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By Joye Angel
In the past two weeks, I have been very impressed by the City’s workforce. The City’s very fortunate to have such a good group of employees.
During this time, I am making my way around to visit with each Supervisor to find out more about their department and needs. It has been both interesting and informative. We are working to identify the highest priority projects along with ways to trim expenses.
The Atoka City Hall lobby reopened on Monday, June 1, 2020. We are taking safety precautions to protect both our employees, and citizens. The lobby floor has been marked off for social distancing and only four people are allowed in City Hall at a time.
We also require face masks to enter City Hall and employees are sanitizing after each person. The public still has the option to utilize the drop box on the side of the building for their payments or they have the option to pay their bill online at paystation.com.
The Atoka Police Department lobby area reopened on June 1 as well.
The Parks Department installed an insert in the Municipal Court Clerk’s payment/service window as part of the preparations for reopening the lobby area.
We met with Brandon Wall with Wall Engineering to finalize the water plant project. We anticipate this project will be advertised for bids later this month.
The plant is running an average of eight hours per day and producing an average of 400,000 gallons per day. The installation of the butterfly valve was completed by Howard Construction. A vault will be installed around the valve to give employees access to work on the lines while protecting the lines from the elements.
We have been coordinating with the contractor on the water meter project. They are currently finishing up a project in another community and will be moving to Atoka once that is completed.
We have been working with the software company to get ready for the meter swap. Door knockers were ordered for each location informing the resident about the meter change. The billing department will also be updating our customer records with this new information.
The Atoka Municipal Airport is open. The payment contractor has completed the crack and seal repair and remarked the runway. The electrical contractor is still working on the new runway lighting. This project should be completed by the end of June. The notice to airmen (NOTAM) has been lifted on the runway closure, but the NOTAM is still in effect for the runway lighting not being operational. The precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights have been installed, but will not be turned on until commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The City received a $30,000 grant from the FAA through the CARES Act for the Atoka Municipal Airport. This is a 100% grant with no match. This grant will provide a much needed upgrade to the fueling system at the airport. The current system was purchased in 2005 and in the last few years it has had several operational issues.
We met with the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust (OCWUT) and contractor regarding the Atoka Lake Boat Ramp Project. This project is scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks and the Atoka will be assisting OCWUT with local oversight.
We are working to apply for a $52,000 REAP grant. The project for this grant is to replace an existing wastewater line in the alleyway between Velma Avenue and Melba Avenue. This is one of the problem areas we have identified that utilizes our resources on a regular basis.
They are currently working to reduce the sludge content at the Wastewater Plant. There have been some issues with the Lift Station at the plant. This is one of the priority items we have identified and we will be looking for funding to mitigate these issues.
The Capital Improvement Crew has been cleaning out alleyways, cutting brush and repairing streets this week. The street sweeper is also operating daily, in the early morning hours, to keep our streets looking nice and clean.
I would like to commend the Capital Improvement Crew for their excellent work blocking off the streets and getting the vehicles to relocate off of Court Street during the Unity Group Protest and 2A Rally last Saturday, June 6.
The Water/Sewer Maintenance Crew assisted the Capital Improvement Crew with hauling brush.
In addition, they assisted the Wastewater Plant with the issues at the Lift Station. The Crew also worked on numerous sewer issues and water leaks.
The Parks Crew has been mowing all of the city properties, right-of-ways, and medians. It is taking a little longer to complete the mowing due to equipment issues. They are operating without one mower and two weed eaters. The Crew also started the repainting of the curbs, parking spaces and crosswalks on Court Street.
They are working to complete this project in the early morning hours to cause minimal disturbance to the citizens and businesses downtown.
The Code Enforcement Department will be meeting with the City Attorney to discuss processes and requirements regarding dilapidated properties, demolition, weeds and grass. Once all of this is in place, this department will begin addressing complaint areas.
The Atoka Police Department general activity report for the reporting period of May 27 to June 9, 2020.
The Police Department responded to 283 disturbance and “other” calls for service and related incidents/actions (this does not include traffic stops or traffic contacts). There were 10 municipal prisoners booked into the Atoka County Jail and eight Municipal Court Arrest Warrant(s) served.
There were 22 Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Offense Reports filed in the Municipal Clerk’s Office and two Official Collision Reports filed in the Municipal Clerk’s Office.
There was one Emergency Detention (Mental Health). After initial evaluations and eventual medical clearances at the Atoka County Medical Center, the subject was transported to a mental health facility in McAlester.
The new personal body armor for the Police Officers was received. The department body armor is replaced every five years and was purchased from Gall’s Inc. utilizing the Oklahoma State Contract pricing. We have applied for a federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant that is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to pay fifty percent of the total project purchase amount.
A TASER X2 training and certification class was held at the police department. The training, which is CLEET accredited, was conducted by the department’s TASER Instructors. Following the training class, the Patrolmen successfully passed the testing requirements and each received exposure to the device.
All fifteen full-time and one part-time Atoka Police Officers participated in the Unity Group Protest and “2A” (Second Amendment) Rally in downtown Atoka. All officers were on duty for several hours and were assisted by Officers from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Atoka County Sheriffs Department, Stringtown Police and Tushka Police Departments.
In all, at least forty officers provided traffic control and security for the two simultaneous events. I have received numerous compliments pertaining to our Officers and Police Department and would like to commend them for their dedication and service to the citizens of Atoka.
The Atoka Fire Department responded to ten (10) incidents during the month of May. There are currently twenty-one (21) volunteer firefighters that are part of this department. The Department also participates in events throughout the community.