BOCC to disburse ARPA funds for aerial survey of County, new mobile safety app, large water tank

At the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Monday morning, a request from the Assessor’s Office to use ARPA funds to provide one-time flyover high-resolution imagery to survey the entire county for $74,720 was approved. 

Jonathan Ballard was there to represent EagleView, an aerial imagery company, that currently services 30 out of 77 counties in Oklahoma, giving them high-definition aerial views of territory. Ballard boasted their worst resolution was better than even Google’s best resolution, with EagleView proudly having a 9-inch resolution as their ‘worst’. A 9-inch resolution means that in an image comprised of digital pixels, one pixel represents nine inches of land. They also have 6-inch and 3-inch resolutions available. EagleView uses an oblique image instead of a top-down view, allowing users to see every side of a building including windows, doors, and around fences. Ballard said winter is the best time for these projects, as trees aren’t obscuring anything on the ground with their leaves.

The County Assessors were excited to use the program’s ability to calculate distance and measurements for tax purposes, especially for marijuana grow operations that may not be reporting correctly. The Assessors mentioned they “can’t reach these people, either, since they hide behind locked gates that sometimes have guards or dogs.” The information and images provided by EagleView will allow the assessors to measure and gather information from their desks, instead of embarking on potentially dangerous fieldwork. 

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EagleView uses a Cessna 172 plane outfitted with numerous cameras and five different angles. Ballard joked that the cameras are more expensive than the plane. Leon Warner added, “maybe now they can find all the potholes in Creek County.” Ballard also added that if there is a disaster, such as a terrorist attack, [F7] or above tornado, or [6.0] magnitude or greater earthquake, the company would fly at no cost and produce images of a 3-inch quality. Otherwise, if needed, the company can be deployed at cost and arrive within 24 hours. 

Ballard said that, ideally, they would like to complete Creek County’s project prior to January 1st, so that the Assessor can use the information for taxes. “We could provide the hard drive by February. You currently have 1,036 square miles; some goes over the county lines. Our lowest cost is $70 per square mile.” 

Creek County Emergency Management Services Director Covey Murray requested $4,500 in ARPA funds to purchase the Rave Mobile Safety app, a response and communication tool to aid in sending alerts and information to large groups of people at one time. Murray said that $500 would be for the start-up fee and $4,000 for the yearly cost. 

The app would allow an administrative user, such as a County Commissioner, to alert multiple people of the presence of an active shooter, inclement weather, and other emergencies with the touch of just one button. The alert would reach other County employees who have the app installed and are relevant to the area affected. This would save important time by sending mass alerts instead of someone having the onerous job of contacting individuals one-by-one. The app would also allow for uploading information for events, holidays, and other updates. 

This purchase was unanimously approved. 

Another request from Emergency Management Services for $6,425 in ARPA funds to purchase a 500-gallon water buffalo tank from Wylie Sprayers of Oklahoma City was approved.  

A water buffalo tank safely and cleanly hauls large amounts of fresh water when a town is experiencing issues with its usual water supply. Murray said that there have been multiple instances when the County has been contracted by different agencies who need water, most recently, the Juvenile Justice Center, Bristow Hospital, and Drumright. Currently, we would have to borrow one from State Emergency Management or Creek Nation. In the past the County has used a fire department rig to provide water, however, this would be a more sanitary option. 

Don Engle, Creek County Treasurer, asked if one tank would be sufficient, and Murray said that the County currently only has enough storage space for one.