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Jefferson County officials provide update on transportation plans

Jefferson County officials provide update on transportation plans



Jeff Kaley
The Duncan Banner - Nov. 22, 2009

WAURIKA Bridges — those that already exist and those that are still on the drawing board — were on the minds of the Jefferson County Commissioners.

During a regular meeting (Nov. 13) at the Jefferson County Courthouse, the three county chiefs huddled with engineer Clark Mitchell and Kenny Wall from the Surface Transportation Program (STP) district office to work on a five-year bridge plan required by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and other entities.

The five-year plan is updated annually and Mitchell provided input on a variety of factors that need to be considered in creating the bridge “wish list.”

He told the commissioners to keep in mind that while they’re prioritizing bridge projects to submit for their districts “you need to really sit back and think about what you’re requesting, because it’s not just your district that will be considered [in receiving funding], it’s all three districts.”

Mitchell also said there were changes coming in the matching funds program that will make it more difficult to obtain the 80/20 match the county has received in the past.

Wall, who spent 20 years as a Jefferson County Commissioner, added information from his angle as STP District head and contributed suggestions on to effective pursue the five-year plan.

The commissioners took no action during the meeting and will revisit the topic when they are closer to having the plan completed.

In other matters involving bridges and roads, the commissioners approved an application for an STP project that Wall will deliver to the district office. They also unanimously approved a programming resolution on a project over Mud Creek and Cottonwood Creek in District 2, which involves repairs on two bridges located 7 miles west of State Highway 89.

At a previous meeting, the commissioners approved going into a lease agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Juvenile Affairs, which would provide a room in the courthouse for use by the ODJA. That topic was revisited at Friday’s meeting, because the Oklahoma Department of Human Services had informed the commissioners it has office space in its facility on U.S. Highway 70 that the Juvenile Affairs Department could use.

Commission Chair Billy Kidd said the commissioners would meet with DHS representatives to discuss the matter.

In another item tied to juvenile detention, the commissioners approved payment of $633.94 to Comanche County Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The payment was for housing a juvenile offender from Jefferson County, with funds coming from the County General Fund.

County Court Clerk Carolyn Watkins noted that those funds would eventually be reimbursed to the county through her office and the District 6 District Attorney Office.

County Sheriff Michael Bryant has been working on a project to make corrections and updates to the county employee personnel policy. He presented the commissioners a final draft and they approved re-adopting the policy, with the revised policy to be distributed to all county employees.

Also re-adopted were the following safety programs: Hazard assessment for protective equipment; emergency evacuation plan, lock out/tag out program, drug and alcohol testing, and bloodborne pathogens.

The commissioners unanimously to approve the following:

n County employee payroll for the first half of November.

n A transfer in the Highway Fund due to a clerical error that caused a warrant to be paid out of account T24 instead of account T1B.

n Claims and authorization of blanket purchase orders.

n County officers reports.

n Minutes from a regular meeting on Nov. 2.

The commissioners also heard a report from Bryant, who attended the most recent meeting of the Jefferson County Economic Development Authority (JCEDA).

Bryant said the JCEDA trustees approved moving forward on retaining a bank loan to provide funds for the building at 102 W. C Street, where the group hopes to open a detention center.

Bryant also noted that Don Allen informed JCEDA trustees that he was resigning from the board.

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