McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 28, 2013

County Commissioners seek advice on lease

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER —

Pittsburg County commissioners want advice from the District 18 District Attorney’s office before moving forward with a proposed lease agreement connected to planned improvements to a volunteer fire department.
District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers and District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith considered the item when they met in regular session Monday in the commissioners’ conference room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.
It regards the Blue Volunteer Fire Department. The land in question had been deeded to the Blue Volunteer Fire Department by property owners Jerry and Barbara Donathan, according to county documents.
“The landowner kept a clause that if it (the fire department) ever stops existing, it goes back to him,” Smith said, referring to the land deeded to the fire department.
Although the original agreement had only been between the property owners and the Blue Fire Department, Pittsburg County is now involved because of a grant application made by the Blue Fire Department through the Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma, also known as KEDDO.
The application for a Rural Emergency Action Plan, or REAP, grant, requires that the county be involved since county tax dollars would be expended on the project.
“This has to be a lease from the fire department to the county,” Smith said.
Smith said he had a concern about what would happen to the property, after county tax dollars had been used to improve it, if the Blue Volunteer Fire Department ever ceased to exist.
He also noted that the county had not been part of the original agreement between the property owners and the Blue Volunteer Fire Department.
“Now that we’re involved . I would feel more comfortable if the DA’s office looks at it,” Smith said. “The original agreement was made before we were involved.”
District 18 Assistant District Attorney Chuck Sullivan agreed to review the document for the commissioners and report the results to them. He said the land involved is 1.08 acres.
On another item during the meeting, county commissioners moved forward on a request by Dustin Harris to vacate a road in Section 1, township 5 North, Range 15 east in Pittsburg County District 1.
County commissioners said they will have to give public notice of the request to vacate the road and it will have to come back before the commissioners before they can cast a vote on the item.
County commissioners also approved the holiday schedule for county employees for the 2014 calendar year. Before it becomes official, it still must be approved by the Pittsburg County Excise Board, said commissioners’ clerk Sandra Crenshaw..
Smith said the schedule approved Monday by the commissioners is the same as last year, with the exception that the date of some of the holidays will be slightly different in the coming year than in 2013.
The 2014 holiday schedule approved by county commissioners is:
• New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1.
• Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan 20.
• Presidents Day, Monday, Feb., 17.
• Good Friday, Friday, April 18.
• Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.
• Independence Day, Friday, July 4.
• Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1.
• Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 13.
• Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11.
• Thanksgiving, noon Wednesday, Nov. 26; Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28.
• Christmas, noon Wednesday, Dec. 24; Thursday, Dec. 25 and Friday, Dec. 26.
Also during the meeting, county commissioners initially approved a request from Larry and Wilma Bright to cross a county road for a utility line in District 1, then struck the item with the intent of bringing it back before the commission.
The commissioners had interpreted the road crossing application to indicate that the Brights wanted to place a gas line across the across the road, leading them to conclude the water line entry on the application had been an error.
That led to an amendment, which passed, to amend the application and change the water line request to one for a gas line.
However, upon further review in the wake of the item’s passage, commissioners determined that the original request for a water line had been correct. The gas line notation had been supplemental information in reference to other utilities on the property, according to  Smith and Rogers.
However, since the item had already been amended, voted on and passed as a gas line crossing, commissioners determined it will have to be brought back before the commission at a future meeting for another vote, this time for a water line crossing.
Commissioners also approved a lengthy list of canceled purchase orders for items no longer needed by a number of volunteer fire departments in the county, with many of the canceled purchase orders for Fuelman cards that were not needed for fuel purchases.
Fire departments with canceled purchase orders approved by the county commissioners included the Bugtussle, Blanco, Blue, Canadian, Gaines Creek, Haywood/Arpelar, Russellville and Sam’s Point volunteer fire departments.
Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.