ALTUS - The Altus City Council wants to see a representative of Jackson County present at the next regular meeting of the council before approving renewal of the contract with the Altus-Jackson County E-911 Regional Trust Authority.
The council tabled the item Tuesday night after discussing at some length the painful absence of monetary support from the county of the 911 system that's been in place countywide since 1996, when voters overwhelmingly approved the system
At that time, the county vowed to contribute some $45,000 annually to support the system but has yet to contribute. Now, with the county some $450,000 in arrears, council members are frustrated with the agreement, which was never etched in ink.
“We've been talking this for 10 years; we need to do something. I don't know what it is, but we need to do something,” said Councilman Don Johnson, who was Altus' mayor at the birth of the 911 authority.
The system is currently operated through a subsidy of about $300,000 from the city as well as a 7 percent to 15 percent base rate tariff on landline users.
In the general election in 2004, county voters turned down a 50-cent monthly surcharge on cell phone users to help defray the cost of equipment and operation of the system. And, according to Police Chief Mike Patterson, cell phones take up more than 50 percent of 911 calls.
In other action, the council:
- approved a request from G.A.R. Properties for the city to write a letter of “no objection” to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation on the sale by ODOT to G.A.R. of 20 feet of highway right of way on the south side of 2600 E. Broadway for construction of a new facility for Putnam Toyota.
- agreed to modify the refinancing schedule between the Altus Municipal Trust Authority and the city with Quartz Mountain Aerospace Inc, formerly Luscombe Aircraft Corporation. City Administrator Mike Nettles said the city had recently received a payment from the firm for $275,744.
- in a narrow 4-3 vote, approved spending a maximum amount of $1,750 for an “employee appreciation” family pool party at the Altus Pool, scheduled for July 20. Councilman Dean Garrett, expressing his intention to vote against the proposal, said that the party would be “untimely” in light of recent rises in cost for utilities and swimming pool fees.