Alva Review-Courier -

Freedom Town Board approves new drug testing policy

• Discusses aging water tower, sewer line cleaning, what to do with old theater chairs in AF&M Building


February 21, 2019

Freedom held its town board meeting on Feb. 18, with all members present: Mayor Shad Brackin, board members Rolando Galindo and Terry Smith, and clerk Cindy Reed.

After approving the meetings of the Jan. 9 meeting, the board approved the purchase orders (see sidebar).

New Drug Testing Policy for Town of Freedom Employees

Because Freedom operates the gas utility in the town, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have requirements concerning employee drug and alcohol testing.

“For the OCC and the DOT for our gas lines, we followed the DOT's drug and alcohol policy that did our testing through random pick,” said Reed. “But the OCC wanted us to have one for the Town of Freedom built into our policies and procedures. So I asked OMAG (a municipal insurance risk pool) and OML (Oklahoma Municipal League) for samples and went through and made one that fit our town's work with the gas lines. Basically, anyone that has to deal physically with the gas line has to be drug tested randomly.”

Reed noted that the policy identifies disciplinary actions to be taken if someone's drug test were to come back positive, although, she said, “we've always had negative tests here for the town.”

The policy also lists the employees who would be subject to random drug testing, Reed said, “like the firefighters, persons engaged in activities which directly affect the safety of the public, anyone who has contact with inmates” if the town contracts with a prison to have inmates do work. “It's just pretty cut and dried,” she said.

Reed, reading from the policy, said “'This policy will be in effect 10 days after posting in a prominent place at the town facility where employees routinely report for duty,' and plus we would give this to any new hire, and their hire would be subject to their passing” a drug test. “So they'd know it all up front.”

The board approved the new drug and alcohol testing policy and procedures.

Three-Year Contract for Sewer Line Cleaning Discussed

Stuart Page, maintenance director, had been asked to get quotes from a sewer company that had worked with the town in the past over a three-year period. “They again recommend doing cleaning in 2019, 2020 and 2021,” said Reed. “Description of the work would be 6,000 linear feet of cleaning, televising 600 linear feet at 85 cents per linear foot, which comes out to $5,100 the first year,” Reed said, and then the cost goes up 2 cents per foot each of the next two years. “And if gas prices go over $4 per gallon, we would pay the difference,” she noted.

Voting on the contract would need to be put on the MTA agenda for the next meeting, the board agreed.

Options Considered for Dealing with Town's Aging Water Tower

Reed reported that the company that recently sealed and coated the town's water tower “said that we really probably need to start looking at a replacement tower; that it's getting pretty bad.”

“I thought that was the whole point of having a commercial sealing/coating company come, to protect your infrastructure,” said Brackin.

Smith asked how old the tower is, and Brackin said it was a 1930s model.

“So we've been fortunate, really,” Smith said.

Page has been doing initial research into costs and options for getting a new water tower, Reed told the board. “He doesn't have anything to present yet, but he has been looking at that because I asked him to start looking at it because I thought we would have to look at a rural water loan or grant or something like that,” she said.

I wonder, now, that we don't use wells in town that comes through rural water pressure – if we could engineer it without a tower,” mused Brackin. “Because the whole north half of town is just fed off rural water pressure and there's no reserve. But I don't know what's required. In a fire, it'd be nice to have water somewhere in reserve.”

“When Dawn and I went to the OEDA grant meeting,” said Reed, “there were a couple of towns that were doing water tower replacement projects and she was going to get with Stuart (Page) and make some calls to those towns to see what they're doing, and get some general ideas.”

Brackin asked if the water tower maintenance company had left a report of what they had done. Reed said she hadn't seen it, but she thought Page had received a report. “A lot of times they have pictures,” she added, that would let the board see what the potential problem areas are.

Landscaper Asks for Special Rate at Dump

A local resident who runs a landscape company has asked for a special rate for using the town dump, because she needs to dispose of debris, such as removed trees, so often. The current rate is a $5 daily pass, Reed said. The town's office manager suggested that the town might also let her have her own lock at the dump, so that she can dispose of debris as she needs to without having to find Page to get the key to let her into the dump.

“She's asked me about that several times,” said Brackin, “because apparently Stuart's made it so that there's one key now that gets loaned out, and obviously on weekends or any time Stuart's busy or in training or you can't get ahold of him, you can't access the dump. So somebody who's using the dump all the time, I think we need to figure something out for them.”

Reed suggested the board ask her to keep track of how much she used the dump in one month, so that they can figure out a fair special rate for her.

New Homes for Old Theater Chairs in AF&M Building Discussed

“The AF&M building has several upcoming rentals,” said Reed, “and it still has the old theater chairs in the front. We've got to get rid of those.”

“Why don't we just put those back here,” Brackin asked, pointing behind him into the Town of Freedom building.

Some discussion of other storage places was engaged in.

“At some point, we may just declare them as surplus,” said Reed, “and after that you can report they're for sale for bid, but I also didn't know if we wanted to get with the museum to see if they wanted any part of it, since they're the original theater chairs.”

Reed thought the building had been rented for an event in March. “And in mid-May, an RV group has rented the entire RV Park and the AF&M building for that week,” she added.

“Is the floor okay,” asked Smith. “We were waiting on something to do with taking the glue off the floor so they could paint it.”

“I'm not sure,” said Reed, “but I know Ed had put a stain on it. He'd taken all the glue and carpet out.”

Smith also wanted to be sure to protect the town's history. “We should keep a few (of the chairs) down there just because they were part of the original theater,” she said. “There's not much left of that theater except those.”

Brackin summed up the discussion, telling Reed “check up on surplus procedure; see if the museum wants any of them; and we'll save a few of the best ones.”

General Fund Balance Suddenly $15,000 Richer

Freedom's general fund balance suddenly grew by more than $15,000, Reed reported.

“The general fund has an inflated balance because we got a city sales tax deposit of 15,000-some-odd dollars, which is abnormal,” she said. “We usually average about $2,500. So, I'm going to see if I can figure out” where it came from. “When the oil boom was going on, the oil companies would use Freedom as a delivery point because the sales tax was cheaper, and I don't know if that's what it was. I just want to check into it,” she said. “So don't count on that $15,000 being there, because I'll probably get a letter in a couple months telling me they're taking it back.”

Pioneer Cell Tower Location Corrected

“The Pioneer cell tower is moving along,” Reed reported. She's received an agreement from the FCC for the lease of the airwaves, but she wants the town's attorney to take a look at it to make sure the town's water meter telemetry doesn't interfere with the agreement.

In addition, Pioneer sent a map showing where they planned to put the cell tower, and they'd identified the wrong location. So Freedom's office manager has sent back a map with the correct location specified.

SIDEBAR: Freedom Town Board approves purchase orders

General Fund POs

• Alfalfa Electric Cooperative (February – June): $5,500

• Municipal Code Management (yearly updates): $1,100

• Pioneer Telephone (February – June): $3,000

• Martin Broadcasting (election publication): $33.55

• Hodgden Law Firm (work on Pioneer agreement): $20

Fire Department POs

• Cindy Reed (reimbursement title change): $30

Ambulance POs

• Kaléo equipment – ambulance: $720


• Rural Water District (January): $2,587.92)

• Comp Source: $273.69

• Harper Sanitation (January): $3,633.62

• Southern Star (December and January): $3,197.64

• Blue Mark (January): $6,724.53

• Locke (sewer tap repair): $101.42

• Comfort Zone (sewer tap): $1,907.28

• PRC (training): $800

• Harrison Construction (calculating pressure and measuring pressures for new school gas meter): $500

• McClure Management Consultants (first quarter field services): $1,875

• Starr (lagoon wire replacements): $41.48

• OML (clerk/treasurer training and 2019 handbook): $92.90


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