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The Atoka City Council members met for their first meeting of December on Monday, December 7, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall.
Mayor Brian Cathey, Vice-Mayor Diane McGee, Councilmembers Coby Sherrill, Erica Pogue, and Pat Turner, City Manager Danny Delay, Deputy City Clerk Emily Saunders, City Treasurer Kelly Ingrum, City Attorney Pat Phelps, Atoka City Industrial Development Authority Director Carol Ervin, and Sports Complex Manager Curtis Southern were in attendance for the meeting.
The meeting began with an open public hearing to discuss the 2021 Fiscal Year Budget for the City of Atoka. The projected budget estimate is roughly $2.4 million dollars.
City Manager Danny Delay and Treasurer Kelly Ingrum answered any questions the Councilmembers had which included the difference in income compared to the previous year.
“We cannot budget for grants, due to it being federal funds, and that is where a portion of funding comes from.” Ingrum explained.
After the public hearing closed, the council waited to vote on the approval of the budget.
Mayor Cathey moved onto an agenda item to discuss the appropriation of funds for condemned and dilapidated properties.
Mayor Cathey explained that these funds will only be used after every avenue has been exhausted. The Council approved the moving of $100,000 from the School Tax Account by a vote of four to one, Councilmember Pogue voted no.
These are not funds that will be taken from the school, and is a one time transfer. The City of Atoka receives a percentage of taxes gathered by the school district which is deposited into the School Tax Account.
After the approval of the appropriation, the Council voted to approve the 2021 Fiscal Year Budget, and passed resolution No. 2020-22 which outlines the City’s adoption of said budget.
The Council voted to approve an amendment to Ordinance No. 570 which will change the zoning, planning, and development regulations creating a Central Business District. It will define the purposes and boundaries of the Central Business District.
The amendments to the Ordinance fall in line with the Review Committee’s outline for creating a TIF District (Tax Increment Financing) in the Downtown area.
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.
The Indiana Avenue watermain rehab was approved to begin. Wall Engineering will start the process of designing, bidding, and construction services on the project. Wall’s services have been approved for $60,110.00.
City Manager Danny Delay reminded the Council he has applied for a grant to partially cover the cost of the repairs.
Councilmember Coby Sherrill approached the topic of building a public splash pad for the City’s children.
“Before we know it it’ll be summer again,” Sherrill said. “I don’t want it to pass us by again without having something for the kids.”
Sherrill proposed the splash pad be built at the Atoka Sports Complex to help promote the Complex and benefit the City Lake during the summer months.
The item was tabled until Mayor Cathey can schedule a presentation from potential contractors. Several of the Councilmembers had questions regarding design, safety, and water resources that required a professional’s expertise.
The City of Atoka will not issue a mask mandate and will continue to follow the guidelines set by Governor Stitt.
Mayor Cathey informed the council and public that the Atoka Hospital is at capacity, much like hospitals across Oklahoma.
The Choctaw Nation has donated 30,000 masks for the emergency personnel and citizens of Atoka. City Emergency Management Director Dr. Roger Holly and Atoka County Emergency Management Director Derrick Mixon are currently working to divide the masks.
The City of Atoka will announce when and where citizens can receive masks once they are made available.