Friday, March 12, 2021

Gore Town Meeting Has Rocky Start

The Town of Gore’s monthly meeting got off to a contentious start Tuesday night, when a board trustee was asked to leave.

City Attorney Doug Dry recommended that Trustee Ryan Callison not participate in the meeting after he discovered that Callison’s 9-acre property on Ray Fine Boulevard wasn’t annexed properly.

Town officials had asked Dry to look into the annexation of the property, and a records check found that documents sent in 2017 were never filed with Sequoyah County.

According to state statute, Dry said, the annexation required a full public hearing. However, he said, in this case, it was included as an agenda item and approved at a council meeting. Done properly, the issue should have been filed, then published for 14 days before being placed on the agenda and then given a public hearing.

Dry said that because of the problems with the annexation, he did not believe Callison should participate in Tuesday’s meeting. He recommended that Callison retain an attorney and start the annexation process over again before April’s meeting.

Gore’s CityClerk/Treasurer Kimberly Summerlin said Wednesday that at issue is a state statute requiring anyone filing for election in February to reside in city limits for at least 6 months before filing for election in February. Even though he has been a resident for many years, because Callison’s property isn’t properly annexed, Summerlin said, he is not considered a legal resident of the Town of Gore.

An angry Callison disputed his residency status, saying, “I want the people of Gore to know that I have loyally served for 15 years. This is pure politics and you can see right through it,” he said. “If you can’t see what’s going on here I think you should come out to these meetings and participate in this process. But out of respect for the people of Gore I will leave this meeting.”

In other business, the council heard from Aubrey Montgomery, the head of Gore Baseball Little League. With the season beginning next month, she said, the Steve Owens Sports Complex is in need of some improvements. “It’s pretty neglected,” she said.

She asked the city to purchase some crushed red-brick dirt for the three fields the group will be using this season, along with six new benches that will cost about $340 each. The purchase price for the benches only includes the materials, Montgomery said, because her father works at Indian Capital Technology Center and has agreed to donate the labor.

The council unanimously agreed to all of Montgomery’s requests, which also included another portable toilet at the sports facility. The city will continue mowing the grass, while Montgomery’s group will be responsible for placing lines on the fields.

In other business, the council discussed the town’s plans for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, set for Saturday, April 3. “I think our kids need it this year,” Mayor Bob Warren.The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 hunt. Cindy Erwin, who has organized past egg hunts, has agreed to handle this year’s event. The Town of Gore and the Gore Public Works Authority will each pitch in $500 to help out.

The panel also unanimously voted to hire Lisa Settlemyre as Gore’s new court clerk.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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