City council holds bi-monthly meeting

Mayor Karen Hawkins called to order the Cherokee Development Authority meeting at 6 p.m., September 23. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation led by Lance Miller, the roll was called. Karen Hawkins, Adrienne Wessels and Lance Miller answered the roll; David Collins and Jeremy Hickman were absent. Hawkins tabled the minutes from the September 9 meeting since Wessels did not attend that meeting and could not vote.

Following review of the claims list, Miller made a motion to accept the list, and Wessels seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Mike Jones presented the Manager’s Report. The water tower has been inspected, and it was found to be in fairly good shape. The tower was built in 1910 (Mr. Jones noted that this was actually before the Titanic was built), and will need paint on the inside and the outside within the next three years, due to minor rusting.

Mr. Jones attended a meeting with the Department of Environmental Quality on September 14 regarding our Master Water Plan. In order to be allowed to blend fresh water with water from the reverse osmosis system, which would save a significant amount of money in the cost of chemicals, Cherokee must meet three measures. The depth of the well casing must be greater than 20 feet; we have met this measure. Secondly, we must perform additional testing every two weeks for six months; we have initiated this measure, and will continue to do the additional testing. Thirdly, Cherokee must bring all well houses up to current regulations of rural water standards. Currently, the well houses are not in good shape. The city is doing a cost analysis to determine if it is fiscally worth it to bring the well houses up to regulation.

Bids for the repair of Ohio Street have been extended, and will close on September 29.

The city has been approved for the ODOT sidewalk project, resulting in a grant of $552,000. Phase I, installing a sidewalk on the west side of Grand from 12th Street to Jiffy Trip (and possibly to Dollar General), should be completed in 2022. Phase II, which will add sidewalks on the east side of Grand from 4th Street to 12th Street as well as a street crossing at 12th Street, is scheduled to be complete by 2024. The City will need to commit to removing several large trees along Grand Avenue in order for Phase II to be completed. Once all of the sidewalks are finished, Cherokee will be a “walkable community.”

The lagoon generator is still not functioning properly, in spite of approximately $8,000 spent in repairs over the last couple of years. The current generator is an industrial unit, and Clifford Power is the only company in the area that is approved to work on this particular unit; their rates are high and customer service is not good. Changing over to a commercial unit would cost approximately $14,500, but the city could use local electricians for maintenance and repair. Mike Jones will solicit bids for a new unit.

There was no new business to be discussed. Miller moved to adjourn the meeting, and Wessels seconded. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:17 pm.

The Cherokee City Council meeting on August 12, 2020 was called to order at 6:17 pm. Hawkins, Wessels and Lance answered the roll; Collins and Hickman were absent. Hawkins tabled the minutes from the September 9 meeting since Wessels did not attend that meeting and could not vote.

Following review of the claims list, Wessels made a motion to accept the list, and Miller seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Mike Jones reported that City Clerk Amber Wilhite had called all banks in the NW Oklahoma area, and the best we could get on our Certificates of Deposit was 1%; all CDs have been transferred to that plan. Per the City Charter, however, they should have solicited bids for their investments. The City Attorney believes that our current position can be defended, since all banks in the area were contacted. The Council took no action on this issue.

The Council considered Ordinance 2020-007, amending the Cherokee Municipal Code 2020 and allowing Cherokee Main Street to handle all fees and licenses for Main Street sponsored events. Current code requires non-profit vendors to complete applications with Cherokee Main Street and the City of Cherokee, which is needless duplication of effort. Approval of this change will eliminate this extra step for vendors; Main Street will handle their own event applications, and the City of Cherokee will handle all others. Wessels made a motion to accept this change, and Miller seconded the motion; the motion carried. Miller made a motion to declare this change an emergency, and Wessels seconded the motion. The motion carried.

City Manager Mike Jones presented the Manager’s Report. The Cherokee Main Street banquet will be held on September 28; Jason Paris will provide the program. The October Stroll is scheduled for Saturday, October 3; this event will include the fireman’s pancake breakfast, free airplane rides for certain age groups, the car show, and vendors.

Jones, Wilhite and Ryan McNeil will attend online training September 30 – October 2.

The City Librarian is still out of the office, and the City is considering hiring a part-time employee to help in the library.

There are currently eight active cases of COVID-19 in Cherokee; nobody on the City payroll has tested positive. The city will continue to sanitize City Hall regularly.

The carrier bearing and center support bearing went out on the utility truck; it has been repaired and is back in service. The city will be contracting with Metcalf Land and Lawn out of Enid to complete the second round of spraying for weeds in the Cherokee Cemetery. The alternator in the tractor went out. Parts have been ordered and the tractor should be back in service by the end of the week.

The Fire Department reported that there are problems with the sewer after the sump pump was replaced; we are assessing the problem at this time. Annual pump testing on all fire trucks took place on September 23, and all trucks are in good working order. K&J Construction LLC will be power washing and painting the east outside wall of the fire department to address mold and to protect the building. There are some minor cracks in the wall which are allowing rain to leak in; this will be repaired following the power wash.

The new police vehicles have been built; one is already in OKC and the other two will be transferred to OKC next week to have additional equipment installed. Once this happens, they will go to Alva to have graphics applied. The new vehicles should be in service within the next three weeks. The city will surplus the old vehicles. They have ordered two new radars, so all four vehicles will have working radars installed.

The city has learned that the State of Oklahoma will reimburse for mileage used when conducting mental health transports to treatment. To date we have been reimbursed for $512.91 for transports conducted in 2020.

Fine revenues total $15,750 through September 20; these fines are mostly for grass and weeds and dilapidated buildings. The money will be applied to the cost of the new police vehicles.

Under new business, Miller asked City Manager Jones about the feasibility of the City purchasing its own sprayer. Mr. Jones is considering this move; he believes that a City sprayer would pay for itself in 1.5 years in the savings gained by no longer outsourcing spraying projects. It would require a license to spray pesticide and herbicide.

Wessels made a motion to adjourn, and Miller seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

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