Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

City holds public hearing

The City of Snyder held a public hearing to discuss the possibility of submitting a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Monday evening prior to a special council meeting. Clyde Morgan, SWODA, attended the meeting to help explain the grant and answer questions.

Cost estimates for rehabilitation of the water storage tank were prepared by city engineer Steve Cesar with a total estimated project cost of approximately $163,725 to $164,295. The grant will require the city to provide matching funds and a citizen participation plan.


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Snyder Council approves grant application, nixes hiring of additional police officer

Snyder City Council met in special session Monday night to discuss applying for a CDBG grant for refurbishment of the city water tower and budget/cost saving measures for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Approved were:
  • Resolution 2010-6, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2010 Water and Wastewater Construction Project Matching Funds Commitment, with matching funds not to exceed $12,000
  • Resolution 2010-7 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2010 Water and Wastewater Construction Program, for funding to rehabilitate the water storage tank
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2010 Water and Wastewater Construction Program Citizen Participation Plan, which provides for public hearings to insure that all citizens have the opportunity to be involved in the project

City Treasurer Patti Locklear presented budget balances through February, showing dwindling balances with city hall and the police department reflecting lack of funds to meet the next month's bills. Discussion to alleviate some of the expenses centered around payroll. City councilman Teresa Mills said to date there have been no cuts in salary, but overtime has got to stop.

Police Chief Johnny McBee presented police department figures in open session after City Attorney Shane McLaury instructed the council that budget measures could not be discussed in executive session as had been requested. Also on the agenda was the possibility of hiring a fourth full-time officer.

After examining the numbers the council agreed that the only place to cut expenses is in payroll and by parking one of the three police department vehicles. There are questions about the finance contract on the Ford Explorer and Crown Victoria, which were purchased before McBee became chief, so selling one may not be an option. McBee stated the Explorer is staying parked most of the time.

The department has three full-time officers and one reserve who is not yet firearm  certified. The council suggested that no officers be allowed to carry a firearm until they have been certified.

McBee had asked to hire another officer to alleviate paying overtime, but the council voted him down. To provide funds for the next month, the council agreed to pull money from the Street and Alley fund not to exceed $10,000 with zero overtime. McBee was instructed to curtail all overtime which will require some times without an officer on duty. The PD budget will have to be adjusted by the month until the new fiscal year.

The Animal Control budget was touched on, with AC Officer Jerry Taylor reporting costs include an average of $125 per month to the Altus animal shelter for animals that have not been claimed after the city's 72-hour hold. He said some pet owners do not want to pay the fine to get their pets back, instead just letting them go. Sixteen animals were taken to Altus during March. Other expenses are dog food and vehicle expenses.

Overtime in the water department was discussed with Mayor Gary Anderson suggesting an additional employee is needed to be trained for the water plant to alleviate overtime. One person is required at the plant almost 24/7 due to the instability of the facility. There are currently four full-time Public Works Authority employees, with two able to oversee the water plant. Anderson said they have only been using three inmate workers and probably need to go back to using five.

The council discussed hiring temporary employees who would not require benefits as a possiblity. Furloughs and other cost-cutting measures were mentioned. Locklear said an approximate $20 per water customer additional income will begin after April 1st, which will help. The shortfall in the city hall budget was not addressed during the meeting, but in a phone call to Locklear Tuesday, she said the mayor had been meeting with her today to see where funds can be pulled from other departments for the upcoming month.

Also on the agenda was a resolution approving a Kiowa County District 3 Emergency Medical Service loan commitment to purchase a new ambulance. The City of Snyder, Town of Mountain Park and Town of Roosevelt must sign an agreement in order for the EMS to borrow money.

Ambulance service employees James Glover and Scooter Mitchell were present at the meeting, but none of the ambulance board members attended. The council and McLaury questioned the amount of indebtedness and initially tabled the matter. Glover and Mitchell got busy and secured the needed information before the meeting adjourned, and the council voted to rescind the earlier motion and agreed to the resolution, with the loan amount not to exceed $70,000.

Under public participation Councilman Clay Oxley asked about getting the yield sign at 7th and H repaired. It has been bent over for some time. In response to a question about street repairs, Mayor Anderson stated materials have been ordered and now that it's warmer those will begin again.

In new business Locklear asked about Spring Cleanup which is usually in April or May. The first bulk pickup day for the new trash collection program will be April 14, so that was designated as Spring Cleanup for this year. Bulky items should be placed at the curb before collection day and residents should call the toll-free number 877-592-5030 to request a bulky waste collection. Calls should be made by the close of business on the Tuesday before collection day (April 13).

Letters went out with the April water bills announcing the bulky waste collection procedures. IESI will collect bulky waste one time a month, on the second Wednesday of each month beginning April 14.

Examples of bulky items include old furniture, appliances such as water heaters, washers, stoves, televisions, etc. (excluding items containing gaseous refrigerants); grass trimmings, leaves and debris bagged in no larger than 30-gallon bags; tree limbs, bundled, less than two inches in diameter in lengths of no longer than 48 inches or exceeding 50 lbs.; old clothing; and boxes and other packaging. Volume of bulky waste to be collected will be limited to no more than a total of three cubic yards per work order with a limit of one work order per household per month. This does not include construction or demolition waste.


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Public Works Authority implements contractual increase for rural water district

Snyder Public Works Authority reviewed Rural Water District No. 4 contract rates at their meeting Monday night and tabled budget discussion and hiring an additional water plant operator.

The contract with the water district allows an annual rate adjustment in accordance with the consumer price index or an increase of 3% annually which was overlooked in 2009. The council voted to adopt the increase for 2009 and 2010 for a total increase of 6%.

Water superintendent Mark Shelton was away at training, so budget discussion and hiring an additional operator were tabled until the April 19 regular meeting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friends of the Snyder Public Library meeting tonight

Friends of the Library will have their March meeting tonight (March 25) at 7 p.m. at the library. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Membership in the Friends group is $10 per year. Proceeds from memberships are used for day to day operations of the library, including purchase of books, carding materials, shelving, and cleaning supplies. Becoming a member does not obligate you to volunteer or participate in any way, although more volunteers are always appreciated. Membership may be paid at the library.

Please consider joining us in keeping our library going and growing.

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Benefit for Kathi Martin planned

Tickets are being sold for a drawing to benefit Kathi Martin of Blair. Kathi, who was diagnosed with cancer last August, is the wife of David Martin, the regular UPS driver for the Snyder area. Proceeds from the drawing are to help with medical expenses.

A new, handmade saddle with silver inlay, donated by Mickey Reeves, Lone Wolf, will be given away at a drawing during the awards assembly at the Blair School Gym on May 17. Along with the saddle is a saddle blanket and metal saddle stand. Tickets are $1 each and are on sale at the office of the Kiowa County Democrat in Snyder, or by calling 580-563-2486 or 580-481-4364.

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Southern Kiowa Chamber of Commerce membership drive underway

The annual membership drive of the Southern Kiowa Chamber of Commerce is underway. Dues are $25 for business memberships and $10 for individuals. Dues may be paid to Dean Holland, president, or Charlotte Kirk, treasurer. The Chamber includes Snyder, Mountain Park and Roosevelt and the surrounding communities.

Plans are underway for this year's Fall Festival with Dean Holland in charge of the train rides and carnival rides; Candace Thurmond, concert; Charlotte Kirk, vendor booths; George Garrison, outhouse races; and Pam Holland, light pole and  yard decorations. New additions to the festival include an evening concert planned to be held in the James Blaine Fieldhouse and a yard decorating competition will be added to the light pole decorations.

New officers for 2010 are: Dean Holland, president; George Garrison, vice president; Candace Thurmond, secretary; Charlotte Kirk, treasurer; Carrie McNeill, Snyder board member; and Linda Ratliff, Mountain Park board member.