McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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September 23, 2013

County gets $5M budget

McALESTER — Pittsburg County commissioners were presented for review a $5 million preliminary county budget for the new fiscal year during their regular meeting Monday at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.

No action was taken on the $5,604,160.62 budget presented by local accountant Mike Kern.

Kern said the new budget is $272.320.89 more than last year’s budget of $5,331,839.73.

In another agenda item, the commissioners took no action a new jail services agreement between the City of McAlester and the Pittsburg County Criminal Justice Center.

“Our district attorney is still waiting to hear from the attorney general’s office before we can go ahead with this so we won’t take action today,” said District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns asked commissioners at last week’s meeting to table the item because he was seeking approval for the contract from the Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Kerns said the proposal from the city to house city prisoners at the county jail calls for a five-year contract. He said, “The county cannot enter into an agreement for over a year.”

He said District Attorney Farley Ward, who acts as legal counsel for the county, advised commissioners and Kerns to seek an opinion from Pruitt’s office.

The move comes after the city closed its dilapidated jail facilities in June.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Joe Watkins of Scipio Baptist Church told the commissioners that a group of churches will be back again this year at the courthouse on Oct. 14 for the “See You on the Steps Patriotic and Prayer Rally.”

“We are having it on Columbus Day because that’s the day Columbus discovered America and we hope this will be the day America discovers God,” Watkins said.

Also attending Monday’s meeting was District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers.

Pittsburg County commissioners meet Mondays at 9 a.m. in the commissioner’s conference room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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