Rogers County Board of Commissioners seal

Rogers County Commissioners heard the second round of presentations from entities requesting American Rescue Plan Act funds last Wednesday.

The county will receive $17,959,007 in funds to allocate. The projects must be selected by 2024 and the funds must be spent by 2026, District 1 Commissioner Dan Delozier said.

The process will be thorough, and requests will be heard on the second Wednesday of every month, Delozier said.

“Every meeting we go to they said, ‘put the brakes on and slow down and make sure you’re spending this money correctly’, so that’s what we are doing.” Delozier said.

The requests must have some correlation with COVID-19 and can go to entities all over Rogers County.

Those requests include:

• Rural Water District #4 – Brian Kellogg spoke on behalf of the water district. He said the area is 15 years into a 20-year life expectancy on its current infrastructure. District 4 is also not on portable power and has gone five days without water before. Kellogg said it was estimated 6 months ago that the project would be around $3.5 million but said with today’s inflation it may be closer to $5 million. He did not request a specific amount.

• J.M. Davis Gun Museum – Wayne McCombs presented his request for around $108,000 to go to his museum. He proposed funding for filters to be placed on the museums existing air conditioning. These would filter out a significant about of dangerous germs to help protect staff, visitors and even artifacts, McCombs said. Another part of the funding would help the museum recoup losses from a six-week shutdown during the pandemic.

• Operation Community – Charity Emanuel, a veteran herself, presented a request for $25,368 for her year-old non-profit aimed at helping veterans find connection after returning home. She spoke about the large population of veterans in Rogers County and said veteran suicides increased by 20% since COVID-19. The funding would help the program expand more services and virtual platforms to veterans.

• Northwest Fire – Fire Chief Matt Shockley’s presentation included a rundown of the Northwest Roger’s County Fire Department’s work over the last two years. Shockley pointed out that the fire department was able to lower its Insurance Services Office rating to a two, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars in premiums. This ISO fire rating also placed NWRCFD in the top 1% in the country. His list of requests totaled $1,246,376, with $500,000 for station repairs, $500,000 in Premium Pay for essential workers and $114,938 for bunker gear. Other requests included a bunker gear dryer, an HOCL Generator and a drone.

• Rogers County Historical Society – John Cary, volunteer manager of the Belvidere Mansion asked for $24,617.44. Part of the funds would go to reimburse the Historical Society for rent payments on the Pink House, losses at the gift shop and from missed fundraisers during COVID-19. Cary said if the Historical Society were to receive reimbursement, the funds would go to restoring the mansion.

• Compassion Women’s Center – Misty Underwood presented for the Women’s Center – a comprehensive pregnancy center in the county. She requested $200,000 to help maintain the Center and help recover losses from COVID-19. The center provides a multitude of services for parents in need. She cited difficulties at hospitals during the pandemic, COVID-19 safety restrictions and an increase in substance abuse as what made providing care for new mothers more difficult. The Compassion Women’s Center is also working on introducing a fatherhood program.

• Rural Water District #7 – Charlie Tipton, District Manager, presented a plan to the commissioners for a larger water tower and a new water line that serves 4,500 people. He spoke about the strain cannabis farms has put on the water district. The project is around $3 million. He said drilling into tough rock and high prices for pipes are the reason for the high cost. The water district is asking for any help and consideration, Tipton said.

• Verdigris Fire – Fire Chief Mike Shaffer said many of his fire district’s needs are similar to those of the NWRCFD. Shaffer said the department had to absorb many costs during the pandemic. The department has only received one bond issue that was used to create the district in 1978. He also reported an increase in calls. He presented an exhaustive list of needs for the department.

• Pafford – Mechelle Cruv, Director of Operations for Eastern Oklahoma Pafford EMS discussed the increased call volumes and wait times from COVID-19. She said Pafford could use 10 new LUCAS machines which would help first responders deliver CPR more safely. She also requested a new medic tent, vehicle and trailer that would help with intake of patients.

• Disabled AM Vet Auxiliary – Millie Moseley, Commander of the Claremore DAV Auxiliary, spoke about missed fundraisers due to COVID-19. The group provides myriad services to veterans and works towards community engagement. Moseley asked for $20,000 but said the organization would be grateful for any funding. She said the funding would be spread out amongst several different projects the organization is currently working on.

• Jessica Smith – Smith is a Rogers County resident who lives in an area running off well water. She said since the pandemic hit, her water pressure is poor, and the water is dirty. Her water heater broke due to hard water, Smith said. She spoke for some of her neighbors and the water issues they face. “We hear you,” Delozier said. The commissioners have been working with engineer Brian Kellogg and Delozier said they are looking into other grants to possibly address the issue.

• American Legion – Joe Dorsey and Ricky Young presented for The Legion post 141. Dorsey said COVID-19 hit their location hard. They were shut down and their profits dropped significantly. Dorsey said the organization wants to continue doing community outreach to support veterans. Young said they are not asking for a specific amount, but anything would help.

The full presentations are available on the Rogers County Commissioner’s website under November’s minutes archive.

The first round of presentations was given to the commissioners on Sept. 8. Heritage Hill Golf Course, RSU TV, Will Rogers Memorial, American Legion, Alliance Mental Health, E-911 Center, Claremore Expo and Rodeo Arena, Rogers County Fair, Emergency Management, Rogers County Youth Services, OTEMS, Children’s Advocacy Center, Disabled American Veterans, SafeNet and Light of Hope were on all on the agenda to present that day.

The next round of presentations is slated for Dec. 8 at the County Commissioners special meeting at 10 A.M.

Trending Video

Recommended for you