Kellyville to utilize donated property for police building in a split vote

Kellyville Police Chief and Town Administrator Shelly Garrett gave her monthly report over last month’s activity at Tuesday evening’s Town Meeting. She mentioned that the Town has not been arresting people on municipal charges, but post-COVID, they are researching options for doing so. The Creek County Jail charges around $37 dollars a day per inmate, so that cost will be a factor in their decision. 

Former Mayor and current Town Trustee Terry Voss and his wife asked for an extension on a variance the Board approved a year ago, to allow a travel trailer on their property for their son.

Trustee Voss withdrew from the podium to abstain from the discussion and vote, and Mrs. Voss addressed the Board. She explained that their son is working to be approved for a program that would allow him to obtain a home loan where the buyer puts in “sweat equity” in exchange for a more affordable monthly payment. However, one requirement is employment for at least six months, and he is still unemployed.

Trustee Russ Howard said, “I’ve seen no signs of progress in a year,” and made a motion to deny the request for an extension on the variance. Mrs. Voss countered that she and her family have “complied with all Town regulations” and that her son has a few prospective jobs in the works. 

Trustee Scott Lynn said, “Everyone’s looking for employees right now. Russ and I are,” and said that the Board “needs to see the ball rolling” on this endeavor. Then he made a motion to extend the variance by 90 days, which was unanimously approved, with Trustee Voss abstaining from the vote. 

Returning or using the property at 30 North Holly that was donated to the Town by Lavida Properties to be used as a site for a police building was the last item on Tuesday’s agenda. Garrett explained the the donor’s stipulations included that it must be a building used for the police department in some capacity for a minimum of ten years and that it be a permanent fixture. 

Though originally the Board planned to build a new police station there, after receiving a $40K Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grant from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the idea was suggested to use those funds to update and improve the existing police station and Town Hall building, as that was thought to be more efficient, more cost effective, and would stretch the funds further.  

Howard argued that $40K is inadequate to construct a new building of the quality Town is trying to achieve moving forward, and that if they were only able to partially construct the building right now, the Town would still be on the hook for insurance, maintenance, and other expenses. “It would cost $3-5K a year just for [the building] to just sit there. In my opinion, this is a bad decision. We need to plan [more for this]…we’re trying to improve this whole town, but we’re going to start something we can’t [afford] to finish?” 

Trustee Cliff Barnes disagreed, saying, “I say we utilize it…It’s ludicrous not to make an attempt…We could build a 30 by 40 foot steel building.” 

Ultimately, it was approved to keep and utilize the donated land in a 3-2 vote.