Citizen compainsto council aboutillegal dumping

By Mary O. Esparza -

The Altus Municipal Authority meeting was Tuesday evening in the council chambers.

Councilman Dr. Rick Henry served as acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Jack Smiley. The minutes for the July 5 meeting were approved, along with the receipt of claims list and the consent agenda.

Public Works Director Johnny Barron described the emergency repairs to clarifier No. 2 at the Altus Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant completed July 22. The clarifier was built in 1972 and removes solids from wastewater after it leaves the aeration basins. Clear water leaves around the edge and solids are captured for recycling or disposal.

On June 7, Smiley authorized an emergency purchase for repairs to the clarifier. Southwest Construction and Steel LLC or SWCS was contacted and the company agreed to perform the work, beginning immediately. SWCS had an employee crawl about 50 feet through a 24-inch pipe to take pictures and find the problem.

The repair was completed by feeding about 10 feet of 20-inch steel pipe into the existing pipe 24-inch pipe . The new pipe had to be cut into pieces and welded together from inside the larger pipe to form a new pipe section with a sharp elbow.

The City of Altus water and sewer maintenance department helped with camera work, pumping ground water, pumping processed water and digging with a Bobcat and backhoe.

Barron’s estimate was $130,000 for repairs that took from June 23 to July 22, but and the final cost is not yet known because the city has not received all invoices.

The AMA went into executive session and returned without any votes. There were updates on possible legal action designated confidential communications between the trustees and legal counsel regarding pending litigation between the city and AMA vs. Glen Briggs & Associates and Indeck Power Equipment Company in Jackson County District Court.

The AMA adjourned and the regular meeting of the Altus City Council convened. The consent agenda was approved, along with the July 5 minutes and receipt of claims list.

In the comments from the audience portion of the meeting, Altus resident David Sherwood spoke to the council about illegal dumping.

Sherwood, who lives in the 2300 block of Cherokee Strip Street, said many times he has encountered contractors and citizens illegally dumping trash directly behind his house in the alleyway. Sherwood said he has made several calls to code enforcement and at times they cannot be reached, especially on the weekends. He said he had called the Altus Police Department and was told to get the vehicle tag number and report it.

Sherwood recalled an incident in which he had a confrontation with an illegal dumper who had pulled a gun on him. He asked council, “if they would like it if a 16-foot stock trailer pulled up dumping hay, manure, and other junk behind their house causing stink, filth, mosquitoes, and other issues.” He said the city has had to re-grade the area and he has even placed railroad ties to keep the water from overflowing at times.

“I am asking the council to please try and do something about illegal dumping,” he said. “Can’t we have an ordinance or can the APD or code enforcement issue a citation? The answer should not be just to sweep it up against my fence,and leave the problem for me, and that is what police officers Munn and Ratliff told me to do.”

Sherwood thanked the council for listening to him, and letting him gripe and asked to please have something done.

The Street Department received approval of the purchase of a case 621F Wheel Loader in the amount of $153,294.49.

The council gave approval to amend Chapter 17 motor vehicles and traffic , Altus code 1980; section 17-1 to repeal the definition of “DUI elements,” and revise and delete “DUI While Under Age, DUI Second Offense,” and repeal section “Driving Under the Influence, Second Offense.” Effective Nov. 1, all prosecutions for DUI, DWI, and APC be filed with the Jackson County District Court.

Council gave approval to allow Wade J. Hudson of Wes Properties, owner of the property at 801 N. Willard to continue the rehabilitation of the residential building and to rehabilitate or remove two dilapidated accessory buildings on the property. Staff will continue to monitor the structure and rehabilitation of the property.

Items tabled till the next meeting included agenda item No. 7, the consideration, discussion, and approval of the permanent placement of stop signs at the intersection of Val Verde Street and Tierra Rica Circle, per recommendation of the chief of police and traffic engineer, to improve the safety of the streets as authorized by the city ordinance and state law.

Also tabled was item No. 11, the report from the street commissioner and city engineer about recent flooding of Wilmes Ford area.

Council gave approval and authorization for City Manager Janice Cain to sign a temporary six-week contract with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to use inmate workers for the city

The council welcomed new City Manager Janice Cain and the meeting was adjourned.

By Mary O. Esparza

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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