By: Alisha Thompson
The May 9 Davis City Council meeting could be described with one word, tense. The four and a half hour meeting came with budget questions and concerns with unclear resolutions, then revisiting the mowing contracts produced raised voices and a two and a half hour executive session left meeting attendees wondering what’s happening at City Hall.
The revised 2022-23 budget summary was placed on the agenda by councilman Clint Grinstead. A rough draft of the budget was presented in April and councilmen attended a workshop later in the same month.
City Manager Andy Holland said “This is our budget summary. What we showed you last was imbalanced in our total available expenditures knowing that we have to shift some money around. That became a little bit harder task than I originally thought because there are some restrictions within our funds.” Holland went on to explain that the funds from the recent water increase were going to be used for infrastructure to build the water treatment plant.
He also said that a review of operational funds happened leaving the city with the only option to tighten down on projected expenditures, talking about how to manage increases and when to execute capitol improvements. Holland said that comments from council members were considered in this process. “The overall goal was to make this balance without moving money from DMA to the General Fund,” Holland said. “We were able to achieve that and here it is right here. This is kind of going in where everything is black. That means each of the fund type is balanced.”
Holland said that the budget would change again before it’s finalized. “Right now I think the major muscle movement is done, there will be a little bit of fine tweaking,” Holland said.
Mayor Brian Davis asked if councilmen had what was going to discussed in the next action item in their packets. No, they didn’t. It was only on the screen. Holland went on to explain many capitol improvements on this list that put holes in the budget on the screen.
He said that capitol improvements could be deferred or canceled and added that the General Fund was so tight that he couldn’t absorb any additional. It was suggested the councilmen give additional input on anything they think should be deferred.
A $1million dollar grant factored into the budget didn’t go over well with Grinstead. “My only concern with is with that, I understand our budget is projected income, but on a grant like that we don’t know when it’s going to come. It’s kinda tough to use it to balance our budget,” Grinstead said. Holland was quick to reply with saying that the city will be okay if it came by the end of the year. “I don’t mind scheduling the capitol improvements but I don’t think we should execute them (without the $1 million factored into the budget being there),” said Grinstead.
While Grinstead felt that the grant shouldn’t have been factored in and considered as additional monies, other councilmen agreed with Holland that the budget was still in flux amendments could be made during the upcoming year.
Grinstead said that councilmen needed a finished budget to approve and suggested an additional working meeting. There was no meeting scheduled.
Holland said “the goal is that we come out positive, if it’s a $1 or zero.”
The budget has to be printed in the June 1 edition of The Davis News and passed by June 15.
Mowing Contracts for the Cemetery
The mowing contract presented at the April council meeting was reintroduced at the May 9 meeting.
Mayor Brian Davis said that he missed the meeting and asked for it to be presented a second time. Holland explained this idea was a “spur of the moment” thought after the cemetery sexton retired. He thought that contract mowing would be the answer to staffing shortages in the street department that would handle the mowing in the cemetery.
The cost of the contract could be from $150,000 to $130,000 based on contracts awarded. The street department is down three employees. “Right now I have a problem hiring and maintaining employees for varying reasons,” Holland said. At Turner Falls Park, half of the seasonal employees needed for the summer have been hired.
Grinstead asked about the Chickasaw Nation’s Reentry Program that could potentially provide labor free for the City of Davis. Holland said he didn’t check on the program.
Councilman Jeremy Bumgarner brought up the fact that he was uncomfortable awarding the contract for this price after the water rates had been raised. Holland responded to Bumgarner with with a raised and Bumgarner asking him not to yell at him.
While many different scenarios were presented, the vote passed 3 to 2. A limit of $155,500 was put on the contracts and the bids will be awarded if they will honor the bids placed in April. Grinstead stated his reason was no because of the fact the Chickasaw Reentry program and other programs were not considered and Bumgarner joined his no vote. Davis paused for quite some time before voting yes.
A two and half hour executive session took place with the agenda item stating the reason was to discuss the performance of and conduct the annual performance review of the City Manager. A city employee joined executive session. It was said that executive session got so heated that raised voices from the meeting could be heard at the opposite end of the building. When councilmen returned to the regular meeting, minutes were presented to the City Clerk/Treasurer. Nothing was said in the resumed meeting regarding the performance and annual review of the City Manager.
Council Meeting and DMA
Murray County Tire and Automotive was back on the agenda due to a change in it’s legal description. An existing ordinance was repealed and a new one was adopted in its place with a correct legal description for its annexation in to the city limits of Davis. Washita Medical Center’s new location at 38509 Highway 7 in Davis has been annexed into the city of Davis. Stefanie Fisher, owner of Washita Medical Center, said the new location will be open soon.
The Cemetery Board will meet Monday, June 6 at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers located at 306 S. Third Street.
Andy Cromer of HSPG & Associates have been given the green light to serve as the city’s new accounting firm. The city’s previous accounting firm announced the retirement of the owner. This firm was suggested because of the work they’ve done with municipalities.
Contracts between the City of Davis and INCA Community Services needed to be reissued for Head Start for the use of the city owned building.
Councilmen approved the increase in price of around $20,000 a year for Managed IT Department Statement of Work and Master Contract Agreement for the City of Davis.
The city manager’s spending limit was reduced by half by all councilmen. Holland’s spending limit went from $50,000 to $25,000.
In the Davis Municipal Authority Meeting, trustees voted to approve a contract with Murray County EMS for services at Turner Falls Park.
The next council meeting is June 13 at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers located at 306 South Third Street. This meeting was lives streamed in its entirety on the City of Davis – Oklahoma Facebook page.
(Editor’s note: This meeting can be viewed in its entirety on the City of Davis – Oklahoma Facebook page. To date, this meeting has received the most views during and after the live stream.)