By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Cleveland County commissioners are gearing up for summer roadwork. County Purchasing Agent Melinda Duke opened bids for highway and bridge materials Monday at the county commissioners meeting.
“Road season is here,” Commissioner Rusty Sullivan said. “We’ve gone to 10-hour days.”
County crews work four days at 10 hours per day during summer months to save time and money. The longer hours allow county crews to stay longer at a road site without having to set up, clean up and transport materials and equipment back and forth.
One of those road projects inside city limits in east Norman is a collaborative effort with the city to pave a gravel road. The mile-long paving project is on Lindsey Street east of 84th Avenue Southeast.
“The county works really closely with the city of Norman and always has,” District 2 Road Foreman Paul Meyer said. “The county and city both want to eliminate all dirt roads in this district.”
Road crews were grading the gravel road Monday to prepare the surface for paving.
“We try to eliminate one or two miles of dirt road every year, and this is one of them,” Meyer said. “We have a total of four dirt roads that we’re going to eliminate this year that are on the list to be paved.”
The District 2 projects slated for this summer are all in east Norman.
Bids for road materials will be vetted, and commissioners likely will award those bids next week.
Commissioners also discussed a possible remodel in the courthouse to create more space for the Human Resources Department. A possible solution is to use the Budget Board meeting room, reduce the size of the law library and add conference meeting space to the law library area that could be used by the budget board.
In other county business, commissioners and other elected county officials spent a large part of the day in a budget board meeting that started at 10:30 a.m. The budget meeting was recessed for the county commission meeting and reconvened at 2 p.m.
“Everybody just presented their budgets — what their estimate of needs is for the next fiscal year,” County Commissioner Chair Rod Cleveland said. “Of course, some department heads were asking for some modest amounts of pay raises.”
All of the county officers and department heads were cognizant of keeping spending down.
“Some of them asked for an increase in payroll but took a decrease in capital improvements where they didn’t need anything,” Cleveland said. “There is an increase in the cost of doing business from year to year.”
Cleveland said the cost of benefits and insurance goes up annually and the budget must account for that.
County departments presented budget requests for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1. From now through June, the Budget Board will work on creating a balanced and fiscally responsible budget.
At the commissioners meeting, Undersheriff Rhett Burnett said 400 prisoners currently are in the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center. Of those, 110 are Department of Corrections prisoners, 99 of which have judgment and sentencing and are ready to be transported to state facilities. Until those prisoners are transported, the state reimburses the county for a portion of their care.
Commissioners approved the following blanket purchase orders:
· District 1 — Dave’s Small Engine, $500; Warren Cat $3,500; Fleet Pride $1,500; Palace Auto Supply $3,500, Don’s Mobil Lock $300; Crossland’s A&A Rent $1,000, Bruckner’s Truck Sales $2,500; ATC Freightliner $1,200; Farm Plan, Inc. $500; Lampton Welding Supply $1,000
· District 2 — C.L. Boyd Company $2,000; Industrial Specialties $1,200; Noble Farm and Building $2,000
· District 3 — The Farm Store $500; Waste Disposal $200; Interstate Battery of SW Oklahoma $1,500; P&K Equipment $1,500; T& W Tire $2,500
· OSU Extension Center — CDW Government $300
· Health Department — Trent Bourland $2,000; Lowe’s Companies Inc. $300; Smirk New Media $6,000
· Sheriff’s Office — Occupational Health Center $750; Forest Lumber Company $200; Copelin’s Office Center $500
Commissioners approved the following purchase orders: General Fund $721,416; Highway Fund $168,472; Health Fund $166,746; Sheriff Service Fee Fund $1,018; Sheriff Commissary Fund $4,094; Sheriff Revolving Fund $21,636; Sheriff Cleveland County Justice Center $3,853; Sheriff Criminal Alien Assistance Grand Fund $1,732; County Clerk Preservation Fund $26,409, Fair Board $3,057.
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.