Tahlequah City Council agreed to purchase a property using funding from the CARES Act in a meeting on December 7.
The board met in executive session for over an hour to discuss the purchase of a property at 124 W. Shawnee St.
Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron said the old Shawnee Street theater was being purchased to potentially build a new town hall where the parking lot is now located.
The property was listed for sale with Century 21 Wright Real Estate for $ 500,000, and Catron said the city could buy it for $ 325,000.
The property is owned by the Oklahoma Regional University System, which is prepared to negotiate a discount. Catron would like to buy the property from RUSO and sell it to the Tahlequah Regional Development Authority.
Ward 1 Councilor Bree Long brought forward the motion to purchase the property, while Ward 2 Councilor Dower Combs seconded it. Ward 4 Councilor Trae Ratliff voted against the purchase.
Tahlequah resident Bryce Felts asked the mayor to quote the cost of reducing asbestos in the building.
Catron said the estimated cost is close to $ 124,000.
Felts pointed out that the total cost of the purchase and repair was around $ 450,000.
“Yes, but we also have an appraisal of the land itself for $ 454,000 from a few years ago,” Catron said.
Officials briefed the public on the task force’s two teams and about COVID-19.
Long said the Crisis Task Force team continues to meet on the first and third Monday of every month.
“Both hospitals are continuing to test and the Cherokee Nation website indicates that as of Dec. 4, they had 6,223 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Cherokee Nation jurisdiction,” Long said. “Both health systems have the necessary resources and capacity and they continue to receive PPE items.”
Long said transmission rates are at the red level for Cherokee County.
“People also assume that the vaccine will fix everything quickly. The first early vaccines will mainly go to health workers and frontline first responders,” Long said. “Dr. [John] Galdamez from our Crisis Working Group is preparing an educational video that will inform our community about how the immunization distribution process and schedule will most likely play out. “
Ratliff, team leader for the Economy Recovery Task Force, said Oklahoma has the fourth-highest positivity rate in the United States.
“One worrying thing raised at our last meeting is that over the past six weeks in the state of Oklahoma there have been as many positive cases as there have been in the first six months. “said Ratliff. “I think that’s the only thing you need to take away from everything I’m saying in the next five minutes: the trend is up.”
Ratliff said he anticipates a larger spike in cases due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
“However, health officials predict that Oklahoma will be in 8,000 cases a day from the first week of January,” Ratliff said. “Everyone must continue to maintain their social distance, wear a mask, wash their hands, etc. “
Peggy Glenn, who chairs the city’s charter review committee, said the panel has met several times since the November election.
“[We] determined that at present, in reviewing the charter, there is a section 14 which essentially prohibits within a 12 month period the same issues being raised in a special election, or more than one special election, ” Glenn said. very careful, we will refrain from putting anything on the February special ballot. We will continue our work after this election, looking at other changes that, as we read the charter, probably should be made or proposed in the future. “
The five proposals were not counted after questions were asked about whether the voting metrics were released, as required by state law and the city charter. Instead, the proposals were used as an investigation.
Council approved City Administrator Alan Chapman’s Fleet Management Program.
“It’s not just about buying a vehicle. It’s about a fleet management program because something that you can see historically over the last 10 years, we spend an average of around $ 85,000. per year, ”said Chief Constable Nate King. “That number doesn’t really tell the truth because we don’t spend $ 85,000 a year on vehicles. We can spend $ 160,000 one year and $ 22,000 the next.”
The initial investment to implement the program will come from the COVID-19 Essential Services Fund. The program allows the TPD to unload the vehicles and reinvest these funds in the fleet.
“What we have found ourselves doing now is spending close to $ 40,000 this year for all vehicle maintenance,” King said. “We’ve already spent $ 30,000 on cars this fiscal year, and we have two in the police department, that would be $ 12,000 more there that we haven’t fixed yet.”
The program will update the TPD fleet to give agents reliable vehicles and reduce operating costs.
“This program is a way not only to update our fleet, but it is also a way to offload our fleet when these vehicles reach the end of their lifecycle,” King said. “This program would take our cycle for vehicles from 11 years to five years.”
King said the $ 40,000 per year for vehicle maintenance will be used to pay for new vehicles.
“What I really like about this program is the maintenance package; $ 32 per month per vehicle is basically a full coverage guarantee,” King said. “Apart from an oil change, that even includes a set of tires.”
The next Tahlequah City Council meeting will be on Thursday, December 17 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber.