County removes Courthouse as public shelter

May 7—With storm season officially underway, the Board of Commissioners removed the usage of the Stephens County Courthouse as a public shelter for safety of residents.

After numerous calls and questions regarding the courthouse's use as a public shelter, Chairman Russell Morgan brought the suggestion to the table from Stephens County Emergency Management to remove the courthouse from being listed as a public shelter.

Morgan said the first reason is for the safety of the public.

After receiving several calls in recent weeks, Stephens County Emergency Manager Gary Curtis said it's not safe to travel any distance during severe storms.

Morgan then made a motion that "Stephens County Courthouse is not a public shelter," which the board approved.

Curtis said when severe weather hits, to go to the most inner part of a home "with at least two walls between you and the outside, unless it's a mobile home."

The county board also agreed to remove the signage from the building.

In another segment, Ken Shaw, construction manager at-risk (CMAR) with Hope Equipment and Construction, gave an update regarding change orders for the Stephens County Courthouse Annex project.

The board approved change orders, which included installation of new carpet squares, building a mop closet and installing a mop sink, the installation of the mini split in the IT room, roof repair, air filtration in the evidence room and eliminating an electrical panel in the detective area.

Shaw said the change orders total $18,251.

After discussing the roof, Morgan said he would like to consider moving forward to replace the roof.

Commissioner Kreg Murphree said he's in agreement and would like to see the roof replaced rather than it getting worse.

Commissioner Todd Churchman said he believes it would be best to seek bids for the project, which the board approved.

Then, the board moved on to acknowledge two receipts of the financial statements and independent auditor's reports. The first was for Central High's school district for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Morgan said the report stated "none reported."

Next, they approved one for Empire School district for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Morgan said the report stated "none reported" as well.

Both were presented to the board by Britton, Kuykendall & Miller, CPA.

In other news, the board approved:

—To apply for a solid waste grant to purchase a chipper for $30,000 for District #1.

—A cooperative agreement for District #1.

—Five upcoming Stephens County Fairground agreements for: Hustlin' Honey's Small Business Support in Territory Hall and the Winchester Room June 29; the GOP Fish Fry in the Harvest Room, Prairie Room and Stephens County Arena May 18; Duncan Optimist Club concert in the Livestock Arena June 14; Duncan FFA Banquet in Territory Hall and the Harvest Room May 16; and the Akers Reunion in the Heritage Room June 15.

The Stephens County Commission will convene again at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 13 the Stephens County Courthouse.