Town of Freedom applies for $65,000 to help finish gas line replacement


October 21, 2021

The Town of Freedom held its regular monthly meeting of the board of trustees Wednesday, Oct. 13. New board member Michelle Shelite was there, as was Mayor Kama Luddington. Trustee Matt Bixler was absent. County Clerk Cindy Reed and attorney Drew Cunningham were also at the table.

There were no public comments.

After some discussion identifying the purpose of various accounts and what 522 referred to in the past meeting minutes (the number identifies ambulance funds), the meeting minutes were approved, as were purchase orders for the general, ambulance and fire funds.

The board then discussed a resolution that would change the CIP priority level of gas line replacement from essential to mandatory. CIP refers to capital improvement. The reason was administrative – when the town applies for CDBG or REAP grants, the project the town is seeking funding for is given a priority level. In the past, the highest level was essential, but now a higher category has been added: mandatory. Assigning the gas line project a mandatory CIP level gets the town two additional points on its grant application, and, as Reed said, laughing, “It's all about the points.” The board approved the resolution calling the gas line replacement project mandatory.

REAP Application Approved

Then the board addressed the big issue of the day: approving a REAP application and resolution to replace the five miles of gas line north of Freedom. Reed showed the trustees the application and said, “We're requesting $65,000, which is the maximum we can request through OEDA,” the Oklahoma Economic Development Association. Reed got the wording of the resolution from Jennifer Firgard, who has acted as the town's advisor on several grants. The town will later apply for an $80,900 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to finally finish the project after a decade of working on it

The board also approved the town's 2021-2022 Estimate of Needs. Reed said she hadn't heard when the excise board would be meeting to approve it and send it on to the state. The town's primary revenue comes from sales, alcohol and motor vehicle taxes Reed said.

The board approved accepting a signature stamp for Luddington's official signature. Luddington, who has arthritis, is the only one who will use the stamp.

The board discussed whether to have fire inspections done on town-owned properties, such as the AF & AM Building, the fire/ambulance building and the town office. Eventually, the board decided to take no action on the matter but instead wait for town staff to contact their insurance company and gather further information.

An executive session was on the agenda so that the board could discuss employment issues, but the session was tabled per Cunningham's recommendation.

The board approved an engagement letter with Rosenstein, Fist and Ringhol to provide legal services to the town. “This is in conjunction with you, Drew, to put more tools in our toolbox,” said Luddington.

In department reports, Reed said she'd been notified that application for the Recovery Act money has opened up partially. “It's $47,000 that Freedom is getting, and we're talking about using that on sewer lines,” she said, because that's the next most pressing project after the gas lines.

After some housekeeping discussion, such as affirming that meeting on the second Wednesday of each month still works for everyone, the meeting adjourned.


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