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Okmulgee County schools are primed and ready for the 2015-2016 school year to begin. Details on the southern county schools, Henryetta, Wilson, and Dewar were highlighted in a previous article (here), this one will highlight Okmulgee, Beggs, Morris, and Preston.

Preston is set to begin on August 13 with a Teacher Meet and Greet on August 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Two new teachers have been hired in the elementary as well as a new high school science teacher.

Morris will have the kids returning on August 20 with an open house held on August 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. Beggs also begins on August 20, with their open house scheduled for August 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Okmulgee Public Schools will report back on August 6 with orientation for the Primary school on August 4 at 5:00 p.m.

According to the Okmulgee Primary School calendar, meet the teachers will begin for OES at 5:30 p.m. Freshman Orientation for Okmulgee High School will be held on July 30 at 5:45 p.m. at the Clell Warriner Theatre.

Manna Day will be held on August 1 at First Baptist Church in Okmulgee. Forms were available starting July 28.

On behalf of Okmulgee News Network, we wish all students a happy and productive school year.

Published in School News

TULSA, Okla. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, held a press conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 26, 2015 to announce provisions of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act (S. 1647) that will directly benefit the state and to announce growing Oklahoma support for the legislation.

Inhofe, along with EPW Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-Cali.) and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), introduced on Tuesday the DRIVE Act, a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill.
The following provisions in the DRIVE Act will directly benefit the state of Oklahoma:

Apportionment: Under the DRIVE Act, Oklahoma will receive roughly $657 million the first year the legislation is enacted, and an average increase of 3 percent each additional year over the life of the bill. In 2005, Senator Inhofe authored a highway reauthorization bill that ensured Oklahoma was no longer a donor state to the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act continues to guarantee that Oklahoma receives its gasoline taxes for Oklahoma roads and bridges.

Bridges: Oklahoma state and local governments will have more allocated funding for bridges both on and off the National Highway System, so Oklahoma can continue to address the many bridges across the state that are in need of repair or replacement. Furthermore, for bridges that have a higher level of risk, work can be done during the crucial summer construction season even if certain non-endangered bird species are present on the bridge.

National Freight Program: Establishes a freight program, which provides funds to improve goods movement, reducing costs and improving performance for businesses and individuals. Under this program, Oklahoma will receive $31 million in the first year after the legislation is enacted that will be dedicated to improving freight corridors and associated assets allowing for local businesses and farmers to transport products and materials more efficiently, cutting down costs for them and their consumers.

Assistance for major projects program (AMPP): Through this new program, Oklahoma will be able to compete for funding to address major projects of high importance to a community, a region, or the country. This will provide much needed funding for projects that are too big to get off the ground due to constraints on traditional funding. The program has a rural set-aside and equitable geographic distribution of funds.

Natural Gas provisions: Provides for the designation of natural gas fueling corridors to identify the needs and most vital locations for such fueling infrastructure. Oklahoma will be able to nominate facilities to be included in the corridors to be chosen by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, natural gas vehicles can be included as an authorized vehicle in HOV lanes if a state chooses to limit HOV lanes to designated vehicles. Furthermore, the bill includes a limited truck weight exemption for natural gas commercial vehicles to put them on an even competitive level with trucks that have lighter diesel engines.
Tribal transportation program: Grows the program by $10 million each year, starting at $460 million in year one. Decreases program management and oversight and project-related administrative expenses related to the tribal transportation program from 6% to 5% so more money can be used on roads and bridges. Increases the set-aside for high-priority tribal bridges from 2 percent to 3 percent. Authorizes a General Fund appropriation for a major project grant program for transportation projects on facilities owned by federal land management agencies or tribes.

Environmental streamlining: Builds on the streamlining provisions Senator Inhofe helped negotiate in the last highway reauthorization bill, MAP-21. Environmental streamlining will allow for the review, permitting, and approval processes to be conducted more efficiently, saving Oklahoma time and money when undertaking projects.

Service club, charitable association, or religious service signs: Grandfathers existing service club, charitable association, or religious service signs in all states with a size of 32 square feet or less.

To view a summary of the bill, CLICK HERE

The Oklahoma endorsements of the DRIVE Act are as follows:

“In Norman, we’ve seen the benefits that come from a long term highway and transportation re-authorization bill. The railroad underpass east of the intersection of Robinson and Flood Streets is a direct result of such legislation and we applaud and support Sen. Inhofe’s efforts to again bring forward a long term highway bill. Prior to having the underpass, emergency responders often faced the possibility of being stopped by a slow moving train while rushing to and from Norman Regional Hospital less than a mile away. This is no longer a concern as traffic moves smoothly under the railway, alleviating congestion and easing the concerns of the emergency workers who respond when time is of the essence. In addition, Norman has benefitted greatly from safety enhancements and congestion mitigation on Interstate 35 and State Highway 9. Traffic delays have been reduced significantly and fewer citizens have been injured in traffic collisions.” – Steve Lewis, city manager for the City of Norman

“Our transportation system is integral to growth and development of counties everywhere. I commend Senator Inhofe for his efforts on this highway bill as it will enhance the foundation of infrastructure in Tulsa County.” – John Smaligo, Jr., chairman of the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners.

“Long term and sustainable funding for the federal Highway Bill is imperative for the continued economic success of the City of Owasso, the Tulsa region, and all of Oklahoma. Completing the widening of U.S. 169 and completing 46th Street North to the Port of Catoosa will address significant safety concerns of deficient road and bridge infrastructure, and ensure positive economic returns in all areas of industry and commerce for the greater Owasso area.” – Warren Lehr, city manager for the City of Owasso

“Road builders across Oklahoma are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to work building our infrastructure. From the recent ramp closures on the crumbling I-44 Belle Isle Bridge in Oklahoma City to the rehabilitation of I-244 in Tulsa, our infrastructure is in perilous condition. Recently, the weather in Oklahoma has exposed an even greater need for a long-term funding solution for our nation's roads and bridges. With this new highway bill, we will be able to better plan for Oklahoma’s future, resulting in an infrastructure system that can safely network our nation. We commend and congratulate Sen. Inhofe for his tireless drive to forge a sustainable solution. His actions will not only build Oklahoma but will spur the economy and, most importantly, keep our families safe while traveling. Thank you, Sen. Inhofe, for making Oklahoma's roads and bridges a top priority.” – Bobby Stem, executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors
“Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic health and the reauthorization of the highway bill could not be more important. It was vital to an Oklahoma City project, the reconstruction of I-40 in Central Oklahoma City, that replaced a damaged, obsolete bridge with a safe freeway with a longer lifespan. Stable funding will allow communities across the nation to see these same improvements so that businesses can transport goods and travelers can move safely to their destinations.” – Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“I am pleased to hear Senator Inhofe is moving forward with the introduction of a long-term highway bill. Transportation investment greatly benefits all Oklahomans,” he said. “We applaud Senator Inhofe’s leadership to recognize the importance of this investment. The bill will help address the critical needs of our highways and other infrastructure, while providing safer roads, well-paying jobs, and supporting Oklahoma’s economy.” – Jim Duit, president of Duit Construction Company, Inc. in Edmond, Oklahoma

“The new Highway Trust Bill will help our Nation return to one of the basics of our highway system—moving freight. Upon completion of the interstate highway system authorized under the 1956 Highway Trust Bill, our country began emphasizing ancillary transportation items to include recreation with the development of such things as bicycle paths. It now, however, is critically important for us to move back to developing highway infrastructure to insure that we can move freight in a timely, efficient manner. This is critically important to inland, international seaports like our Tulsa Port of Catoosa that offers year round muti-modal freight services through truck, rail, and barge for an ever growing cargo volume—currently over 2 million tons per year. Since barges cannot go door to door, we must have adequate rail and roadways to deliver and/or receive products to and from barges. This is vitally important to the 70 industrial clients located here at the Port employing over 4,000 people. Our thanks to Senator Inhofe for leading our Nation back to the basics of furthering the development and maintenance of our roadway system in his capacity as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.” – Bob Portiss, port director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa

“We must have a long-term highway reauthorization bill because the nation’s highway and infrastructure system is the foundation of commerce, not just for the strength of our business but more importantly for our customers’ livelihoods. And in no uncertain terms, the number one concern we hear from our customers -- both professional truck drivers and traveling families -- is for safety on our country’s roadways.” – Tom Love, founder and executive chairman of Love’s Travel Stops

“Senator Inhofe has been a tireless champion of the need for and importance of investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The multi-year surface transportation re-authorization bill is critically important to providing stability and predictability in transportation funding and builds on the MAP-21 reforms with streamlining and flexibility features that will help to accelerate project delivery. We are encouraged that the action of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will spur attention on the too often delayed but most timely issue of transportation funding. Senator’s Inhofe leadership in this effort is to be commended.” – Rich Brierre, executive director of INCOG

“Surface transportation systems are vitally important to safety and prosperity not only in Oklahoma but across our Nation. The Highway Bill further enables the Southern Plains Transportation Center, based at the University of Oklahoma, to continue to develop new technologies and educate the workforce. Through the Center, OU, OSU and Langston University as well as other institutions serve the surrounding five-state region. Transportation professionals at state Departments of Transportation and in private businesses employ resulting best practices to design, develop and maintain our roads and bridges.” – Dr. Tom Landers, dean of University of Oklahoma’s College of Engineering Department

“OGE Energy counts safety in the work place and at home as one of its primary values. We’re pleased that the 2015 Highway Reauthorization Bill emphasizes safety by including funding for grade separation that could remediate dangerous rail crossings, something we face daily in our workplaces. We thank Chairman Inhofe for his vision in including this safety component in his bill, and encourage our entire delegation to support the legislation when it reaches their respective chambers.” – Randy Swanson, director of public affairs for OGE Energy Corp

“Enovation Controls applauds Senator Inhofe’s leadership to promote the use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas as a transportation fuel. This legislation is good for Oklahoma’s jobs and industry, as well as the environment and the nation as more natural gas powered commercial vehicles operate on our highways. We look forward to supporting this legislation and working with Senator Inhofe to ensure its passage.” – Patrick W. Cavanagh, president and chief executive officer of Enovation Controls

“A good, reliable infrastructure is vitally important to Oklahoma agriculture. We need safe and efficient roads and bridges to transport our valuable commodities to market. We applaud Sen. Inhofe for recognizing this need and for his continuing support of agriculture.” – Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau
“A long-term highway bill is great news for the energy industry in Oklahoma and across the nation. In order to access and move our product to all possible markets, we need reliable and up-to-date infrastructure. We support Senator Inhofe’s efforts in focusing on a freight program that can be used to identify and fund projects to help move energy from the ground to other points along the production line, and ultimately to consumers around the world.” – Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO Continental Resources

"A long term highway funding bill that upgrades and strengthens our nation's infrastructure and eliminates red tape is critical to a vibrant U.S. economy. American companies like Devon depend on reliable infrastructure to support jobs and the economy across our country." – John Richels, president and CEO of Devon Energy
“People forget that one of the main reasons Eisenhower set out to build the interstate system was for national security purposes. In order to have a well-supplied, trained, and responsive military, this nation needs a reliable and durable highway system. This is especially important for Oklahoma’s six military installations. From McAlester Army Ammunition Plant producing all general purpose bombs for our Navy and Air Force and Tinker Air Force Base that is home to the Air Force’s largest Air Logistics Complex, to the Army’s Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill and the critical training accomplished at Vance Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, and Camp Gruber Joint Maneuver Training Center, this long-term transportation bill and its focus on federal priorities is critical to our national security. Senator Inhofe’s leadership on transportation and national security is vital to not just to Oklahoma and Oklahomans but our nation all a whole.” – Randy Young, director of Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

“We have grown very stagnant during the last several years as our business has faced nothing but continuing resolutions to depend on to keep our employees working in the highway industry across Oklahoma and Arkansas. Plans to expand our business in Oklahoma City with new facilities are still on hold today which means our expansion dollars will not be spent until we have assurance that the revenue stream for funding will become consistent over several years at a time rather than six months at a time. All employees working in the highway industry rely heavily on overtime dollars and during a stable and consistent program properly funded we will average 50 to 60 hour work weeks, which means about a 20 percent increase over base pay rates. Now that there is the DRIVE Act, we urge for passage of this legislation that can mean more to not only Oklahoma but all of America. I appreciate that Senator Jim Inhofe and his colleagues are listening to those in the industry, and I hope more in Congress will believe the fact that a stable-funded infrastructure program across the country will immediately release the trigger for growth that today still sits stagnant. I urge Congress to pass this six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, and let’s rebuild our most valuable asset that any of us living in America have. It’s the right thing to do.” – Mike Webb, president of Manhattan Road and Bridge

Published in Political News

Area schools are gearing up for back to school. With the beginning of school rapidly approaching, teachers and administrators are getting back into the classrooms and back on schedule. ONN spoke with some schools in the southern part of the county today about their new line up of educational staff this year.

Dewar, Henryetta, Schulter and Wilson have all hired new teachers for the upcoming school year. Henryetta High School has hired Janet Osborn to teach high school science, Brian Grabman for math, Kristina Kimberlin will teach English, Amber Wetzel is Henryetta's newest special education teacher. William George will teach high school science, Karen Willis will teach choir, Clayton Vaughn and Aaron Wilson are the newest history teachers, who will also double as coaches, along with William George, under the direction of Henryetta's new athletic director Tim Gillespie.

Dewar has added these new teachers to their school, including facts teacher Vicki Clingan, Alicia Anderson who will teach both middle and high school English and math, and Glen Leist, the middle and high schools newest science teacher. 

Wilson elementary has hired two new teachers for their math and science programs, Mrs. Titsworth and Mrs. Mason.The lementary experienced minor flood damage during this lasts spring's rain, leading to a small remodel of a number of classrooms.  Open house for Wilson will be held on August 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. with the first day of school on August 10. Dewar will hold their open house on August 18 with students returning for the year on August 19. Henryetta will begin on August 20 with open house held the night before, August 19, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Schulter will have a new pre-k teacher, Mrs. Leah Lesley, and Mrs. Daniels will move teach the 3rd grade. Wilson also welcoming Mrs. Hill back on a part time basis to use her considerable reading skills to remediate our students who are struggling in reading. Schulter has a large number of new students, some transfers and some move-ins. It seems that this group of new students contains quite a few scholars and some excellent athletes as well. Schulter will begin their school year with a full schedule of junior high and high school fast pitch softball play. The girls are in the midst of a winning season.

First Day of School for these campuses will be:

Wilson August 10
Schulter August 11
Dewar August 19
Henryetta August 20

Look for more school news coming up on the northern Okmulgee county schools.

Published in School News
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 09:33

Mary Ann Thompson Burke obituary

Mary Ann Thompson Burke, Oklahoma City, died Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 in Oklahoma City.

Private interment service will be at Okmulgee, Oklahoma Cemetery under direction of Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Directors, Oklahoma City.

Mary Ann, Former Shawnee resident, was born October 8, 1922, the fourth daughter, fifth child of Robert D. and Martha C. Thompson, Okmulgee oil pioneers. She graduated from Okmulgee High School, William Woods College, Fulton, Missouri and Oklahoma University, Norman, Oklahoma. She worked for the Oklahoma Welfare Department as a social worker specializing in adoptions. She married Doyle M. Burke who was Chief Geologist and Manager at Viersen and Cochran of Okmulgee, Oklahoma. They settled in Shawnee, Oklahoma where they raised their son, Michael. Her husband Doyle preceded her in death in 1989. She was also preceded in death in 1999 by her second husband Charles Allen of Oklahoma City.

She was a member of First Christian Church, Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Survivors include her son Michael Burke and grandson Miles Burke, both of Oklahoma City and numerous nieces and nephews.

Published in Obituaries
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 09:25

Richard DeWayne Leafty obit

Richard DeWayne Leafty, a resident of Webbers Falls, passed away Monday, July 27th, 2015 at his home at the age of 71. He was born June 22nd, 1944 in Luther, Oklahoma to Edward Leafty and Jewell Belle (Watkins) Leafty. Richard retired from Boeing AirCraft as quality inspector. He married Glenna Sims January 17, 1964 in Chandler, Oklahoma.

He is preceded in death by a grandchild, two brothers, Leonard Leafty and Junior Leafty.

Richard is survived by his wife, Glenna Leafty of the home in Webbers Falls;
A son, Terry Leafty & wife Cathy of Odessa, Texas;
A daughter, LaWanda Finch & husband Tony of San Antonio;
Ten grandchildren;
Eleven great-grandchildren;
Four sisters, Mary Ellen Lakes of Webbers Falls;
Cathy Wells of Oklahoma City;
Leona Tiller of McCloud;
Mayoma Richter of Jones;
As well as a host of nieces, nephews, friends and other relatives.

Pallbearers will be, Terry Sparks, Jimmy Hamm, Junior Hamm, Charles Sims, Brent Dillard, & Jace Croslin.

Viewing will be 5-8pm Tuesday and 8am-8pm Wednesday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Thursday, July 30, 2015 at First Assembly of God Church in Webbers Falls with Rev. Bill Ashworth officiating. Interment will follow at Lackey Cemetery in Hitchita under direction of Integrity Funeral Service.

Published in Obituaries

The East Central Electric cooperative held their 2015 annual meeting on Thursday night on the OSUIT Okmulgee Campus. The meeting was open to all members of the ECE cooperative and those who registered their attendance at the event were given a $20 bill credit on their next electric bill.

Those who attended the meeting had a chance to vote for a change in the bylaws of the cooperative as well as cast their vote for District 2 and District 5 on the Board of Trustees. Lowell Hobbs, District 2, and Ed Kloeckler, District 5, both ran unopposed in the election.

East Central Electric services not only the Okmulgee area but service territory coverages roughly 3,000 square miles and includes portions of Creek, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties. It is the third largest cooperative in the state of Oklahoma. This was apparent by the turn out at the meeting, which also included a family fun day before the meeting began that featured inflatables, food, crafts, and games. OSUIT’s orthotics and prosthetics department sponsored games that encouraged children to try on the prosthetics and attempt to pick up small rings and relocate them to a hook to show the difficulties amputees struggle with in learning to use the prosthetic.

Prior to the meeting, the Oklahoma Round Up program awarded $1000 scholarships to area teens, including students from Beggs, Bixby, Bristow, Checotah, Dewar, Hilldale, Keifer, Liberty, Mason, Morris, Mounds, Okemah, Oktaha, and Eufaula.

At 6:55 p.m. the meeting was called to order with a flag salute led by the Creek Nation Color Guard and invocation led by Pastor Maurice Williams. Dr. Bill Path, President of OSUIT Okmulgee welcomed everyone to the meeting stating that OSUIT is Okmulgee’s Campus.

Three plaques were presented to the family of the late Jerry Rempe, who served 22 years on the Board of Trustees, as well as to Jimmy Eller who stepped down for the board for health reasons after 18 years on the Board. Rempe was also given a citation from the state of Oklahoma crediting his good works that was presented to his widow Rosemary by State Rep’s Steve Kouplin and Jerry Shoemake. Eller also received the same.

Rempe Award
The results of the Board of Trustees elections were returned with both Kloeckler and Hobbs serving another 3 year term. The results of the bylaw elections were returned with 724 in favor of the change and 279 opposed to the bylaw changes, 97 of the ballots were returned with the bylaw change bubble blank. These 97 blank ballots, those who voted for Board members but failed to vote for the changes in the bylaws, were not counted.

Throughout the evening, winners of a $100 prize, an iPad Mini, and the grand prize; a truck, were announced. Winners will be contacted and sent the prize money through the mail.

General Manager of ECE, Tim Smith, stated that as of Friday afternoon, they had yet to make contact with the grand prize winner Marine Daniels of Morris. East Central Electric offered special thanks forArkansas Electric, Green Country Power Line, Wallick Construction, Stuart C Irby, USIC, Northwest Transformer, McFarland Cascade, KAMO Power, QIB, H.D Supply, Associated Electric Co-op, OAEC, EDKO Llc, Techline,Inc, Diversified Electric Supply, Gordon Construction, Holleman’s, WFEC, Mabrey Bank, Cotton Electric Cooperative, and Riggs Tree Service.

Photos by Allen Gardner

Awards

Published in Okmulgee in the News
Friday, 24 July 2015 07:38

Harold Eugene Aldridge obit

Harold Eugene Aldridge, a resident of Broken Arrow, formerly of Hanna passed away Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at his home in Broken Arrow, OK at the age of 64. He was born February 16, 1949 in Lindsay, OK to Paul Leon Aldridge & Lavern Vera (Stokes) Aldridge. Harold was a member of the Asbury Methodist Church in Tulsa. He proudly served the United States during the Vietnam Era in the Army. For approximately 20 years, Harold owned and operated 3A Concrete Construction Company in the Lake Eufaula area. He retired from concrete construction after over 30 years of experienced and successful service.

Proud of his Cherokee heritage, Harold was the 2nd Inductee into Cherokee Warrior Society, he was a councilman of the Ouachita Cherokees of the Cherokee Nation West and he was an avid Native American Art collector.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents.

Harold is survived by his wife, Donna Carol Aldridge of the home,
his parents, Paul and Lavern Aldridge of Washington, OK,
son Richard Paul Aldridge and wife Julie of Broken Arrow,
son, Justin Jay Aldridge and wife Stephanie of Owasso, OK,
grandson, Rhett Austin Aldridge of Broken Arrow,
grandson, Jase Paul Aldridge of Owasso,
granddaughter, Elizabeth Cailyn Aldridge of Owasso,
brother, Carl Aldridge and wife Judy of Broken Arrow,
brother Allen Aldridge and wife Kathy of Hanna,
sister, Paula Penn & husband Richard of Moore,
sister, Pam Shannon & husband Jack of Blanchard, OK,
many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 PM, Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Integrity Chapel with Donald Malloy officiating. Services are under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.

Published in Obituaries

TerryWatkins

City councilman Terry Watkins addressed the council in line item R of the regular city council meeting July 21 in an open discussion concerning Okmulgee code enforcement ordinances. Watkins said he has been traveling around Okmulgee looking at eyesores where people do not clean up their properties.

Watkins said he has visited with the code enforcers and knows they are doing their job, but did not know if the council could come down a little harder to enforce more action.

City Councilman Rob Roberson said, “This is the same issue that comes up year after year.”

“I realize government goes slow, but I feel at some point we need to go after these people and make them aware that we have taken all we can stand and let people know that it is an issue and we are going to start taking stronger action,” Watkins said.

City Councilman Chris Azbel brought up the fact that it takes money to tear down structures and added that the city has doubled the tear down budget this year. "We can only do as many as money is available, so it becomes a issue of funds," said Azbel.

“The other issue is, citizens not taking pride in their community. If we can turn that mentality around, being poor and not mowing your yard is two different things. I was poor growing up, but we mowed our yard. Being prideful in your community is one of the number one things people were saying in a steering committee the other day is that people are not being prideful in their own town and their own property. If we can get people mindful of taking care of their properties it takes the city out of the deal. The city cannot do everything,” Azbel said.

“As we work on a strategic plan things are happening,” said Mayor Steve Baldridge. “We have made it a priority that highway 75 and the corridor would be commercial. We can possibly purchase these properties on 75 for development later.”

The mayor said around 300 houses have been torn down to date.

“Many of these properties have been abated, but usually they just sit there and sell for taxes and we have no way to recoup our money as that goes to taxes first,” said City Manager Roger Ballenger.

“We have a much more aggressive program than we had 20 years ago, we did not get here overnight and we will not get out of it overnight….right now we are limited by money on how much we can do by what the budget allows,” Ballenger continued.

Ballenger said, “We do put the pressure on them and take administrative steps and get some action, but then just to find ourselves in the same situation in 6 months," said Ballenger.

The mayor said he felt confident that they are focusing on all these problems at hand.

Watkins suggested bringing on more personnel.

“We can think of all these things we want to do, but it all takes money. Right now we are limited on staff and they are taking care of their own duties, our law enforcement is trying to take care of public safety. The reason we do not have meter maids to enforce parking is lack of funds,” said Ballenger.

“It all comes back to budget, the next time we are devising a budget plan, I would welcome all the input from the council to work out these problems, but we are coming out of a recession of 5 years. We are coming out of a downturn in the economy in our small town and we are doing amazingly well. I reported to you earlier this year that our reserve balance has gone down for 3 years in a row and it scares me to death. So every time we talk about, we need to do more, we need to hire more, we need to spend more, I kind of break out in a hive. We can talk about these things, but we are going into a new budget year, so don’t expect anything over and above to be done. However, next year we can plan when we put the new budget together. Hopefully our situation will look a little better, but we’ve been spending and budgeting like we are going up, but we haven’t been, we have bee depending on those reserve funds and it is getting pretty low, similar to what the school system is going through…what I am trying to resolve as your city manager is how do we make the numbers work,” Ballenger explained.

When more fines were discussed Ballenger said, “We don’t need to increase taxes, we need to increase tax payers,” Ballenger said.

Ballenger stated what it comes down to is when you get to the kitchen table, there are things you "would like to do" and there are things you "have to do" but when you sit down and crunch the numbers you figure out what "you can do".

CityCouncilJul21

Published in Okmulgee in the News

Okmulgee, Okla. -- All of the roadways in Okmulgee County that were effected by flooding rains over the last several days are now open and safe for travel.

Over a two period Okmulgee County had received amounts of rain that measures two to six inches n several areas of the county south of highway 16.

Here is a current listing of that were closed roadways - and are now open.

Sharp Rd west of Madison Rd
Hwy 62 and S. 310 Road
Dentonville Rd south of Hwy 16
Alt 75 north of the city of Beggs, at the Railroad bridge
Ash Rd between Mission and Prairie Bell Rd, South of the City of Okmulgee
Skyline Drive north of Hwy 62
Prairie Bell Road north of Hwy 62

We than the public for their reporting of flooding conditions and cooperation when road were closed.

Published in Okmulgee in the News

Okmulgee County Emergency Management is pleased to announce that a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (MDRC) will open in Okmulgee County. This is to help individuals and business owners who were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding and tornadoes occurring May 5 through June 4.

The Okmulgee County MDRC will be open at during two five day time periods:

Location: Green Country Technology Center.
Building #3, 1100 N. Hwy.56 Loop, Okmulgee, OK 74447

Dates: July 23 - 28, 2015 and then on August 6 -11, 2015

Hours: Thursday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.;
Then Friday, Saturday, Monday & Tuesday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
and on Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

You need to act quickly to apply for disaster assistance. Reminder: Individuals and business owners may also to apply for Individual Assistance via:

Phone: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)      Web: www.disasterassistance.gov

MDRCs are one-stop shops where survivors can get information and guidance about what disaster assistance may be available.  Information from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other federal agencies and volunteer organizations is available at these recovery centers.

Published in Statewide News
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