Of the many items discussed Tuesday evening at the Ryan Town Council meeting, none were more interesting than the discussion about the possibility of a full-time police officer in Ryan.
The question was asked by David Winfield because of his concern for the safety of citizens and local businesses.
He was also concerned about people speeding around the school.
Mayor Terry Grantham said that for the past three years nobody has applied for the position. Prior to that the candidates that they did interview all wanted to live in towns other than Ryan.
Grantham said that the last officer to work for the Ryan quit because he could never get any time off. People would call his house all hours of the night and day.
It did come up in the meeting that the town does set aside $25,000 in the budget for a police officer.
City Attorney, Kenzie Wheeler, said that $25,000 would not pay for one full-time officer. Besides the salary, there would also have to be money allocated for taxes and benefits that she said would possibly raise the cost for one officer to around $60,000 or more per year.
Wingfield asked if there was a grant that would pay for an officer. City Attorney said that she believed that the grants available were for equipment. Wingfield said that he had read somewhere that in 2017 there was a “Safe Oklahoma” grant that distributed large sums of money to law enforcement in Oklahoma communities.
Other members of the council said that the Chickasaw Lighthorse Brigade and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department patrolled through the community regularly.
One of the concerns of the council is the lack of sources of revenue. A rate increase on utilities, it was said, would possibly not be popular. (It was said in the meeting that electricity rates have not increased since 1987).
Grantham said there was a rumor that the Town of Ryan passed a tax in 1977 to pay for a city officer. According to Grantham, no record had been found to verify that. He said they had even checked with the election board and could not find a record of an election held in Ryan for that purpose.
Council members asked Wingfield if he and his neighbors would be willing to work together to form a neighborhood watch.
Mayor Grantham said that the council would revisit the idea at the next council meeting.
Grantham said he appreciated Wingfield bringing his concerns to the council.
Next, the trustees discussed the issue of the cooperative agreement between the Town of Ryan and the Jefferson County Sheriff (payment for dispatch services). It was brought up again that the trustees have a problem with only three towns paying for the dispatch for the whole county. That was one of the reasons for Ryan pulling out of the agreement.
Grantham and the trustees assured everyone in attendance that although Ryan is no longer paying the dispatch fee, the services (such as fire and city services) are still being promptly addressed when needed.
Cody Rodriguez was added to the Ryan Volunteer Fire Department.
Wingfield reported later in the meeting that the Ryan Community Beautification Group was selling T-Shirts at Chunky Charms to help raise funds to help further the effort in improving the appearance of Ryan.
Under New Business, Michel Delaney asked if the city could turn on the water running to his property south of Ryan. Delaney thought the city may have cut the line to his property. He was assured that was not the case. The city agreed to turn on the water for Delaney and he will see if the line is working properly.
The Ryan Public Utilities Authority meeting followed the regular meeting.
The bills, claims and invoices were paid.
The trustees approved the purchase of a switch for the reclosure area for a price not to exceed $5000.00.
Grantham said that they have recently had a problem of citizens turning utility meters on that the town has turned off. Some will turn water on at night in order to take showers, cook, etc after the town has turned it off for non-payment. Other instances of utilities being stolen have occurred within the town limits. Three of these thefts occurred this past week.
In order to remedy this the trustees passed a motion to have the city attorney to write ordinance(s) that will enable the town to fine those who tamper or steal city services (water/electricity) or tamper with the meters in any way.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.