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The Atoka City Council held their bimonthly meeting on Monday, November 16, 2020, at 6:00 p.m.
In attendance for the meeting were Mayor Brian Cathey, Vice-Mayor Diane McGee, Councilmembers Pat Turner, Coby Sherrill, and Erica Pogue, City Manager Danny Delay, City Clerk Joye Angel, City Attorney Pat Phelps, and Atoka City Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) Director Carol Ervin, and Sports Complex Manager Curtis Southern.
The Council began by approving the City Manager’s report. City Manager Danny Delay advised that the City Hall lobby will remain closed until further notice due to the increase in Covid cases.
Mayor Brian Cathey shared the Governor’s amended executive order with the Council. The order primarily affects State offices by implementing State employees wear masks. The order will also require restaurants to close indoor eating at 11:00 p.m. and sit tables six feet apart.
“Follow social distancing, wear a mask if you need too,” Cathey said. “Help your neighbors, help your community stay open.”
Former Deputy Clerk Phyllis Bates has been replaced as authorized signer for the City of Atoka accounts by Emily Saunders. Bates has transferred to a position in code enforcement.
A payment has been approved to the Weldon Construction Company for the finished concrete work on Johnson and 45th Infantry Park in the amount of $114,687.00.
The Atoka City Industrial Development Authority meeting was moved to the end of the evening due to the need for an executive session.
Sports Complex Manager Curtis Southern presented his report to the Council.
The last two tournaments of the year have fallen through; however, Southern stated he is planning for 2021 already. The team at the Complex have been working on general maintenance and upkeep.
A couple issues were pointed out to the Council. During the “trunk or treat” it was noticed how dark the parking lot was at the Complex. The second issue is the netting on the fields has started to come loose. Southern said they will require the use of the City’s bucket truck to reach the netting to fix.
A $28,000 quote was given to Southern to replace the netting. He is hoping the southern facing nets will last at least one more year before needing to be replaced. The Sports Complex Manager will look into ideas to fix the lighting, and nets in the new year.
Moving into the ACIDA meeting, Director Carol Ervin advised the Council on the steps taken by the Review Committee concerning declaring the Downtown Area a TIF District.
A TIF (Tax increment financing) District is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects.
The Review Committee for the TIF District is established by State laws and each taxing entity is represented, plus three members chosen from a list of seven names given by the Chairman.
If established, the current property value will serve as a baseline. Any increases during the life of the TIF will be reinvested into the area.
The Tax Increment Financing District will be presented to the planning and zoning committee before reaching the City Council for two public hearings planned for December.
Ervin advised the Council there will be a site visit in December. The company that will be visiting is one that had remained stagnant during the Covid shutdown.
The Director will be visiting with a plant, which has interest in coming to Atoka. This could put the rail project back on track.
Ervin attended a Southeastern Oklahoma event in Broken Bow recently.
The panelists at the event were comprised of site selectors and industrial partners looking to locate in southeastern Oklahoma or Oklahoma in general.
The panelists advised Ervin that southeastern Oklahoma has a reputation for being an area where their people do not want to live. The advice was to clean up the town.
“I realize that it’s people’s private property, but how you keep your yard should not be able to negatively impact me and it does,” Ervin commented. “It stops jobs, it stops redevelopment. It’s a big deal.”
Ervin went on to commend the City and its Citizens for the effort taken to begin cleaning up Atoka, and advised the benefits should be seen soon.