Tuesday evening the Pawhuska City Council met to come to a decision regarding Pawuska's lack of public restroom facilities. At the February meeting the council gave guidance and discretion to Terry Loftis in order to bring back the best options for creating a public restroom. Loftis had initiated the public restroom discussion at the February meeting and had developed several ideas for locations, size, and design. Loftis returned this week with blueprints with the three options the council had approved, the Downtown Pocket Park, the City Hall Park, and the Ranchers Plaza.
Loftis expressed concern with building the restroom near City Hall as it would cause additional pedestrian traffic across HWY 60, he had also discussed the option with Police Chief Scott Laird who had reservations about the restroom being so close to the Police Station, especially the rear entrance.
The City Council had reservations of Loftis' original plan to put the restroom in the Pocket Park, however agreed to visit the idea as an alternative, but the Council, Loftis, and many of the Downtown business owners preferred the Ranchers Plaza location.
Ranchers Plaza is owned by Blue Sky Bank, therefore in order for the City to build in that location they would need a lease. Blue Sky agreed to sign a 50 year lease with the City of Pawhuska to use the location as a public restroom site, with the option of an additional 50 years. Once the Council had decided on the location of the restrooms, they needed to approve a bid and a contract.
As Terry Loftis had created the blueprint, he also created a tentative bid for what cost of construction would be. He determined that the complete construction of the building, with siding, sidewalk, and finishing would cost between $60-65,000 however proposed a bid of $58,674 without siding and sidewalk. In order for the City Council to approve spending of more than $50,000 they would need to declare a state of emergency for the Purpose of Health and Safety. Ward 1 Council Member Roger Taylor had reservations of declaring a state of emergency in order to build a restroom, and felt that perhaps they should conduct bids through traditional means, Taylor's reservations were noted but the other members of the council felt the situation did constitute a Public Health and Safety emergency and approved Loftis' bid of construction for $58,674.
Council member Steve Holcombe expressed desire to donate funds to help offset the cost for the construction, as did an unnamed party who told Loftis they would be willing to donate $20,000 towards the project. City Attorney John Heskett stated that the City can earmark donations to the city, for the project. Loftis stated that construction of the facility should take five to six weeks.
This week at the meeting of the Osage County Board of County Commissioners, Christi McNeil from the Osage County Housing Authority discussed grants and reappointment of Housing Authority Commissioners, Sheriff Eddie Virden presented the results of the Sheriff Departments exit audit, and the Commissioners added a new county road to their inventory.
Christi McNeil of the Osage County Housing Authority brought forward reappointment letters for the five Housing Authority Commissioners, only by chance were all five eligible for reappointment this year. Sheila Tolson will be reappointed for another two year term, her third. Denver Whinery will also be reappointed for a third two year term as Tenant Commissioner. Alan Brown will serve an additional one year term. Lafe Burnett, who has served for 25 years, agreed to an additional three year term, and Jacquelyn Harrison also agreed to serve an additional three year term.
Sheriff Eddie Virden presented the results of the Osage County Sheriff Department's exit audit. Virden stated they have conducted an extensive inventory to locate items that are on the Department's inventory are identified, relocated, or surplussed depending on each circumstance. Virden also stated the Department will also be conducting an inventory simplification and consolidation, to ensure items that are no longer necessary are surplussed.
Lastly, the Commissioners signed a resolution adopting a new road into the County's inventory. Identified on the map as North 30th West Avenue, West of Sperry, the road has been maintained by the County as a courtesy in the past, and will now be the responsibility of the County to maintain. The Osage County Board of County Commissioners will meet again next Monday at the Osage County Courthouse in Pawhuska.