Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward has a new mayor.
Commissioner Gary Goetzinger took over the reins of the Woodward City Commission on Monday night after being unanimously approved for the new position by his fellow commissioners.
His predecessor Roscoe Hill was selected to now serve as mayor pro tem.
While eagerly accepting the new position, Goetzinger did note that it will be an adjustment.
"I'm going to have to get used to it," he said as he took the center seat on the commission's dais which is reserved for the mayor.
Hill promised to assist Goetzinger in any way that he could, saying help was only a phone call away.
"You have my number," he told the new mayor.
Also on Monday, both Hill and Michelle Williamson were sworn into office following their recent reelection to the Ward 1 and Ward 4 commission seats.
As one of his first acts as mayor, Goetzinger presented certificates of commendation from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management to City Manager Alan Riffel and Assistant City Manager/City Finance Officer Doug Haines.
The certificates were signed by both Gov. Mary Fallin and state Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood. But Goetzinger told Riffel and Haines that the recognition was really "from your employees," who recommended them for the commendations.
The new mayor then read a brief speech extolling both Riffel's and Haines' efforts prior to, during and after the April 15, 2012 tornado.
He said the organizational re-structuring by Riffel and the financial planning by Haines helped to prepare the city so that it was able to respond effectively to the disaster.
Goetzinger said Riffel's "management structure fit in well with the organization of such a chaotic event, and allowed for more efficient and effective recovery work as Woodward quickly began the process of mending, healing and cleaning up."
He then said Haines' "financial preparation for the City of Woodward in the years before the tornado" helped to ensure that there were reserve funds that along with "solid budgeting and careful recovery expenditure monitoring, ensured that city departments could continue to function without undue financial hardship" following the storm.
Goetzinger said the commendations were in recognition for both men's many long hours and hard work behind the scenes which demonstrated "their inspiring, authentic dedication to our community."
DOWN TO BUSINESS
Once commissioners got down to business, they addressed a wide variety of items, starting with the annexation of a little over half an acre of land located at 4409 Williams Ave.
The annexation was requested by property owner Mike Caldwell who told commissioners that he has "the chance to rent to a long-time renter, but the property has to be in city limits to adhere to state statutes and regulations by the ABLE commission."
He said he couldn't reveal what the business was, but noted that since the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission is involved, "you can guess."
As part of the annexation approval, the property was zoned as a C-2 General Commercial District. In addition, an emergency clause was also approved making the annexation immediate.
Caldwell thanked the commissioners "for your swift action" in approving the annexation, adding "hopefully it can now makes us all some money."
In other action, the city approved a mowing agreement with Green Zebra Services to mow 10 different public areas around Woodward, including Experiment Lake, the museum and veterans memorial, Woodward Senior Center, and several parks.
Green Zebra is responsible for mowing each of the properties at 10 to 12 day intervals throughout the summer, at a total rate of $2,775 for each mowing period.
This will be in addition to the mowing contract with Uncle Bill's Lawn Care Service that the commissioners approved during their April 15 meeting for mowing services at 9 other locations throughout the city at a rate of $1,580 per 10-12 day mowing period.
At the request of City Commissioner Steve Bogdahn, Riffel explained why the city had moved to hiring outside contractors for the summer mowing season.
Riffel said that the city had previously made use of inmate labor from William S. Key Correctional Center to help complete all the mowing. But due to staffing shortages at the prison, it has been difficult for the city to get inmate crews on any sort of regular basis.
"So our options this year as we go into the mowing season is do we do it with city crews or do it with contract for services?" Riffel said.
After receiving bids that were for rates lower than what the city would have to pay its own crews to perform the same mowing work, the city manager said it was decided to proceed with the contractors.
Also on Monday, commissioners:
• discarded action on a zoning request as the request had been withdrawn.
• approved an agreement to cage and dispose of stray dogs from the Town of Gage at a rate of $3 a day for caging and $10 for humane disposal; the city already has similar agreements with 10 other area communities.
• renewed it's management agreement with K&T Catering, L.L.C. for the management and operation of the Aquatics Center this summer, with K&T Catering paying the city a fee based on a percentage of the cumulative admission fees.
• accepted a bid for $77,575 from Washington Roofing of Great Bend, Kan. for roof repairs at Kid's Inc., the Public Works warehouse and Elmwood Cemetery.
• denied a $121.50 claim for sewer expenses related to an overflowing toilet.
• adopted a resolution authorizing a payment of $6,123.79 as the matching portion of an 80-20 E-Rate grant for the Woodward Public Library, covering the library's annual Internet provider charges.
• approved a labor agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 187 for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 which includes a 2 percent cost of living pay increase, an increase in vacation days after 20 years and a "step rate pay plan for a 1 percent increase every 2 years based on performance," Riffel said.
• awarded the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Woodward Campus with $60,000 in financial support to help fund a full time nursing instructor at the campus; Bogdahn said he felt the support was "fitting and appropriate," since the NWOSU nursing program helps to provide nurses for local health facilities, which he said in turn means more people earning salaries in Woodward and spending their money here.
• approved Change Order No. 1 from Eagle View relative to the Boiling Springs Golf Course improvement project in the amount of a $155,102 increase for installation of sod, bunker drainage, tee maintenance and other repairs that were not previously identified in the original scope of work.