City Manager's Corner

What is going on?

Team Choctaw, the rain has finally stopped and by the time you read this I think we will all be ready for at least a passing shower.  Your Parks and Recreation team put on a great 4th of July in the Park.   I hope you had a chance to enjoy the activities, but if you didn’t please plan on next year—it gets better every year.  The Mayor opened the event by dedicating the new playground to John Miskelly.  Kids’ activities in the afternoon included water slide inflatables and a touch a truck display with fire, police, and public works vehicles and equipment.  A multitude of dining choices was available with 5 food trucks and beverages for purchase from Charlie’s.  The Professional Corn Hole Association was present for a corn hole tournament.  We had a long toss competition, balloon toss, and water balloon fights.  A DJ provided music throughout and the night was capped by an awesome fireworks demonstration courtesy of Rudy’s Fireworks.  A great time had by all at the Choctaw Creek Park.  Then on July 19th the first in our “Movies in the Park” series began at the Golf Course.  Check the City Website for on-going summer fun activities.  

I encourage everyone to visit the City Website for the most up-to-date happenings.  The website has quite a bit of functionality for the individual citizen.  Sign up for push notifications on areas of interest and tailor the notifications to your needs.  From emergency notifications, meetings and agendas, or special events in the City, the website is your one-stop-shop.  Please take advantage of the push notification functionality of the website.  

The Mayor’s Roads Committee, chaired by Councilman Malone and Vice Chair Councilman Birdsong, meets regularly.  The committee is split into two sub-committees:  1) Finance Subcommittee to study financing options for roads, and 2) Roads Subcommittee to prioritize roads in most need.  The sub-committee recommendations to the main committee will be key to final recommendations made to Council.  The majority of committee members are your fellow citizens and we thank them for taking the time to assist in developing recommendations that will impact Choctaw positively far into the future.  I will pass on pertinent committee information as I get it.  It will take the team a few months to study then refine recommendations, and I can assure you they are taking this task seriously and will present quality recommendations to Council.  

Have you noticed the lack of stickers at the Parks, Soccer Fields, & Golf Course this year?  Earlier this winter a few employees from Parks & Recreation were trained and certified in chemical application.  We applied pre-emergent early in the spring and are very happy with the results.  Not all the stickers are gone and it will most likely take a few years to eradicate all the stickers, but the result is better than expected.  Oh, and we saved the City approximately $12K by doing the pre-emergent and post applications in-house.  

The new budget year started 1 July and inside City Hall we transitioned to a new finance system.  It has a broad suite of reports and functionality enabling up-to-the moment status of funds, budget, and transparency.  As staff learns the ins-and-outs of the reporting tools we will attempt to make the more easy-to-understand reports available and posted on the Finance Department page of the city website.  We are already seeing benefits with easier-to-read reports on the consent agenda to Council.  

Crews repaired the Choctaw Road tin horn washout and, with the nicer weather, are working down the list of other weather related washouts.  Streets Dept. is almost finished with a needed concrete repair on Shelby, working on pothole repairs on Henney and Reno, scheduling repair for a failing tin horn on Indian Meridian, and re-scheduling the 10th Street patch work.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as the Streets Dept. is working to get back on schedule after the damaging rains in May.  The May rain put developers, dirt work teams, and construction projects about 90 days behind schedule.  

Repairs to Bouse Park are ongoing as we prepare for the fall sports season.  New fencing is up around the splash pad and playground.  Work started on a Monument sign for the entrance to the park.  The team is working on the outfields, filling holes and leveling the ground for better drainage and safety.  The management team is working on sign-ups, training, coaches meetings, and parents meetings.  We are off to another successful season. 

The schematic design phase of the Downton project completed last week with presentation to Council by the Design Architect.  The team presented the floor plans, site plans, exterior elevations, a 3-dimensional model of the project, and documents suitable for a schematic level construction cost estimate.  The City will use the documents to market the building for potential tenants and or investors.  It is a slow process but important to bringing in the “stay and play” opportunities for those living in Choctaw and nearby.  Your Council is excited about this project, as it will offer much needed new, modern office & retail space for local businesses.  

The new Waste Water Treatment Plant is set to come on line in August with a final completion in November.  The new plant will save the City 2 staff positions, modernize operations with remote capabilities, and increase capacity to accommodate Choctaw well into the future.  The new plant can handle just north of 1 million gallons a day, with extra capacity to surge to 3 million gallons a day if needed, such as during big rain events.  Current average is approximately 500 gallons per day.  

Council amended a few ordinances over the last few weeks.  Driving around, moving, and running over road barriers seems to be an issue in our City.  Council addressed this through an amendment and a pretty stiff fine for ignoring road barriers.  The main concern, from a public safety standpoint, were the water rescues Emergency Response personnel executed during the May 21 rains.  Not only does ignoring the barriers & Emergency Response vehicles put you at risk, it puts the Emergency Responders at risk, too.  In the near future Council will also update the Smoking Ordinance to include all tobacco & marijuana products, and vaping.  One of the requirements in order to compete and receive money through the Oklahoma Healthy Living grant program is to pass such an ordinance.  

Sometime in September your Council and City Manager will meet to take a look back on successes and what course corrections may need to be made to facilitate future success.  Keeping things positive, what good is happening in Choctaw!

Your City Manager, 

Ed Brown

--posted July 23, 2019