STATE OF THE COUNTY

The trio of Rogers County Commissioners provided an inside look into key county issues.

The commissioners, during the State of the County luncheon hosted by the Claremore Chamber of Commerce, discussed: county government, population growth, transportation, public safety, economic development, community development and the future of Rogers County.

Commissioner Dan Delozier began by explaining the structure of county government—outlining the eight elected positions.

He explained that each commissioner is elected to represent a different district.

Delozier represents district 1, Steve Hendrix is commissioner of district 2 and Ron Burrows is commissioner of district 3.

Delozier continued in giving an account of the county parcels: 8,737 agriculture, 34,290 residential, 2,956 commercial and 7,823 personal.

"Looking at the general fund, you can see the changes we've made over the years. In 2015 we were at $24-$25 million in total revenues, and now in 2017 we're down to just over $14 million," he said. "One of the main changes is the one cent sales tax."

He said the county has worked hard to reduce their total expenditures.

"In looking at population growth, these are kind of staggering numbers. In 38 years we've grown from 46,436 people in Rogers County to 91,780 this year. We've almost doubled in numbers in 38 years," he said.

Delozier then provided those in attendance with an overview of transportation and infrastructure in the county.

He said there is a total of 1,150 miles of road not counting highways and 118 bridges in Rogers County. Of those bridges, he said, 46 are deficient.

Several of the county's bridges have already been replaced or repaired including the Dog Creek Bridge, Claremore Lake Bridge and others in each of the three districts.

"In looking at public safety. We train all our employees in Hazmat training and earthquake bridge inspection raining," he said. "We have reliable safety gear for employees and monthly training on a variety of health and safety issues."

Delozier said in his district, district 1, they also provide vehicle maintenance for the Rogers County Sheriff's Office, Town of Chelsea, Planning Commission, Assessor and Emergency Management.

He then moved on to discuss the Rogers County Jail inmate numbers, 911 Center call volume and the number of warrants being served.

Delozier reports that from November of 2017 to November of 2018 the average daily inmate count at the Rogers County Jail was 305. The highest count hit 337 and the lowest was 261. During this year period, a total of 3,155 inmates were processed.

A total of 29,048 calls were taken at the 911 Center and a total of 2,480 warrants were served.

"The Tulsa Port of Catoosa has an economic impact of $300 million on Oklahoma. Customers send and receive more than 2.2 million tons of cargo each year by barge, rail and truck," he said switching gears to look at economic development.

Commissioner Burrows joined in to add,"Sofidel will invest $360 million over three years to build a new integrated paper production plant in Inola."

Construction of the plant began this last March and will be completed by mid-2020.

Burrows said, "Once fully operational, the new plant will employ 300 full-time workers and will combine sustainability and technological innovation."

On the economic development front, they added that Dollar General has opened several new locations throughout the county.

Delozier praised the successes in community development as well.

He cited the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey in saying Rogers County has the highest median home value in Oklahoma at $157,300.

In looking at the housing needs of the county he added, "Housing need over the next five years is 1,104 and 295 rental properties."