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January 28, 2014

County commissioners adopt temporary burn ban

NORMAN — The lack of rain and recent grass fires prompted Cleveland and McClain County commissioners to join more than a dozen other state counties in adopting temporary burn bans Monday.

Banned are campfires, trash fires, bonfires and fireworks. Welders and roadbuilders that use propane burners must have fire watchers standing by with extinguishers or water.

Emergency manager George Mauldin recommended the ban.

“Everyone has had more than their normal numbers of fires this year,” Mauldin said.

“Obviously, it’s a very precarious situation we are entering into over the next few weeks,” said Darry Stacy, District 2 commissioner. His crews helped extinguish a fire Sunday afternoon on East Alameda.

In other action Monday, commissioners cast a rare split vote on a county vegetative/construction refuse policy. The policy allows county crews to dump tree limbs, road construction materials or other items onto nearby private property, rather than having to haul it to a landfill.

Commission Chairman Rusty Sullivan wanted to amend the policy to exclude dumping material on property owned by county employees or their relatives.

He said he didn’t want the appearance of impropriety and thought it best that the policy be amended.

“All it takes is a phone call,” said Sullivan, District 3. “We’re setting ourselves up to get hammered.”

Commissioner Rod Cleveland said he thought the policy was fair as written.

Additionally, commissioners:

· Tabled a six-month bid for asphalt.

· Purchased more than $20,000 worth of paper for use in county printers.

· Contracted for $67,000 with a geographic information system consultant for the county assessor.

· Entered into $1 million in street resurfacing agreements with Norman and Oklahoma City for work on Southeast 149th and Southeast 89th.

· Approved a $1,050 emergency payment for cleanup from a water leak in the district attorney’s office.

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