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City commissioners tackle busy September agenda

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 - The Sallisaw Board of City Commissioners discussed a wide range of topics at their regular September meeting Monday.

The COVID-19 pandemic was once again a hot topic among the commissioners and city staff. City Manager Keith Skelton discussed a new policy for city employees that's based on guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He noted that the policy has “a lot of leeway” and is “subject to change” based on any changes to current local, state and federal guidelines.

The policy allows the city's human resources department to handle each positive COVID case individually, and if circumstances dictate, an individual case may be handled differently from the guidance provided in the policy. The policy also provides guidance on when the employer should be notified and when quarantine or isolation is required. In addition, the policy issues guidance on how fully vaccinated employees are treated if they are exposed to COVID-19, and it provides guidance on how leave time is used if an employee is required to quarantine or isolate. Unless otherwise dictated by state or federal directives, employees who are subject to isolation or quarantine will be required to use their accumulated leave time following the guidance of the City of Sallisaw Personnel Manual. If an employee does not have sufficient leave time available, that leave will be unpaid. If a fully vaccinated employee is required to isolate or quarantine, that employee will be eligible for up to five days of administrative leave with pay.

Though City of Sallisaw employees are not required to get the vaccine, Skelton strongly recommended they do so, but urged them to “do their research” first. The city will pay employees for time spent getting the vaccine during regular work hours, but supervisors must approve the leave to minimize department interruptions.

The commissioners approved the new COVID-19 guidelines for City of Sallisaw employees, with commissioner Josh Bailey casting the only dissenting vote.

By a unanimous vote, the commissioners approved a resolution amending the city's master fee schedule, which means that as of Oct. 1, residents will notice a few changes to some city fees. Key changes include an increase in the landfill tipping fee, from $27.50 per ton to $29.50 per ton. It also increases the minimum charge at the landfill to $20 per load. Other fee changes include an increase in the realtor short-term utility connect fee from $30 to $35 per 24-hour period. The measure also combines the spay, neuter and vaccination fees for adopted pets into one single adoption fee of $50, and it increases the cost of private pool parties to $250 in anticipation of increases in salaries for pool managers and lifeguards.

The commissioners also unanimously approved the purchase of a self-service payment kiosk for the Sallisaw Airport from Rebel Services LLC of Ripley, Miss. Sallisaw Economic Development Director George Bormann told the commissioners that a 2020 lightning strike at the airport had caused ongoing problems with the existing Fuelmaster aviation fuel-purchasing system. The new kiosk will be funded by money from the American Rescue Plan and the Federal Aviation Administration. Bormann said Rebel Services could start the installation in about two weeks.

Also happening at the airport, recent changes in Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulations forced the redesign of the containment curb, additional bollard placement and a fence relocation at the Airport Fuel Farm, Bormann said. The changes also modified the scope of the city's contract with Garver Engineering in the amount of $23,859.72. Bormann said the change is eligible for 90 percent reimbursement from the FAA.

A topic from August's meeting, an ordinance regarding the issuance of licenses for transient and itinerant vendors, came up again at Monday's meeting. Skelton brought the ordinance back to the commissioners after its review by the city's planning commission. On Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved the measure, which eliminates the $600 license fee and establishes a license fee of $25 per day, with licenses issued for up to 14 consecutive days. The policy also more clearly defines license exemptions, including adding an exemption for food trucks that are connected to city utilities. It also provides guidance for vendors who are participating in special events where a special event permit has been issued.

Transient or itinerant vendors are those who engage in a temporary business of selling and delivering goods, wares or merchandise within the city, except those engaging in garage sales, sales of nonprofit entities and/or organizations, special event vendors at special events and those selling handcrafted furniture, artworks and/or crafts, fruits, vegetables and food products at the farmer's market.

Before applying to the Sallisaw city clerk for an itinerant vendor license, the itinerant vendor must obtain an Oklahoma sales tax permit, which needs to be presented to the city. At minimum, the following information is required to apply for an itinerant vendor license:

*Name and ownership of the business

*Permanent addresses of the business

*Name of agent making the application, which requires credentials authorizing the applicant to act as agent on behalf of the business

*Location(s) where sales will be made

*Starting and ending dates vendor will make sales within the city limits of Sallisaw

*A statement of the nature and character of the goods, wares, services or merchandise to be sold or offered for sale by the applicant. It shall be noted if sales are direct sales or sales by taking orders for future delivery

*A copy of the current and valid State of Oklahoma sales tax permit in the name of the person or business making application.

The commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution allowing the Sallisaw Municipal Authority to purchase property from the Rhodes Family Revocable Trust. The 62-acre property is adjacent to the Sallisaw Airport off South Cedar. The promissory note is not to exceed $750,000.

In other business, the commissioners:

*Approved the Sallisaw Fire Department's purchase of a rescue bed from Fouts Bros. of Smyrna, Ga., in the amount of $57,439.25.

*Approved the purchase of a Kubota MX6000 60hp cab tractor from Gray Brothers Equipment of Poteau for $40,449.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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