Cherokee City Council hears from citizens

Mayor Karen Hawkins called to order the Cherokee Development Authority meeting at 6 p.m., October 28. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation led by Jeremy Hickman, City Clerk Amber Wilhite called the roll. All five Cherokee Development Authority members answered the roll.

City Manager Mike Jones requested that the meeting be recessed so that Council members could go into the scheduled City Council meeting. David Collins moved for recess, and Adrienne Wessels seconded the motion. The motion carried, and the Cherokee Development Authority meeting went into recess at 6:05 p.m.

The City of Cherokee meeting was called to order at 6:05 p.m. City Clerk Amber Wilhite called the roll, and all Council members were present.

The Council considered approval of the minutes of the October 14 meeting. Wessels made a motion to approve, and Collins seconded the motion. The minutes were approved as presented.

The Council considered approval of the claims list. Wessels made a motion to approve, and Hickman seconded the motion. The claims list was approved.

Catelyn Jones and her three siblings appeared before the Council. Ms. Jones noted that Article 2 Division 1 Section 4-200A of the city ordinances includes a limitation of four adult domestic animals per household, but that there exists no such control over livestock within city limits. She stated that her family currently has three adult cats and one adult dog, but they wish to add a puppy to their family. Ms. Jones further stated that the existing animals are well-loved and cared for, and requested an increase in the limit. Collins stated that the original intent of the ordinance was to keep puppy mills out of Cherokee, and asked if the Council could grant an exception. City Manager Jones stated that the Council can change the ordinance by striking the first sentence of paragraph A of this particular ordinance. Hickman made a motion to strike the verbiage regarding the limit on adult domestic animals, and Miller seconded the motion. The motion passed.

The Council asked for any new business to be presented. Joe Woods and Damon Horne appeared before the council. Mr. Horne stated that his father had paid $500 cash to a previous City Manager for a piece of property on the north edge of his existing land, but had never received the title. Woods remembered loaning Mr. Horne $500 for this purchase some time ago. Horne has spoken with Jones regarding this issue. Mr. Jones can find no record of the receipt of the cash, but confirmed that the land in question is on the list of city-owned property and is for sale. Mr. Jones also stated that he has been unable to confirm the ownership of the mineral rights for this parcel of land. He then stated that this topic should be an actual agenda item. Miller made a motion that this issue be placed on the agenda for the next meeting, and Collins seconded the motion. The motion passed.

The Council considered convening into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing:

• The employment of Brock Phillips, including hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining, or resignation or best qualified candidate. This Executive Session is permitted by (25 O.S. 307 (B) (1)).

• Employee Benefits for personnel of the City of Cherokee: Jones, Seneca West, Ryan McNeil, Lloyd Cross, Andrew Stifter, and Ryan Hoggard.

Miller made a motion to convene into Executive Session, and Wessels seconded the motion. The Council moved into Executive Session at 6:25 p.m.

Following Executive Session, Wessels made a motion to return to regular session, and Hickman seconded the motion. The motion carried, and the Council returned to regular session at 6:40 p.m. Wessels made a motion to accept the resignation of Phillips and to hire a new officer; Hickman seconded that motion, and the motion carried. Wessels then made a motion to accept employee benefits as discussed in Executive Session, and Miller seconded that motion. The motion carried.

City Manager Jones presented his Manager’s Report. Due to scheduling conflicts the Watch Dog Committee has not met to consider recommendations from the Council. This committee should meet before the next scheduled meeting on November 18, 2020.

West is back at work, and all other city employees except for one have returned from COVID-19 quarantine; one part-time employee has tested positive for the virus, and is home recovering. Jones will be on leave Friday, October 30 to assist a family member with ice-storm cleanup.

Due to theft of equipment at Diamond Corrals, R.L. Wilson was given a special permit to put a locked gate across the right-of-way leading to the South water tower. City employees and contractors will have full access to this area, but without prior approval the general public will not be granted access.

The new police cars are still in Oklahoma City awaiting installation of prisoner partitions. Once those are installed, the cars will go to Alva for the application of emblems on the outside of the vehicles.

Under additional new business, Miller thanked city employees for their help in cleaning up for the recent cemetery tour. The Cherokee Historical Society raised $1,700 toward the purchase of new windows for the Cherokee Museum.

Wessels made a motion to adjourn, and Miller seconded the motion. The City of Cherokee meeting was adjourned and the meeting of the Cherokee Development Authority reconvened at 6:50 p.m.

The Authority considered the approval of the minutes from the October 14 meeting; Hickman moved for approval, and Miller seconded. The minutes were approved.

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

The CDA discussed and considered a quote of $24,000 from Northwest Electric for the installation of a new Generac Protector Diesel Liquid Cooled 50KW Genset with extended fuel tanks at the Cherokee lagoons. This was the only quote the city received. Jones recommended that the Authority accept this bid, as a working generator at the lagoons is critical to avoid sewage backing up all over town; he also recommended that we purchase the extended warranty on the equipment. Collins moved that we accept the bid, and Hickman seconded the motion. The bid was accepted.

The CDA discussed and considered a bid for $258,524.75 with additional additive alternative options from Stan’s Asphalt for Phase I of the Ohio Street reconstruction; this was the only bid received. City Manager Mike Jones stated that this bid is $106,000 over the engineering estimate, and he does not feel that we can afford this expense. AEC met on October 27 to decide if they will be partners on this project, but Mr. Jones has not heard the outcome of that meeting yet. The City Manager’s office is still working on a grant, and is hoping for more community partners, especially those contributing to the big truck traffic on Ohio Street. Collins made a motion to reject this bid, and Wessels seconded the motion. The bid was rejected.

The CDA considered convening into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing employee benefits for personnel of the City of Cherokee: Carolyn Mathis, Kendall Arganbright, Mike Cloyd, Matthew Tucker, and Amber Wilhite. Miller made a motion to enter Executive Session and Hickman seconded the motion. The CDA meeting entered into Executive Session at 7:00 p.m.

Miller made a motion to return to regular session, and Wessels seconded the motion. The CDA returned to regular session at 7:05 p.m. Wessels made a motion to approve employee benefits as discussed in Executive Session, and Miller seconded the motion. The motion passed.

City Manager Mike Jones stated that City offices will be temporarily closed at 2 p.m., Tuesday, November 3 to allow employees to attend the funeral of George Hoggard in support of Ryan Hoggard. Mr. Jones also mentioned that long-time City Clerk Esther Lingemann passed away. The City has sent flowers to the Hoggard and Lingemann families.

Collins moved to adjourn the meeting, and Miller seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:10 p.m.

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