute executive session to discuss Skelton’s performance as city manager. No details were available.

The meeting was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wheeler Event Center.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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