Exceptionally long meeting for Alva City Council
February 27, 2022
A short meeting in January led to a two and one-half hour meeting in February for the Alva City Council. The meeting was held on Tuesday, Feb. 22, due to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday.
The council moved quickly through the reports from committees, commissions and boards on their recent meetings.
Daniel Winters said the Personnel Committee met shortly after City Business Manager Angelica Brady announced her resignation which is effective June 1. The three hour meeting turned into an unofficial exit interview with Brady.
Randy Stelling said the Ordinance Committee worked on the business ordinance with a draft being submitted for council discussion during that night’s meeting. Later Mayor Kelly Parker suggested that item be tabled since the meeting was running so long. A motion was made and approved to table that discussion, but council members were provided with the business ordinance draft to take with them to study.
Stelling said the Ordinance Committee is also looking at updating the ordinance on sanitation. The city wants to stop providing roll-offs because private companies are available to handle that service. References to the landfill need to be changed to the transfer site.
Ordinance changes involving ATVs were discussed. The Public Safety Committee and police department were asked for recommendations.
The Public Safety Committee discussed possible ordinance changes to take into account ATVs and scooters. They reviewed ordinances from Okeene and Waynoka and made recommendations to the police chief. They also discussed the 522 EMS district and looked at EMS rate changes. They looked at the way Waynoka is handling their EMS service including membership fees.
The Finance Committee met an hour before the council meeting which meant committee members actually met for three and one-half hours. Finance Chair Connor Martin said they discussed ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. The committee also talked with City Treasurer Trent Goss about certificate of deposit rates and renewals.
Martin said at the end of January, the city had $2.6 million in cash across all funds. Regarding the $1.8 million balance borrowed from other funds as of January 2021, that has been reduced to just over $1 million as of January 2022.
Sales and use tax, the major source of city revenue, was $382,000 in January, up four percent from December. The city has received 58 percent of revenue budgeted for the fiscal year while expending 54 percent of budgeted expenses. Revenue collected is about $350,000 above what was expected for the year to date.
Mayor Parker said the Congress of Mayors planned for Feb. 24-25 was pushed back a week due to weather concerns. He won’t be able to attend March 3-4 due to other commitments. Parker encouraged council members to attend and told them to contact Brady about it.
The city’s Employee Appreciation Day meal is scheduled for Thursday, March 3. Parker encouraged council members to attend to show their support for city employees.
On March 4, a representative from the Oklahoma Municipal League will be in Alva to participate in a mini-strategy session on City Manager Brady’s replacement.
The mayor said the annual budget retreat with council members and department heads will be held March 19 beginning about 8 a.m. with a lunch available.
Brady reported that the high school fire hydrant project is wrapping up. She said the plan was to bore underground for much of the line so only one lawn would be disturbed. That didn’t work out, and all the houses in the block were affected. She said the city will make sure the yards are “righted” before the project is considered complete.
The wellfield GIS (geographic information system) mapping has been going on for a couple of months and will probably need another month or two to complete.
The city has hired a grant writer who is doing training with Dr. Kay Decker.
The restrictions on ARPA funds have been loosened to allow for use in the case of revenue loss due to Covid. This will give the city additional opportunities to use the funds. Much of it will be used on water infrastructure, and she has been consulting with the water department about the needs of the city.
Last year, the city council approved payment of two OG&E bills that were above Brady’s spending limit. She said they recently learned the city had not been charged for lighting on the August through January bills. The city office had a change in accounts payable clerks which caused the oversight not to be noticed. The bill would have added about $10,000 per month. OG&E has been contacted, and the city will be receiving a bill for approximately $57,000 to cover those months. Brady said she’ll be bringing that before the council for approval.
Jon Goble with iWorQ Systems gave a virtual presentation to the city council on some software being considered. Steve Holtz assisted in the technical part of the presentation. The company was founded in 2001 with the headquarters in Logan, Utah. They provided references of places using the software and said Enid is about to implement the program.
The software program comes in several modules so not all parts are required. The program is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection available so it works well in the field. Access can be by desktop computer, laptop, tablet or cellphone although the smaller phone screen makes it a little more difficult to use.
The software is high configurable and there is no restriction on the number of users. The company offers unlimited training and support with no extra fees. The software will track work orders, pavement and sign locations, etc. Employees can input notes, letters and pictures that are linked to particular locations. It may also be used for public input about areas needing repair.
Permitting and code enforcement modules may be added.
Taylor Dowling and Winters asked some questions pertaining to technical aspects of the software and the stability of the company. They learned the program uses HTML5 coding and was built in Google Chrome but works on any browser. The city would be the sole owner of the data which is backed up on the Amazon cloud. Data can be exported as Excel, Word and other files. The development team is all AWS (Amazon web services) certified.
Brady said the city is looking at adding the work order and permitting modules. Modules for tracking equipment and building maintenance are also available. Individual prices for the modules are reasonable, but with all the modules together the dollar amount can seem high. The program also offers GIS mapping which turns data into maps.
Mayor Parker said they literally talked about the software in all their committee meetings. Several of the city departments have had a look at it too.
Asked how long it would take to get the software up and running, Goble said 60 days is the standard implementation time with one hour a week of training followed up by phone calls.
The cost is based on city population with the basic package costing the city about $27,000 for the first year. The cost would increase with the addition of other modules like public works for about $6,000 and equipment management for $3,500.
No action was listed on the agenda with the item scheduled for discussion only.
522 EMS Checking Account
The county board is requiring that the city EMS services set up separate checking accounts to track funds received from the 522 EMS District taxes. Mayor Parker said the plan is to open an interest-bearing checking account or money market account at BancCentral National where the city’s other accounts are located. Stelling made a motion, seconded by Greg Bowman to set up the account.
Winters asked if the state statute gives the county EMS board the authority to require a separate checking account. City Attorney Rick Cunningham said he would have to look at the ordinance but “it might not be required but would be smart.”
Dowling asked if interest rates had been compared among banks. Brady said having the account at BancCentral would make transfers into the city’s EMS account easier. Winters said the money won’t stay in the account long enough to earn much interest anyway.
Opening of the new account at BancCentral was approved with Winters abstaining because he is an employee of the bank.
Tourism Committee Appointment
The Alva Tourism Tax Committee consists of two members appointed by the Alva Chamber, two appointed by the city council and one who is a motel owner. With the death of Dr. Charles Tucker, there is an opening on the committee for an Alva Chamber appointment. The Chamber nominated Scott Kline to fill the unexpired term which ends in June.
Troy Brooks objected saying he didn’t think that anyone who asks for tourism tax funds should serve on the board. He mentioned Kline’s connection to the Alva Rotary Club which has asked for funding for the 4th of July celebration in previous years.
Mayor Parker who is in Rotary said Scott Kline is not a member although he volunteers to help with their fireworks display. Scott’s brother Jesse Kline is a member. Cunningham was asked for an opinion, and he said even if Kline were a member of Rotary, he would not be benefiting directly. If he wished, he could abstain from voting to minimize any conflict.
Winters made a motion, seconded by Martin, to approve Kline’s appointment. The motion passed 6-0 with Brooks and Dowling abstaining.
Other items on the city council agenda are covered in separate stories in this issue or in Friday’s edition. A video of the entire meeting may be viewed at http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com.