Alva officials receive oath of office
April 23, 2023
Randy Stelling took his seat for the final time at the Alva City Council meeting Monday night. With the others, he voted to receive the official election returns which included his loss to Joe Parsons. Then he sat in the audience to watch the remainder of the meeting. Stelling served two terms, eight years, on the council representing Ward 4.
Newly elected officials then stood to receive the oath of office from City Attorney Drew Cunningham. Sworn in were Mayor Kelly Parker, Ward 2 Seat 2 Councilmember Gail Swallow, Ward 3 Seat 2 Councilmember Sadie Bier and Ward 4 Seat 2 Councilmember Joe Parsons. Absent were Ward 4 Seat 2 Councilmember Garrett Lahr and City Marshal Jim Scribner.
Reporting for the council's Finance Committee, Daniel Winters said as of March 31 all cash funds of the city totaled about $3.4 million with investments of $2.3 million. The pooled cash account has a balance of just under $2 million. With 75 percent of the fiscal year elapsed, the city has collected 73.61 percent of budgeted revenue and expended 71 percent of budgeted expenses. Sales tax collections for March were up 13.27 percent from the same month last year.
Mayor Parker reported the city's budget retreat on April 15 was "very productive." He said the council should be electing a president at this meeting, but it was left off the agenda.
Bids on the ARPA water project didn't come in early enough to get on the agenda, but Parker said the low bid is about $805,000. Since that's less than expected, the city will be able to add a little more to the project with a change order. Parker said that could add 200 more feet to waterline replacement or it could be used to replace valves. Water Superintendent Drake Lewis said he wants the valve replacements after his experiences with breaks on that line. Parker said the paperwork has to go to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board the first part of May so a special meeting will be needed.
Parker said new City Business Manager Stephen Ford started full time with the city on April 10. In his first week Ford attended 10 to 15 meetings. Parker said he will continue to work with Ford to help his transition.
In a final comment, Parker said that firefighters have had their hands full recently. He said it was not just the Alva department but throughout the county.
After brief discussion, Winters made a motion seconded by Bier to vote for Russ Meacham, CFO of Perry; Tim Lyon, City Manager of Midwest City; and Pam Polk, City Manager of Collinsville from among the nominees for trustees of the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group. The motion carried unanimously.
Ambulance Lease Purchase
The council discussed Resolution No. 2023-8 amending the FY 2022-2023 budget to increase loan proceeds by $343,983 and capital outlay by $343,983 to account for the lease purchase of an ambulance. Parsons asked if the selection of the more expensive Type 1 ambulance was due to it being the only one currently available. Parker gave an affirmative answer. Winters made a motion, seconded by Bier, to approve the resolution. The motion was approved by a 5-2 vote with Taylor Dowling and Troy Brooks voting no.
Next the council considered the lease purchase agreement for the Ford F-550 4x2 Diesel Type 1 Braun Chief XL Stock ambulance for $343,983 with an annual payment of $58,342, financed over seven years at 5 percent interest. Although the agreement is with Alva State Bank, Chief Operations Officer Todd Holder provided a letter informing the council that all five banks (Alva State Bank, BancCentral, Community Bank, NBC Oklahoma and High Plains Bank) are participants in the loan. Alva State will serve as lead bank.
Parsons asked if city might decide to cancel the lease purchase of this ambulance if two smaller, less expensive units became available in the future. Parker said yes, the city could sell this ambulance and buy others. Parsons said he thought they could just stop making the payments since the agreement is renewed annually. Winters said that was a bad idea, the way to ruin a banking relationship.
Mayor Parker explained that by statute, the city council can only sign contracts for one year, but other city entities like the Alva Utility Authority and Alva Economic Development Authority do not have that limit.
With no more discussion, Winters made a motion to approve the lease purchase agreement, seconded by Bier. The motion passed 5-2 with Brooks and Dowling voting no.
Crawford and Associates
The council voted unanimously to approve an engagement letter for accounting and consulting services with Crawford and Associates, P.C. for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Mayor Parker said this will allow the city to continue to work with them. Parsons asked how long the city has used their services, and Parker said at least five or six years.
Parks & Recreation Appointment
Parker recommended the appointment of Heath Shelite to the Parks and Recreation Board for the unexpired term of Dr. Troy Smith ending in October. Parker said Shelite is a financial advisor in Alva and has a young family active in sports at the Alva Recreation Complex (ARC).
Brooks said in the future he'd like to have those recommended for appointments to be present at council meetings so they can be questioned. Dowling had a question about where Shelite stands on issues relating to parks and recreation. Parker said he doesn't ask opinions on issues but just picks a good person.
Bier said she knows Shelite from the involvement of their kids with activities at the ARC. She said he is very active with the children's teams.
Shelite's appointment was approved by a 5-2 vote with Dowling voting no and Brooks abstaining.
Council members approved the consent agenda including minutes of the regular March 20 meeting, claims of $395,051.38, payroll expenses of $290,095.60, and an aviation fuel invoice from ASAP Energy Inc. of $35,482.55.
At the request of the mayor, the minutes of the special meeting on March 31 were voted on separately. Parker had a change to the minutes to reflect voting accurately. On two votes that resulted in ties, he voted no because he did not want to break the tie. Those minutes were also approved with the change.
Alva Utility Authority
The Alva Utility Authority (AUA) meeting followed council adjournment with the same members serving as trustees. The consent agenda was approved including minutes of the last meeting, claims of $182,599.79 and payroll expenses of $49,129.41.
The trustees heard from Water Superintendent Lewis about a need to purchase equipment to clear sewer lines. Lewis said the city's sewer jetter truck broke down in December. The cost to fix it is more than the cost of the new equipment he'd like to purchase. He said parts would cost about $110,000 provided they could even get parts for the old truck, and that doesn't include labor. Currently the city is depending on borrowing equipment from Cherokee and Mooreland.
He requested the purchase of a PipeHunter model 7724 tandem axle trailer jet with 700-gallon water capacity, hydraulic rotating-articulating hose reel and 2,500 PSI at 40 gallons per minute. Upon purchase, the city will receive an OMAG grant for $10,000 and a trade-in of the old truck of $10,000 leaving a cost of $68,220 for the purchase. Lewis said the trailer can be pulled by a ¾ ton truck which won't require a CDL licensed driver.
Ford said that this purchase will come off of next year's budget request. Parker said money can be moved around in the utility budget without requiring a budget amendment for the purchase. The trustees approved the purchase.
Alva Economic Development Authority
The Alva Economic Development Authority met next, approving the consent agenda including minutes of the last meeting, claims of $19,904.25 and payroll expenses of $12,794.56.
A video of the city council meeting may be viewed at http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com.