The theme of Tuesday's State of the County address was simple — unity.
One-by-one, each of the county's elected officials gave a bird’s eye view of the activity taking place within their department. Beyond the day-to-day minutia, though, each of the elected officials referenced something broader, something new.
They each said there's a new sense of camaraderie in the courthouse.
"I'm not kidding when I say it's a pleasure to serve alongside these other elected officials. It has been very rewarding," said Commissioner Ron Burrows. "We have an amazing group of elected officials that work well together and with that we're able to accomplish a ton of things."
Commissioner Hendrix echoed the sentiment saying — "I'm excited to be part of this county government. There are great things going on and positive changes being made."
When it was his turn to address the group, Assessor Scott Marsh said he was speaking from the heart when he said he felt the same way.
"We're a family. And until the last couple years, we did not have a family at the Rogers County Courthouse," Marsh said. "Sometimes we act like a family, which is good and bad.
We have a really good group of people that have been elected, so kudos to everybody that votes."
Sheriff Scott Walton said he feels it, too.
"I'll echo what most of them have said — we're working with the best county government I've ever worked with in my eight years," Walton said. "We went through a dark time in our county government and it wasn't a proud thing to be part of. But we're past that. I think we have people here working in the best interest of the county."
They all agreed the future is bright for Rogers County.
Each of the elected officials was given the opportunity to break down the projects and progress in their areas, but Burrows said it is the budget he is most proud of.
He said he is proud they were able to get together and pass a balanced budget in their first meeting.
"With that we are also able to give all county employees a three percent raise. If we weren't able to get that done it would have been the fifth year without a raise. It was an honor to be part of that.," he said.
He said the county purchased the old federal building wail be starting the renovation process on that soon.
"So the square footage will be about double for the sheriff's office to use as office space.
Hopeful that space will last them for years to come," he said. "Over the last couple years we've invested over a million dollars in economic development. Economic development is hard to understand, it's like watching paint dry. It's a very, very long process. But we're starting to see the fruits of that already."
*See upcoming editions of the Progress for details from each of elected officials.