City council approves ordinances

The Cherokee Development Authority and the City of Cherokee councils met at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 23.

The meeting was called to order with Chris Padilla, Jeremy Hickman, Luke Hague, Adrienne Wessels and Mayor Kolby Arnold.

The consent agenda was approved first consisting of the minutes from June 9 and claims list.

Next, three ordinances were approved during the meeting.

They are as follows:

• Ordinance No. 2021-18: An Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Amending Chapters 17 And 18 Of The Cherokee Municipal Code 2020; Amending Section 17-208 By Making The Penalty Charge Ten Dollars Or 10% Of The Outstanding Balance, Whichever Is Greater, And By Eliminating Posted Door Hangars And The Accompanying Fee; Amending Section 17-209 By The Amendment Of Subsection D Increasing The Reconnection Fee To $75.00; Amending Section 17-209 By The Addition Of A New Subsection G Providing For An Insufficient Instrument Charge Of $25.00; Amending Section 17-209 By The Addition Of A New Subsection H Providing For A Transfer Fee; By The Addition Of A New Section 17-217 Entitled All Municipal Utility Rates Annually Subject To Increase Or Decrease In The Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers With A Minimum Amount; By The Amendment Of Chapter 18, Section 17-413 Amending The Water Rates Effective August 1, 2021 And January 1, 2022, And Increasing The Water Tap Fee; By The Amendment Of Chapter 18, Section 17-522 Amending The Sewer Rates Effective August 1, 2021 And January 1, 2022, And Increasing The Sewer Tap Fee; Amend Chapter 18, Section 17-601 By Increasing The Solid Waste Collection And Disposal Rates; Repealer; Savings; Codification· Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

Last meeting, the council approved rate changes for utilities and then a letter was sent out to the citizens with the changes to the rates.

The new rate for a 5/8”meter as of August 1, 2021 is as follows:

• For the first 3,000 gallons: $47.47 (base rates).

• For over 3,000 to 4,000 gallons: $4.

• For over 4,000 to 5,000 gallons: $4.25.

• In excess of 5,000 gallons: $4.50 per thousand gallons.

After January 1, 2022 the rates will be as follows:

• For the first 1,000 gallons: $47.47 (base rates).

• For over 1,000 to 2,000 gallons: $3.50.

• For over 2,000 to 3,000 gallons: $3.75.

• For over 3,000 to 4,000 gallons: $4.

• For over 4,000 to 5,000 gallons: $4.25.

• In excess of 5,000 gallons: $4.50 per thousand gallons.   

The sewer rates after August 1, 2021 will be as follows:

• Base rate to include 3,000 gallons: $16.34.

• For over 3,000 to 4,000 gallons: $3.50.

• For over 4,000 to 5,000 gallons: $3.75.

• In excess of 5,000 gallons: $4 per thousand gallons.

After January 1, 2022 the rates will be as follows:

• For the first 1,000 gallons: $16.34 (base rates).

• For over 1,000 to 2,000 gallons: $3.

• For over 2,000 to 3,000 gallons: $3.25.

• For over 3,000 to 4,000 gallons: $3.50.

• For over 4,000 to 5,000 gallons: $3.75.

• In excess of 5,000 gallons: $4 per thousand gallons.

There was also a rate increase for trash services.

The ordinance was approved with Hague voting no. It was also declared an emergency.

• Ordinance No. 2021-19: An Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Amending Chapters 2 Article 1, Section 2-113 Of The Cherokee Municipal Code 2020; Amending The Salaries Of Certain Public Officials; Repealer; Savings; Codification· Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

This ordinance will reflect the cost of living increases figured into the budget for employees.

The ordinance and declaring it an emergency were approved.

• Ordinance No. 2021-20: An Ordinance Amending The Employee Retirement System, Defined Benefit Plan For The City Of Cherokee & Cherokee Development Authority, Oklahoma; Providing Retirement benefits For Eligible Employee of the City Of Cherokee & Cherokee Development Authority, Oklahoma; Pertaining to Plan Options; Pertaining to Contributions by Participants; Providing for Employer Pickup Of Mandatory Contributions; Providing For Repealer And Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

This ordinance deals with retirement and benefits of city employees.

This ordinance and declaring it an emergency were approved.

City Manager Mike Jones gave his report:

• A letter describing the passed rate increase was mailed to each service address on June 17.

• ORWA is scheduled to be in Cherokee mid-July to conduct leak detection audit. Crews will be working at night.

• City crews are recording meter sizes from each service address, so the city can accurately charge customers appropriately, according ORWA water rate analysis.

• Vessel saddles and straps at RO plant are beginning to deteriorate due to age. Replacements have been ordered and will be installed upon arrival.

• Jones learned about a OWRA grant that is a no match that could pay up to $150,000. The city would like to use the grant to replace water shut off valves in town.

• An update was given on the American Relief Fund. The money was supposed to come to the state by June 12. If under 50,000 people the money was given in one payment. The money hasn’t came in yet, the state is trying to figure out some information due to Oklahoma towns and cities no receiving property taxes.

The Cherokee Development Authority adjourned following no new business.

The City of Cherokee was called to order.

The consent agenda was approved first as follows:

• Minutes from June 9 public hearing. The minutes were approved with changes.

• Minutes from June 9 regular meeting.

• Claims lists.

Next, the following ordinances were approved as follows:

• Ordinance 2021-18: An Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Amending Chapters 17 And 18 Of The Cherokee Municipal Code 2020; Amending Section 17-208 By Making The Penalty Charge Ten Dollars Or 10% Of The Outstanding Balance, Whichever Is Greater, And By Eliminating Posted Door Hangars And The Accompanying Fee; Amending Section 17-209 By The Amendment Of Subsection D Increasing The Reconnection Fee To $75.00; Amending Section 17-209 By The Addition Of A New Subsection G Providing For An Insufficient Instrument Charge Of $25.00; Amending Section 17-209 By The Addition Of A New Subsection H Providing For A Transfer Fee; By The Addition Of A New Section 17-217 Entitled All Municipal Utility Rates Annually Subject To Increase Or Decrease In The Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers With A Minimum Amount; By The Amendment Of Chapter 18, Section 17-413 Amending The Water Rates Effective August 1, 2021 And January 1, 2022, And Increasing The Water Tap Fee; By The Amendment Of Chapter 18, Section 17-522 Amending The Sewer Rates Effective August 1, 2021 And January 1, 2022, And Increasing The Sewer Tap Fee; Amend Chapter 18, Section 17-601 By Increasing The Solid Waste Collection And Disposal Rates; Repealer; Savings; Codification· Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

This item has to be on both agendas. The ordinance was approved with Hague voting no. Also approved was declaring it an emergency.

• Ordinance 2021-19: An Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Amending Chapters 2 Article 1, Section 2-113 Of The Cherokee Municipal Code 2020; Amending The Salaries Of Certain Public Officials; Repealer; Savings; Codification· Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

This item also had to be on both agendas. It was approved and declared an emergency.

• Ordinance 2021-20: An Ordinance Amending The Employee Retirement System, Defined Benefit Plan For The City Of Cherokee & Cherokee Development Authority, Oklahoma; Providing Retirement benefits For Eligible Employee of the City Of Cherokee & Cherokee Development Authority, Oklahoma; Pertaining to Plan Options; Pertaining to Contributions by Participants; Providing for Employer Pickup Of Mandatory Contributions; Providing For Repealer And Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

This item also had to be on both agendas. It was approved and declared an emergency.

• Ordinance 2021-21: An Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Cherokee, Oklahoma, Amending Chapter 10 Of The Cherokee Municipal Code 2020, By Prohibiting Marijuana Products At The Same Places And Location Where Tobacco And Vapor Products Are Prohibited; Providing For The Amendment Of Section 10-1007 Amending The Name Of The Ordinance; By The Amendment Of Section 10-007a Proving For The Definitions Of Tobacco-Free, Marijuana Products And Marijuana-Free; Amending Section 10-1007b To Prohibit Marijuana Products And Lighted Marijuana In Indoor And Outdoor Areas Owned Or Operated By The City And Providing For Other Prohibited Conduct; Amending Section 10-1007c Requiring Posting At The Entrance Of City Owned And Operated Property Notifying The Public That Such Property Is Marijuana Free And Providing That The Failure To Post Is Not A Defense To Prohibited Conduct; Amending Section 10-1007d Making Enforcement Applicable To Marijuana Products;   Repealer; Savings; Codification; Severability; And Declaring An Emergency.

After some review the ordinance was not up to code with Oklahoma law. This matches what the state law is.

This includes no cigarettes, vaping or marijuana within 15 foot of any exterior public doorway or any air intake of a restaurant.

All buildings and other properties, including indoor and outdoor areas, owned and operated by the City of Cherokee located within the Cherokee corporate limits, shall be entirely tobacco free to include all forms of tobacco products including vapor products and entirely marijuana-free to include all forms of marijuana products including vapor products using marijuana. No tobacco smoking or tobacco vaping or marijuana smoking or marijuana vaping shall be allowed within 25 feet of the entrance or exit of any building specified.

The ordinance states that law enforcement will ask the individual to put out what they are smoking and if they deny, then it is a ticket.

This does not include city sidewalks. They can smoke and vape on city sidewalks unless 15 feet from public entrances.

Hague and Wessels spoke against the cigarette part of the ordinance.

Arnold made the motion and Hickman seconded. Arnold, Hickman and Padilla voted in favor and Hague and Wessels voted no.

Declaring it an emergency was approved.

The final item of business was approving a resolution 2021-006, a resolution of the mayor and city commissioners of the City of Cherokee, Oklahoma, to execute authorizing OMAG to distribute escrow account funds to the City of Cherokee.

The escrow fund of $28,295.13 was approved to be used to pay on the 2021-2022 premiums.

Jones gave his manager’s report:

• Jones has his first meeting with Opportunities Inc.

• On June 16 Jones attended a Zoom meeting with the White House regarding upcoming legislation the White House is working on. The American Jobs Plan will be formally introduced in the upcoming months, but aides from the White House wanted to hear directly from municipal leaders regarding the needs in local communities.

• On June 18, the federal government adopted a new federal holiday, Juneteenth. Juneteenth is to be celebrate on June 19. This holiday will be included to the proposal to the council in December when they vote on the 2022 holiday calendar schedule.

• Jones will be attending the CMAO summer conference on July 21-23.

• The OML annual conference will be September 8-10. Jones will be attending along with Amber Wilhite and Mayor Arnold.

• There is growing interest in water areobics at the city pool. The city manager is exploring options to see if the program would be feasible.

• The city is waiting on secure software for internet service at the pool before allowing people to sign in.

• The John Deere Skid Steer was delivered on June 21.

• Police Chief Ryan McNeil was attending Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference. The conference was June 23-25 and was being held in Oklahoma City.

• The police department captured the suspect who had been breaking into vehicles. The suspect received several charges including a felony. The stolen items were recovered and the police are in the process of returning recovered property to victims.

The council thanked Jones for having the city spray for mosquitos.

Arnold brought up that a citizen had a problem with skunks living near their residence.

After hearing no new business the meeting adjourned.

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