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Bethel Looks At New Mass Notification System


August 8, 2019

Reducing petroleum permit fees, approval for a new AT&T cell phone tower, and updating the emergency mass notification system were a few agenda items during the Aug. 5 meeting of the Bethel Acres Board of Trustees.

Mayor and Ward 3 Trustee Tony Carlisle, Ward 4 Trustee Maeghan Olsen, Ward 5 Trustee Karen Jones, and Ward 2 Trustee Brian Pierson made a quorum of four out of five trustees. Lucas Cannon, Ward 1 Trustee, was absent.

Emergency Manager Jonny Conover, at the request of Mayor Carlisle, has been checking into costs to improve the emergency mass notification system for Bethel. Conover said that the cost would be close to $30,000 installation with an additional three to four thousand dollars for annual renewal fees. The present system costs, after initial installation, $1200 per month for maintenance fees. An updated system will allow the sirens to be tested from one central point through Internet access and communicate with the administrator. After some discussion, the opinion of the trustees was need over cost.

“We need to do something,” said Mayor Carlisle. “In my opinion, I think we need to piggyback with whatever the county is going to do, or Shawnee, if they do something. I’d like to have something done by next storm season. We need to be in a better place than we were last year.”

Conover reported that he tests the sirens every month, but cannot be at all the sirens at once to know if they’re all working. A siren in the area of Waco and Hardesty is still out of order, possibly struck by lightning.

Oil & Gas Inspector Neal Davis said that there are eight well permits due for renewal in August. Three of the companies are usually in compliance and he recommends continuing with them. The other five wells, with Abundance Energy, are past due on permit fees. Town Attorney Breanne Gordon will prepare a presentation for next month’s meeting to bring them up to date on Oklahoma laws and regulations regarding dealing with oil companies who are not in compliance.

The board recommended that Gordon send out dun letters for fees due and, if necessary, subsequently file liens because of those past due fees.

Davis also informed the board that the May 2019 oil spill on the Gaddy Road well site is now in private litigation, therefore, the board cannot comment on the issue even though the town of Bethel Acres is not involved. He went on to say that if anyone in the public wishes to report an oil spill, to call the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), that way only that person can receive a report on the action.

The board discussed reducing fees for petroleum permits in Bethel, according to the price of oil per barrel.

“Precedent has already been set in the state court system that we can only charge what’s reasonable for administration, inspection, and [stuff like that,]” said Davis. “My recommendation would be go back to the $200 fee or staying $400 for the ones that are operating.” He went on to say that all the wells need to be inspected and be a point of contact with the oil companies. At this time Davis does it on a voluntary basis, but he said that in the future there may be a need for the town to pay someone to do the job.

“Litigation’s expensive.” Gordon warned the board. “By leaving the fee at $400, we are opening up the potential for a lawsuit challenging that.” The board’s vote on this item will be on the September agenda.

The trustees approved the building of an AT&T cell tower on the northeast corner of Bethel Schools property. The school is leasing the property to CRB Companies LLC. The board questioned how close to the school it was planned, but no one thought it would interfere with the students.

Fire Chief Rusty Tucker told the trustees that the department is doing a lot of in-house training. There were several vehicle accidents last month and the department was represented at two funerals for separate retired firemen, one from Shawnee, the other from Stroud.

The Sheriff’s report stated that there were 42 hours of patrol in July and responded to seven calls to the Sheriff’s Office. The deputy said that he tries to follow-up on areas around Bethel Acres that people report about on the town’s FaceBook page.

Olsen said she is continuing research on playground companies about rubber mulch for a safer, cleaner children’s playground. She also wants to update town website with contact information for town officials.

Trustee Brian Pierson brought up the subject of Bethel’s missing charter. Attorney Gordon is still looking into the missing document.

Bethel Friends Day is set for Oc. 5 with a pig roast planned, reported Don Hayes during public comments.

Mayor Carlisle adjourned the meeting. The next regular meeting of the Bethel Acres Board of Trustees will meet on Sept. 9.


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