Fairgrounds internet upgrades sought
The Okmulgee County Board of Commissioners met for their end-ofthe- month meeting on Friday, during which they discussed concerns regarding the budget for FY 2023-24. County Clerk Tonya Day opened the discussion by relaying the information provided to her by their budget maker.
“Kerry Patton, CPA, called me and said that our forecasted budget that he sent us in June – he was way off,” Day said to the board. Patton is said to have “overshot” the budget by $559,515.19. He told her that the budget would need to be reduced to account for that discrepancy.
“What we spent was more than he thought,” Day said, continuing, “and revenues were less than he thought, and then, reports that he also received from the treasurer were way off.”
Commissioner Erik Zoellner asked whether the reports were from current County Treasurer Lindsay Bunch or the previous administration, and Treasurer Bunch confirmed it was the latter.
She added that the previous treasurer, Vonna Lampkin, had submitted a second version of the June 30 report, but did not provide the required reasoning for the change. Patton used the first version of the report in his estimates. Treasurer Bunch added that the report she sent in September was actually the second version of the June report.
There was a lengthy discussion amongst the board, Sheriff Eddy Rice, County Clerk Day, and Asst. District Attorney Carman Rainbolt, regarding the differences in the reports, but after several minutes of deliberation there was no resolution.
“We’re not talking about missing funds, we just don’t have as much as we thought to pay the bills,” Rainbolt asked. Day confirmed this but said that she felt Patton had made a mistake.
“We need to see where that mistake was,” Commissioner David Walker added. He also voiced concerns about resolving this before the October 31 deadline.
“It has to go through our meeting by the 18th,” Day said.
— OK Accelerate
During their regular meeting on Monday, the board approved an agreement with OSU Extension and spoke with OSU Extension’s District Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist Brenda Miller about possible improvements to their broadband internet service at the fairgrounds.
“Accelerate is a 16week, primarily virtual, community engagement program designed to provide local leaders with expert support in developing broadband vision and implementation plans for their communities,” Miller said. The program was created to help communities in northeastern Oklahoma receive funding for high-speed internet access through the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Miller said that the current internet speeds at the fairgrounds are extremely slow, and recommended the board support this program.
“It requires a minimum of eight people on the committee to meet monthly for two hours a week virtually for 16 weeks,” she said.
Commissioner Zoellner asked if she had tried ecoLink broadband provided by East Central Electric and Miller told him that she had applied and received no response. He later voiced his support for the program, despite his reservations about virtual meetings.
Miller and the commissioners spent a few minutes discussing possible members for the committee, before moving on to the next agenda item. She let the board know that, if interested, Oct. 13 is the deadline to assemble the committee.
— Also Approved at the Meetings • The payment of claims.
• The minutes from the meetings on Sept. 25 and 28.
• Hay lease on county- owned property.
• The board also approved an agreement with Oklahoma State University and OSU Extension. County Clerk Day said that this is something they do every year. Commissioner Walker asked about a revision that was made to the agreement in February and had A.G. Greg Stidham give his approval before the vote.
— Officer’s Reports
• September reports for the Health Department and County Clerk’s Office.
— Blanket Purchase Orders
• Health Department Amazon for $3,000
• Muscogee Nation $500
• General Government – Emergency Management for lawn care, $400; Courthouse for lawn care, $600; Cookson Hills for legal publishing, $1,500 — Employee Forms
• Treasurer’s Office: One full-time employee
• District 3: One fulltime employee — Disposing of Equipment
• District 1: 2003 computer —
Commissioner Zoellner asked that a BOCC meeting be held at OSUIT to inform local schools and law enforcement about a firearm detection software provided by Orion Security Solutions.
Commissioner Walker and Asst. D.A. Greg Stidham both wanted to ensure that this wasn’t an endorsement, and Commissioner Zoellner said that they would be open to hearing from companies that offer similar services as well.
— EM Update
During his weekly update, EM Director Jeff Moore said that he met with several people regarding the recent storm damage but said that Okmulgee will not meet the threshold for federal assistance. His full weekly report can be found in Friday’s edition of the Free-Lance.