County Commissioners come to agreement on highway funds allocation

The Board of Creek County Commissioners revisited a hot topic at its regular Monday morning meeting this week, ultimately showing bonhomie and coming to a consensus on how to best modify the split of County highway funds between the Highway Districts.

The 3 Commissioners agreed on the following: District #1 Highway Cash: 26%, District #2: 32%, District #3: 32%, and Highway Cash All: 10%. District #1 Highway Tax: 20%, District #2: 40%, District #3: 40%. District #1 County Bridge and Road Improvement Fund (CBRIF): 20%, District #2: 40%, and District #3: 40%. District #1 County Improvement for Roads and Bridges (CIRB SB1888): 20%, District #2: 40%, and District #3, 40%.

District #1 Commissioner Newt Stephens presented a new spreadsheet with the new numbers and the breakdown of dollars per mile, remarking, “I am comfortable with the numbers and really tried to look at [District #2 Commissioner Warner’s] concerns with materials. I run a tight ship and will continue to do so. With the new presented percentages, District #1 will take a hit, but we can manage.”

Sponsored by:

Commissioner Warner expressed concerns with the numbers of the Highway Cash having the SB1888 included. “When I take the total numbers, we are off—I get $6.3 million as to where you have $6.8 million estimated.” After various input by County staff, Warner acquiesced, saying, “Anyway, it should even out with the percentages with the new year coming.”

Warner acknowledged the ongoing debate on the subject between himself and Stephens, saying, “This was a big move on your part, Stephens. I would like to touch on one thing—sometimes there is some misinterpretation of what happens in these meetings. Due to State statutes, we cannot discuss these issues anywhere else than in a public meeting. So, sometimes we have to argue in public to fight for what we believe and for our residents, but at the end of the day, we ride for the same brand. I have no doubt that you would help in any way you could, as well as I would for you. We may not exactly agree on things and that is okay, but at the end of the day we can pat each other on the back and work together.”

Stephens agreed, replying, “I just don’t think it’s ‘Newt’s way or the highway;’ I had to break it down to see the needs of each of you” and your districts.

A request submitted by Dewey Davison to rezone a property in Bristow from a light residential to agricultural district to allow agricultural use was denied by the Board, per recommendation of the Creek County Planning Commission, from its December 14th meeting.

County Planner Wendy Murray explained that this involved a 2.5-acre tract surrounded by other light residential properties, and that, although it meets minimum requirements for an agricultural district, her office has received multiple calls from concerned neighbors about the exact type of agricultural use planned for the subject property.

Paula Davison was present to address the Board and said, “I would like to clear up what has transpired on our request. We have our marijuana grow license and would be utilizing the property to see if our invention would grow marijuana. We have used this on vegetables and other plants and had success. We would like to prove that the device would help…save water. This is an economical use product and is being used overseas with great success. We know we must follow the law on the grow and will do so.”

Davison added that they “would also like to have a building to maintain our appliances and build containers and a second building for a studio for our son, along with an office. When we purchased the home, we were told that the previous owner had boarded horses, so we thought we were agricultural.”

The Board agreed that what Davison presented sounded much more like commercial use than agricultural, and that, “This is a business and not necessarily a hobby at this point,” which is not appropriate for this type of request.

One neighbor came to speak out against the application, worried about “possible exposure for our children…I believe there are places for this kind of use, but just not in our neighborhood.”

The Creek County Sheriff’s Office requested $563,629 in ARPA Capital Outlay Funds to purchase a mobile command center capable of performing as a PSAP (public safety answering point), temporary Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Center, or strategic management site for public safety incidents or disasters.

Stephens commented that events in Tennessee have been “an eye-opener,” in that they have included one of the biggest wildfires, snow storms, and search and rescue events that the Country has seen.

“We have been through a couple of disasters without the proper pieces of equipment. [Since then] we have gotten 800 radios, water tanks, and some things we were lacking. I think this is something the Board needs to really look at and consider. We have had to use the old command center and the State’s, along with OHP’s. We need this for disasters; we don’t ever want to have to use it, but when we need it, we need it,” he concluded.

Creek County Emergency Management Director Covey Murray relayed information obtained at a recent State Emergency Management meeting, where local and County EM personnel were told by the State that, during an emergency or natural disaster, they must be capable of being self-sufficient for “at least 72 hours” before expecting backup from the State, further emphasizing the need for these resources.

The request was unanimously approved.