I had the pleasure, and was among over 450 municipal officials from across the state who attended the annual Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) Conference and Exposition, held in Tulsa at the Double Tree Hotel and Cox Business Center, September 17-19, 2019. The City of Choctaw sent a total of 7 elected officials and staff members to participate in the annual conference.
Each year, officials gather for outstanding training and educational opportunities. This year, the officials chose from 43 various conference sessions covering top issues which are currently affecting cities and towns across the state, such as the recently passed medical marijuana bill, the upcoming 2020 Census, municipal budgeting, and much more.
In addition to the educational opportunities, delegates enjoyed the opening general session which featured LCDR (SEAL) Retired, John J. Parma, US Naval Officer, the exhibition hall, where they interacted with over 160 exhibitors, the OML annual meeting and awards ceremony, sponsor receptions, and the annual Hall of Fame Induction and banquet.
I learned two good lesson’s over the past 2 weeks. 1) The city will address storm debris much differently in the future and 2) reference the Ward 2 conversation with Councilman Mike Birdsong, preparations will be a bit different for future conversations.
I personally assessed the scope of damage to trees around the city after the latest “inland hurricane”. Waste Connections contracted with two large claw trucks for a total of 4.5 days which we thought would be plenty based on the initial assessment. The lesson learned here is, and I apologize, the initial assessment fell short. After word went out and the debris pick up progressed, it appears some took opportunity to do Fall tree trimming on top of the storm debris. The effort grew to much more than storm debris only, overwhelming the initial plan, and impacting pick up for those that really had tree damage from the storm. We had to make an adjustment to the plan. As this effort was not in the City Budget, and we could not continue with the expensive claw trucks, we wanted to continue to offer some relief options rather than cut off assistance in total. Thus the option for roll offs at Ten Acre Lake Park. Many took advantage of this option as Waste Connections hauled at least 6 roll offs a day over the 7 days. As of publishing this “corner” the roll off dumpsters are gone and we are in transition to the last phase. Choctaw residents now have 2 other options available after: Cut the debris in 4 foot bundles and Waste Connections will pick it up during your regularly scheduled bulky pick up, or obtain a burn permit from the fire department. Again, from these lessons learned the City will adjust such efforts in the future.
Conversation with Ward 2! Councilman Birdsong’s Ward 2 Conversation was well received by the public and his Ward 2 constituents. The Councilman was well prepared for most any questions. We were pleasantly surprised by the tone of the event in that citizens came to converse and give positive input into working together to move Choctaw forward. The lesson learned here was we weighted preparation efforts a bit too much on the 'gotcha' questions and in turn shorted efforts to promote the positive going on in the City. There was good discussion on roads, the way forward with roads, economic development, future business, and support to small business. Parks and Recreation efforts, and even a bit of historical preservation conversation. All in all well received and worth all the preparation.
Tinker Federal Credit Union Broke ground
September 25th for construction of a new Branch Office on Harper Road. What a great new partner for Choctaw! They plan to construct a 7,500 square foot facility, mostly automated tellers, with a Community room, and local coffee business. We look forward to their opening and welcome them into Choctaw.