Atoka County Commissioner Meeting – Asking For A Sales Tax Increase
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The Atoka County Commissioner meeting was held on Monday, July 20, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. All in attendance for the meeting wore a mask.
Chairman Commissioner Shane Tomlinson, Vice-Chairman Gilbert Wilson, Commissioner Marvin Dale, County Clerk Christie Henry, Sheriff Tony Head, Treasurer Kim Harkey, Court Clerk April Maxey, Emergency Management Director Derrick Mixon, and EMS Director Randy Bryant were present.
The commissioners approved the blanket purchases which included: $300 to Walmart for supplies for District Two; $1,200 to Fugate for gravel for District One; and $35,000 to Cummins Construction for asphalt in District Three.
County Clerk Christie Henry advised the board of a check from a class action settlement in the amount of $4,812.10. The commissioners had been reimbursed earlier in the year for approximately $9,000.
Henry stated this should be the last of the reimbursement checks from worker’s comp.
District One completed tin horn repairs on Old Clayton Road in the amount of $11,690.32.
Atoka and Crystal Fire Departments list of officers have been chosen. For Crystal: David Isabelle, Janice Isabelle, Michael Mays, and Jackie Boren. For Atoka: Phillip Mead, Shane Daniel, Kelly Kennedy, and Derrick Mixon.
The Commissioners approved the last set of deferrals for District Three from the Welch State Bank.
A cooperative agreement with Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has been set up for the Atoka Health Department to receive payments from a lawsuit against several tobacco companies. Henry was unable to provide the dollar amount. This will be year one of five for these payments.
Henry informed the commissioners that her office has cleaned up the accounts for the districts to make things run smoother.
With the accounts itemized, the commissioners approved the transfer of funds into the Highway Fund to pay the Commissioner Secretary’s salary.
Sheriff Tony Head was given the go ahead to apply for two grants.
The first grant is available through the District Attorney Council to assist agencies in high crime rate areas to pay overtime for their employees. The grant is $35,000-$75,000 depending on the need. There is no match for this grant.
The second grant is through the USDA. Sheriff Head is requesting approximately $30,000 to upgrade his camera system and bullet proof vests. “Some of my guys’ vests are way out of date.” Head explained.
The grant will require a match, unknown at this time. The match will be paid from the Use Tax fund and the Sheriff’s Department will repay the commissioners.
Harmony Fire Department has been approved to apply for a grant from the USDA in the amount of $50,000 with a 25% match in the amount of $12,500.00.
With these funds the fire department plans to: buy self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) gear, new hand held radios, dry suits for their swift water rescue team, new bunker gear, and if funds permit a K-12 saw and Halogen tool.
Emergency Management Director Derrick Mixon advised the board that the State was no longer providing him with personal protective equipment (PPE). Mixon informed them that he did have PPE stockpiled should the Districts or courthouse staff need any.
The current COVID-19 count for Atoka County is 47 cases with 36 recoveries and 11 still active cases.
Commissioner Gilbert Wilson and EMS Director Randy Bryant spoke to the board about a possible one-quarter cent sales tax being added to the November ballot. The commissioners still govern the Atoka County EMS although the service did split from the Atoka County Hospital in 2006.
Bryant explained the EMS is currently operating in the red with three out of four ambulances having over 100,000 miles each.
The budget for the past year was 1.3 million, however, the EMS only has $942,000 for operations. The EMS has no money to upgrade equipment which is starting to fail them.
The commissioners asked the Atoka County EMS to speak to the hospital first. “Talk to the hospital to see if they’d take you back,” Commissioner Marvin Dale commented.
“A sales tax increase is a touchy subject.” Chairman Shane Tomlinson said. The commissioners agreed now was not the time to implement a sales tax increase, and asked the EMS director to speak about rejoining the hospital to restart that funding relationship.