City council holds public hearing

The Cherokee City Council held a public meeting on October 14 to receive public input on the use of $50,000 from the proceeds of the Cherokee Electrical System Sale Fund to be used as local match funding for calendar year 2020 as follows: $40,000 to be used for Safe Routes To School Project and $10,000 to be used for the Ohio Street Improvement Project. Although this grant is not due until January, the Council wanted to ensure that all the details are complete well before then.

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Karen Hawkins at 5:45 p.m. Mayor Hawkins, Adrienne Wessels and David Collins answered roll; Lance Miller arrived shortly after that.

There being no public comments offered, Wessels moved for adjournment and Collins seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

Mayor Hawkins called to order the Cherokee Development Authority meeting at 6 p.m., October 14. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation led by Miller, City Clerk Amber Wilhite called the roll. All five Cherokee Development Authority members answered the roll.

The Authority considered the approval of the minutes from the September 9 meeting; Collins moved for approval, and Miller seconded. The minutes were approved with Jeremy Hickman and Wessels abstaining due to being absent that night.

The Authority considered the approval of the minutes from the September 23 meeting; Wessels moved for approval, and Miller seconded. The minutes were approved with Hickman and Collins abstaining due to being absent that night.

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

Tracy Reed of R.S. Meacham CPA presented the financial report from September. Revenues continue to come in above budget, and there are no real concerns. Wessels moved for approval of the report, and Collins seconded the motion. The September financial report was approved.

The Authority discussed Resolution 2020-009, a resolution of the City council of the City of Cherokee and the Cherokee Development Authority, concerning funding pursuant to the Cares Act and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, confirming that it is the policy of the City that all public safety personnel costs are substantially dedicated to the COVID-19 response efforts of the City throughout the ongoing state of emergency.

This resolution is similar to one approved earlier this year; this one covers the entire amount of the Cares Act grant. Wessels made a motion to approve the resolution, and Collins seconded the motion. The resolution was approved.

The Authority discussed approval of a quote of $3,500 from Parkhill Smith and Cooper (formerly Cardinal Engineering) for providing engineering services for the proposed Cherokee water meter system. Approval is simply a required step to qualify for the grant, which will provide up to $135,000 for new water meters for the entire city.

The Authority considered the appropriation and use of $50,000 from the proceeds of the Cherokee Electrical System Sale Fund to be used as a local match as described in the public hearing held immediately prior to the CDA meeting. City Manager Mike Jones recommended that this issue be approved; the city’s current water meter system is inadequate, and replacement of all meters will ensure that all citizens are properly charged for the amount of water used. Miller moved that this appropriation and use be approved, and Wessels seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Jones discussed the scheduling of meetings during November. As it stands, the first scheduled meeting of the CDA falls on Veteran’s Day, which is a federal holiday; the second scheduled meeting falls on November 25, which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Mayor Hawkins suggested that the CDA meet once in November, on the 18th, due to the holiday dates. Wessels made a motion to reschedule for one meeting on November 18, and Collins seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Jones presented the Manager’s Report. The application for the NODA REAP Grant was submitted October 14. If approved, this grant will pay for the construction of a 12” waterline from the High School to the Elementary School, to include the Sports Complex.

Mr. Jones will meet on October 15 with representatives of a company whose specialty is the installation of water meter systems. This company is the oldest water meter business in the world; they are headquartered in Germany, and have recently branched out to the United States.

Mr. Jones has contacted six companies for quotes to replace the emergency generator at the lagoons. Only two companies responded; the city has a quote from one, and is waiting for the quote from the second company. Mr. Jones hopes that he will be able to present bids at the next meeting.

The Master Water Plan is scheduled to be completed by November 2.

The bridge on 2nd Street has been completed by K&J Construction. Costs for this exceeded estimates because the bridge was in worse shape than originally believed. K&J called Mr. Jones out three times during the process to discuss unforeseen problems. The final cost of bridge repair came to $6,000 for labor and $3,500 for materials.

There was no new business to be discussed. Wessels moved to adjourn the meeting, and Hickman seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:28 p.m.

The Cherokee City Council meeting at 6:28 p.m., October 14, 2020 was called to order. All Council members answered the roll.

The Council considered the approval of the minutes from the September 9 meeting; Collins moved for approval, and Miller seconded. The minutes were approved with Hickman and Wessels abstaining due to being absent that night.

The Council considered the approval of the minutes from the September 23 meeting; Wessels moved for approval, and Miller seconded. The minutes were approved with Hickman and Collins abstaining due to being absent that night.

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

Reed of R.S. Meacham CPA presented the financial report from September. Revenues continue to come in above budget, and we are ahead overall. Receipts of sales tax are down $5,700 from this time last year, but use taxes are up $12,000 from this time last year. Collins moved for approval of the report, and Hickman seconded the motion. The September financial report was approved.

The Council considered the appropriation and use of $50,000 from the proceeds of the Cherokee Electrical System Sale Fund to be used as a local match as described in the public hearing held immediately prior to the CDA meeting. City Manager Mike Jones recommended that this issue be approved; the city’s current water meter system is inadequate, and replacement of all meters will ensure that all citizens are properly charged for the amount of water used. Hickman moved that this appropriation and use be approved, and Miller seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Mike Jones again discussed the scheduling of meetings during November. Wessels made a motion to reschedule for one meeting on November 18, and Hickman seconded the motion. The motion carried.

City Manager Mike Jones presented the Manager’s Report. The bridge repair on 2nd Street is complete; K&J Construction did an excellent job on it. The city has only received one bid for the Ohio Street reconstruction; this bid is $90,000 over estimated cost. Four companies promised to bid; the one bid received doubled the estimated cost of asphalt. The City has 60 days to accept the project. Mr. Jones is looking at other options, and will have additional information at the next meeting.

On October 6, a deposition hearing for Reitz vs. Roberts took place. This case concerns the location of a carport. During a break at the deposition, the parties made a verbal agreement regarding moving the carport back.

Mr. Jones attended an initial meeting with web designers from Main Street regarding the creation of a City of Cherokee website. The website is critical to the task of drawing new businesses and citizens to relocate in Cherokee.

The City has begun selling 2021 Golf Cart/UTV registrations and pet licenses. These will be in effect through December 2021.

The City Librarian is still out of the office, and the City is has hired a part-time employee, Todd Swafford, to help Nancy Harmon in the library. Seneca West is hoping to return half-days on October 19.

One City employee is in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, and one is quarantined while waiting for test results. The City is following OK Department of Health guidelines carefully.

The City’s Chevy Colorado has been inspected for damage following an accident.

The City has replaced a section of sewer line linked to the Fire Department; a bend in the line was causing gas to back up, which caused a nasty odor in the building.

Jones commended the Cherokee Volunteer Fire Department on their professionalism in assisting first responders following the October 11 vehicle accident involving several local youth. Beginning in November, volunteers will be taking an 8-week course to qualify as first responders (not EMTs).

The Cherokee Police Department has received an iPad from the Department of Mental Health; it will allow online evaluations.

The new police vehicles are all in OKC to have additional equipment installed. Once this happens, they will go to Alva to have graphics put on. The new vehicles should be in service within the next two weeks.

The rear window in the Dodge Charger was recently shattered. The vehicle will be taken to Alva for repair of the window and the rear fender, which was damaged already.

Ryan McNeil presented the monthly Public Safety Report. During September, the Police Department responded to or initiated 173 service calls. There were 36 criminal violations, collisions and other incidents, resulting in 31 reports being generated for various drug, theft, and abuse violations. Officers made five arrests.

During September, the police department made six traffic stops and one investigative stop, and issued 13 municipal citations and five verbal warnings. Police have brought in $16,053.45 through citations and court fees.

City Clerk Wilhite reported the sale of one contractor’s license, four peddlar’s licenses, four building permits and one animal permit during September.

Jones clarified that only citizens of Cherokee are allowed to dump limbs in the lagoons, and they must be escorted by a city employee.

Collins made a motion to adjourn, and Hickman seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

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