Accusation of Kellyville town trustee as non-resident, possible grant for new police station

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Kellyville’s monthly Town Meeting took place on Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. All five trustees were present as were Town Attorney Clay Fees and Town Administrator Beverly Lucas. 

Kellyville City Hall

Trustee Bobby McGarrah asked the board to discuss the continued eligibility of board trustee Ed Pruitt, due to his alleged move out of the town of Kellyville. McGarrah said to Pruitt, “I was informed that you moved to a new home in Sapulpa and that that’s your permanent residence.” He cited Oklahoma Statute §11-8-101: Qualifications for elected office, which states, that “a municipal elected official shall be a resident and a registered voter of the municipality in which he serves…if [he] ceases to be a resident of the municipality, he shall thereupon cease to be an elected official of that municipality.”

Pruitt responded, “That is not my home. That is my wife’s home.” 

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Attorney Fees explained that the statute does not define a resident, and said that a resident is a person whose actual dwelling or primary residence is in the municipality. “We must dig further,” Fees stated, and ask, “what makes up a domicile? A domicile is a legal term for where you live, where you vote, where you get your mail. Is it a residence that you’ve lived in? If you have school-aged children, would they go to school in this district? If you visit elsewhere, do you have an intent to return? Those are the factors that go into determining residency and must be analyzed.” 

A discussion ensued where Pruitt was asked where he lives, votes, receives mail, etc. To all of these questions Pruitt responded, “Kellyville.” He said, “I live in Kellyville, I vote here, I get my mail here. I may visit other places–” at this point McGarrah interrupted him, saying, “But I know where you live, and it’s in Sapulpa.” Fees asked how he knew that, and McGarrah cited information obtained from a third party. Fees suggested that they “try to move forward” in the argument. 

Eventually McGarrah concluded, “If he can live with himself, then I can.” Fees clarified, “Based on [Pruitt’s] answers, I don’t think he is not a resident of Kellyville.” Trustee Russ Howard made a motion to end the discussion. This was unanimously approved by all five trustees, including McGarrah. 

The trustees also unanimously agreed to continue to give Lucas the authority and discretion to close any town buildings or public facilities she chooses due to the current pandemic. She said she recently made the decision to close the park and all town buildings again, because of the upswing in COVID-19 cases. Pruitt supported this, saying this is a situation that needs to be evaluated on a “day-by-day basis, not month-by-month,” and that waiting for the board of trustees to convene may be too late. 

Fire Chief Matt Staiger graciously declined the option to apply for an INCOG Rural Economic Action Program (REAP) grant, as Police Chief Shelly Garrett is applying on behalf of the police department. “There’s no need to compete,” Staiger explained. Garett said she has been working with Creek County Commissioner Newt Stephens and INCOG Rural Development Director Barbara Albritton on applying for a grant to build a new police station just west of Town Hall. Garrett said the application is due by October 16th and that they should know whether or not they have been approved around the beginning of next year. 

Lavida Properties, LLC has donated the building site for the new police department. They will receive a $10,000 tax credit for the donation of the property.

The trustees, Fees, and Lucas entered into executive session to discuss various personnel issues. Notably, Michele Covington, the former town clerk, will now be employed at the public library with Jackie Case, Lucas will take over Covington’s former duties as well as her own.  

The next regular Kellyville Town Meeting will be Tuesday, September 8th at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall at 410 East Buffalo.