Swallow to represent council on ARC Board
November 19, 2021
Monday night, the Alva City Council approved Ward 2 Councilmember Gail Swallow as the council representative on the ARC (Alva Recreation Complex) Board. Swallow takes the place of Brandon Sherman who is no longer on the city council because he moved outside the city limits.
Sherman expressed an interest in continuing on the ARC Board so the council approved his appointment to fill the spot previously held by Jaci Heaton. His term will expire in October 2024.
Before voting on reappointing Shane Hansen to the ARC Board, Councilmember Troy Brooks said he didn’t know him. Mayor Kelly Parker and other councilmembers explained he’s an instructor at NWOSU and played basketball while a student at NWOSU. Hansen’s reappointment was approved.
When the reappointment of Chad Fisher to the ARC Board came next, Mayor Parker explained he was a former member of the city council and has valuable experience in construction. During the vote, Brooks voted against the appointment, but everyone else voted in favor. Both Hansen and Fisher are reappointed to serve on the board until October 2024.
The city has received approximately half of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding expected. Mayor Parker said the guides for use of the money are still be finalized but it appears it can be used for infrastructure such as broadband, water and sewer. It may also be used as matching funds in grant applications. The council voted to approve putting the $432,533.90 into a separate interest-bearing checking account for audit purposes.
In addition to Swallow and Brooks, councilmembers present for the meeting were Daniel Winters, Connor Martin, Taylor Dowling, Sadie Bier and Randy Stelling. Greg Bowman was absent.
In reports from committees and boards, Winters said the personnel committee reviewed the EMS Department pay scale in comparison to other cities in the area, and it appears to be comparable. They have begun reviewing the Alva Police Department pay scale. They are going through the council handbook for possible updates. They also developed a job description for a possible grant writing position.
The ordinance committee members took home the business ordinance to review, said Stelling. They are still working on the beekeeping ordinance and the nuisance ordinance.
Martin said the finance committee talked about the sanitation truck problems including the cost of maintaining the old trucks compared to buying a new one. At the end of October, the city’s cash and investments totaled almost $4.3 million. In the first four months of the fiscal year, the city has collected 33 percent of budgeted revenue and spent 27 percent of budgeted expenditures.
October sales tax was up 3.35 percent compared to September collections and up 8.2 percent from October 2020. Sales and use tax collections are at 34 percent of the amount budgeted for this year.
Parker said he and City Business Manager Angelica Brady attended the Teeny Tiny Town conference in October. “Despite the name, it was big on information. It has relevance to towns our size and smaller primarily,” he said. They didn’t know what to expect when they went to the conference, but after attending, the mayor recommended councilmembers consider attending next year if they have the chance. “It would be well worth your time,” he said.
Parker has attended some meetings on ARPA and had another meeting set for Wednesday at the capitol to meet with the committee that decides how the state will use their $1.9 billion. “We’re hoping to learn from that what they’re looking for and project elements as well as what they’re looking for in matching support from the applicants,” he said. Sen. Casey Murdock will host those from this area and asked for the meeting to occur. Parker said there will be people representing rural water districts as well as municipal utilities in attendance from Alfalfa, Major, Harper and Woods counties. A portion of the conversation will be geared toward broadband.
Parker said he has two objectives. One is to “make sure they know we have needs out here in northwestern Oklahoma. Alva alone has close to $40 million of water infrastructure, that if we had the money to do it, we could put it to use today,” he said.
“We’re also on a fact-finding mission to find out what we need to do to put a successful grant application together,” Parker added.
Jan. 14 the Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) is going to be hosting a municipal budget training session. The mayor has asked Brady to get registrations in for members of the finance committee that are able to attend. However, he said he’d open that up to any council members who are interested. There will be an in-person as well as virtual option.
The OML had a board retreat the first Wednesday of November. Parker said they have decided to have an annual retreat to look at priorities. Among the things discussed was ongoing elected official training. Newly elected officials are required to participate in training. But those who have been in office for a while need information on changes.
Business Manager’s Report
Brady said the city has been able to fill some of their employee openings. The Alva Recreation Complex needs referees, scorekeepers and gatekeepers for their Saturday games.
The city has had difficulty getting sanitation trucks repaired. They ordered a needed part and have been waiting six weeks for it to come in. If that repair doesn’t work, they will be looking at getting a new truck.
The new water well project encountered a snag when it was found the power supply engineered for the well will need to be changed. A transformer will have to be purchased. Brady said the council will be seeing a change order for that.
The high school waterline project is stalled waiting for parts to arrive.
The rehabilitation of the ARC fieldhouse is in its final stages, but they are able to have basketball games safely.
While it was hoped the audit would be completed by this time, there are still a “few pieces” to complete, Brady said. Depending on timing, a special meeting might be called for the council to consider the audit.
The city’s annual Christmas party for officials and employees will probably be held Dec. 3, although Brady said that’s still preliminary.
A public meeting on input for the Hatfield Park aquatic facility (swimming pool project) was set for Nov. 18. Although the city has held other public meetings, this one was advertised legally and is part of applying for federal grants. Parker said the city is looking at a Land and Water Conservation grant with a 50 percent city match and an estimated “ask” of about $750,000.
Brady said the city is still waiting for result on the petition audit. It is in the final stages of review.
The council approved claims of $329,469.21 and payroll expenses of $185,582.46.
The Alva Utility Authority, consisting of councilmembers, met following the council adjournment. They approved claims of $119,860.24 and payroll expenses of $42,534.57.
In the final meeting of the night, the Alva Economic Development Authority met, approving claims of $15,682.85 and payroll expenses of $12,189.24.
A video of the meeting may be viewed at http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com.