Brackin resigns as Freedom mayor
• Town board hears rodeo update, discusses dump violations
July 22, 2021
The regular monthly Freedom Town Board meeting began in a new way: those in attendance rose, faced the flag, put their hands over their hearts, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. After that, Trustee Kama Luddington led the group in the Lord's Prayer.
Present were trustees Luddington and Matt Bixler. Also present were Town Clerk Cindy Reed, local resident Valerie Brown (who own a massage therapy business and is acting president of the Chamber of Commerce), and two other town residents: Pebbles Luddington and Shelly Oliphant.
Brown updated the board on rodeo planning.
Shad Brackin was not present. Later in the meeting, his letter of resignation from the offices of town trustee and mayor was read aloud:
Dear Board of Trustees,
During my tenure in office, I have been honored to serve and work with some wonderful people including elected officials; municipal employees; federal, state and county organizations; contractors; and private individuals.
We have been able to maintain and improve our RV park, town dump, city park (which is owned by the American Legion and Cimarron Cowboys Association), street signs, natural gas, water, trash and sewer systems.
We have also replaced the majority of our natural gas system, installed new water and natural gas meters, and installed new sidewalks along State Highway 50 with minimal cost to the town.
We have been able to maintain some of the lowest utility rates in Oklahoma during some of the highest natural gas spikes in history. We run a billing, administrative, regulatory, code enforcement, natural gas utility, water, sewer, and maintenance department with the least amount of staff cost of any surrounding towns, all while maintaining a surplus budget.
However, with great consideration, I have decided to resign as mayor. I can no longer continue to serve on the current board. Therefore, I hereby tender my resignation as trustee and mayor of the Town of Freedom and the Municipal Trust Authority effective immediately.
Sincerely, Shad L. Brackin
Rodeo, Chamber Update
The Chamber of Commerce is working to update the Freedom Rodeo website (FreedomRodeo.com). “The rodeo page has gone up and flyers are going out,” said Brown. “Hopefully at this point we have two queen contestants and two princess contestants.” The rodeo queen kickoff was Tuesday evening, July 20. “Our two cleanup days for rodeo grounds are the 7th and 14th of August prior to rodeo,” Brown said. The Cimarron Saloon has three bands booked for the street dance, she said. “The Rodeo Legion is covering gate again this year and working on getting State Legion representatives at the gate as well.”
The Chamber has also purchased the domain name for FreedomChamberOfCommerce.com and is discussing having local businesses on the Chamber page, along with house rentals and other information that would be useful to people considering visiting or moving to Freedom. “We're also going to work on grants for the depot, which is the Chamber building, to improve its appearance,” Brown said.
Animal Control Officer Training
A topic at the last meeting had centered around animal control. Page will not be providing that service; another town resident is considering taking on the challenge.
Reed has investigated the legal and policy issues surrounding providing animal control in Freedom and reported her findings to the board.
“If anything happens to the animal and the owner complains, that would be covered by our liability insurance with OMAG,” said Reed. “As far as an animal control officer being injured, that would be through CompSource (Mutual Insurance Company).” Reed spoke with their representative at CompSource and reported that she didn't see any wording in the policy about animal control officers, and so the town would probably need to add that. Employees of the town are covered, but the code for animal control officer would need to be included in the policy.
“If we hire someone specifically for animal control, we would have to add that person and it would cost more,” she said.
Reed also brought information about animal control training academies and online learning options. The in-person academies are two weeks long and cost about $400. The training covers how to manage all kinds of animals, not just dogs and cats, but snakes and wildlife as well.
Water Issues Discussed
Page also discussed the need for “revamping” the hydrant at the well that large trucks use for water. Another water-related issue Page raised at the meeting had to do with the town's water mains. “Basically we don't know where our mains are until we run into them.” He showed the board information on sonar pipe locators. “Eventually we're going to have to re-map all of our water system,” Page said.
Town Dump Violations Discussed
Stuart Page asked that the town dump be closed to appliances until the town can get rid of the old appliances already there. The price of scrap steel has dropped so much that salvage places won't even come pick it up for free because it's not cost-effective.
The real problem, Page said, is that people just dump stuff anywhere, “so I've got tin flying all over the place,” he said. “Most of the tin is on the west side, but seems like everybody that pulls in there, they throw it right there next to the road and then it all slides off into the road. And we've got quite a stack of appliances that need to go. I would like to close it for these two things. Because we have people who come out there, even though they're not supposed to throw tires, they throw tires and I'm getting a big pile of tires out there. If that ever catches fire, those tires, it's going to be a big mess for a long time until it's burned down.”
Bixler made sure he understood what Page needed by stating it in summary: once the appliances, tin and tires are cleaned up, a plan can be devised to ensure that the various kinds of trash are appropriately segregated.
Other Board Business
The board approved past meeting minutes, and purchase orders for the general, fire, ambulance and grant funds.
During discussion of this last item, Pebbles Luddington, answering a question from Bixler, reported that people are putting in their applications in regard to Freedom ambulance service, but she couldn't yet say who it would be or how things would work with the Woods County ambulance service (Woods County 522 EMS Board).
“People have put in their applications and they're being reviewed right now,” she said, and guessed that things would be finalized in the fall after more money came in.
The board approved all final invoices for the REAP grant, totally $32,320.14, and formally accepted the REAP grant as complete and authorized the mayor to sign the Affidavit for Completion form.
After an executive session to discuss personnel issues, the board approved a motion for no pay increase for town employees. Another motion to not hire summer help was also approved.
The full meeting can be viewed at http://www.alvareviewcourier.com.