Jackson County Commissioners voted for the District Attorney to draft a long-term lease agreement regarding the Warren Community Center Property after a discussion was held on Tuesday, May 27, at the regular meeting of the County Commissioners. Warren Senior Citizen’s Center Board members asked the county to return the property deed back after it was initially transferred to Commissioners in 2006 so a parking lot could be paved on the property using a SWODA grant.
During Tuesday’s discussion, District Attorney John Wampler advised Commissioners of their options, stating that they are not legally permitted to relinquish the deed to a private non-profit organization unless it is declared as surplus and advertised for auctioning.
In 2006, the Warren Senior Citizen’s Center Board sought to construct a parking lot, but legislation prevented use of grant money for projects situated on private property, then owned by the senior organization. In order for a $25,000 SWODA grant to be approved, the arrangements were made to transfer the deed to Jackson County. At that time there was no written agreement or contract that indicated the deed would ever be transferred back to the former deed holder.
Wampler said in an interview yesterday that in a 2006 Commissioners meeting he advised then Commissioners (Douglas Lanford, Ricky Crouch and Dale Dunn) and Warren Senior Citizen’s Center representatives (Pat Hunter and Eldon Bagwell) that if they deeded the property the “downside” is that it could not be given back.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it was clear,” said Wampler. Current Commissioners and Board members were not serving in their respective offices when the deed was transferred over to the county. After the parking lot was paved, there was a discussion held about leasing the property to the senior center. Wampler said that once the initial pavement job was complete both parties did not follow through with drafting a lease agreement.
Chuck Workman, Board member of the Warren Senior Citizen’s Center, said in an interview that they signed the deed over to the county believing the deed would be returned to them after the parking lot was paved.
“We’re just asking for our deed back,” Workman said. “They told our people that they could give it back to us. It’s a jumbled up mess and they broke the law by doing it… by promising something that they couldn’t fulfill. So, consequently what they did after they got it then, they wouldn’t give it back.”
Workman said that both sides are at fault and it shouldn’t have been done to begin with. “The guy that signed the deed over to them, all he was thinking about was getting the parking lot put in. Both parties broke the law they way I look at it. They should give the property back to who it belongs to.” Workman said that the Warren Senior Citizen Center has been paying for maintenance and insurance over the years even though the deed has belonged to the county.
“I know he’s got the law on his side but he ought to look at it from our side of it too,” Workman said of current state statutes that prevent the county from selling the property. “We want our building back.”
According to the County Commissioner meeting minutes of January 9, 2006, there was no mention of returning the deed to the Warren Senior Citizen’s Center Board.
A draft lease agreement will be considered in a future meeting.
Other items approved during Tuesday’s meeting were blanket purchase orders for District 1, $5,000 for Dolese Bros., and District 3, $6,000 for Dolese Bros., for road patching materials and for the Assessors Office, $17 for Aquafin water. Commissioners approved to advertise for bids on an anionic rubberized emulsion for chip seal application, and to advertise for bids for road and bridge materials, tires, and herbicides for July 1, through Dec. 31. They also approved the Commissioner’s sale by Jackson County Treasurer Renee Howard of 1105 Katy Drive for $200, acquired at resale.
Commissioners also approved an installation permit in District 1 between the Board of County Commissioners and Indian Health Service Office of Environmental Health & Engineering to road bore 4” casing for 2” PVC water main extension under and below CR 205 between 156 and 155 for a half mile.
They also approved a State of Oklahoma, Jackson County, Application Permit, Public Service/Pipeline Crossing between the Board of County Commissioners and Pioneer Telephone Cooperative to directional bore/plow a fiber optic cable along CR 205 and CR 165.
There was no new business. After approval of claims, the meeting adjourned.