“The timing couldn’t actually be worse:” County offices asking for caution, patience in dealing with Coronavirus and school closings during tax season

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The weekly Creek County Commissioners meeting was held Monday, March 16, 2020. Present were Commissioners Lane Whitehouse, Leon Warner, Newt Stephens, County Clerk Jennifer Mortazavi, Treasurer Don Engle, Sheriff Bret Bowling and County Attorney Andrew Goforth.

COVID-19 Updates for County

Upon Governor Kevin Stitt declaring a state of emergency for Oklahoma on Monday, the Commissioners discussed actions to take during the COVID-19 virus outbreak. As of Monday morning, Judge Kelly Hake declared a suspension of all civil matters while only emergency cases will be heard at the courthouse such as protective orders and juvenile cases.

Discussion ensued about the county workers who may have been exposed and under investigation or who test positive for the virus. Businesses with under 500 employees and government offices which have workers who need to take sick leave due to the virus would be allowed 80 hours (2 weeks) paid sick leave (which would not count against their earned sick leave) followed by FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) time.

County Assessor Janell Enlow

Creek County is working closely with the Emergency Management and the Creek County Health Department. Janell Enlow, the Creek County Assessor, was present for this discussion and said, “The timing couldn’t actually be worse” for her office as it is the season for taxpayers to protest their property taxes. Taxpayers have until the first Monday in April to file documents. Her office had already removed all the chairs to reduce close contact with the public. Ms. Enlow emphasized that as many people as possible should utilize the Creek County Assessor’s Website to limit paperwork and contact. The necessary documents can be found at www.creekcountyonline.com/assessor.htm

Creek County Clerk Jennifer Mortazavi stressed that most of her staff had school-aged children at home. She asked the public to be patient if her office becomes short-staffed. Commissioner Newt Stephens said they are installing more touchless hand sanitizers at the Courthouse and other locations, as the supplies become available. County Attorney Andrew Goforth recommended limiting exposure as much as possible, washing hands, as they continue to follow the CDC and Oklahoma State Health Department recommendations. He said telecommuting (working from home on computers) may become an option in some instances and that the county is exploring options.

The weekly commissioners’ meetings will continue until further notice. If an emergency meeting is called, there is a 48-hour window to notify the public.

911 Feasibility Study

The board approved entering into an agreement with the Oklahoma Emergency Management regarding grant funds available for a feasibility study to consider consolidating the five Creek County dispatch centers. The grant will pay 80%, Creek County will pay the remaining 20%. The board then approved a bid of $55,605 for the feasibility study to be conducted by Mission Critical System. The study will take place now through October of this year. The remainder of the 20% bid will come out of the County 9-1-1 fund.

Elevator Out-of-Service

The Otis Elevator Company had the lowest bid of $72,918, with additional cosmetic work at $14,275 to modernize the elevator at the Collins Building. The Commissioners agreed to accept the bid. The elevator will be under construction for five weeks, work starting at or around April 14th. The public who visits the Collins Building and can not use the stairs will be directed by signage to go to the Court Clerk’s Office where the appropriate office will be called down to help the person. Commissioner Warner asked if there were “any employee difficulties getting up the stairs?” Commissioner Stephens and County Attorney Goforth both said they hadn’t heard of any issues, but that accommodations would be made if needed.

Slow down!

New 25 mph signs in residential areas were discussed and approved in District 2 to combat speeding located off Highway 97 and 71st Street. One of the streets is 1 mile long, while the other 2 are ½ mile in length. The streets are South 151st W. Avenue, South 153rd West Avenue, and South 155th West Avenue.

County Alcoholic Beverage Tax Allocations

The allocations of the Alcoholic Beverage Tax were down by about $2,000 this month. The request to be approved by the Treasurer’s Office was accepted. The amount of $26,411.84 was divided among 12 different cities or towns, including Bristow ($3,040.02), Drumright ($2,097.10), Kellyville ($829.33), Kiefer ($1,214.94), Mannford ($2,218.59), Mounds ($842.54), and Sapulpa ($14,817.04).

Tax Sale

A bid by Kolton and Diana Gann was accepted for public tax sale of property in Drumright located at 320 East Second Street, lots 3-6 block 11, in the amount of $455.00, including fees.

New Requisitioning Officer

The Requisitioning Officer for the Creek County Health Department (MD1A, MD1C, MD2, MD3, MD4) was approved and changed from Tami Hicks to Jaala Wallin.

Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.

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