Elected officials discuss financial impacts of coronavirus
By Ken Childers
The economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are being felt at the Okfuskee County Courthouse, which has been closed to the public since March 18.
A quarterly meeting of elected officials to discuss financial risk factors was conducted during Monday’s meeting of the Okfuskee County Board of County Commissioners.
County Treasurer Lori Coplin said during the meeting that interest rates have been low, and investment accounts will be affected. The county is allowed to include 75 percent of the interest earned on those accounts in its operating budget.
Coplin said the recent extension for ad valorem (property tax) payments will also affect revenue. At the request of Governor Kevin Stitt and State Auditor Cindy Byrd, the second half payment date has been extended to April 30. The extension applies only to taxpayers who have made their first half payment by the Dec. 31, 2019 deadline.
Court Clerk Sherri Foreman told the board that she has seen a decline in court fees since the courthouse has been closed. She added that the district attorney’s office is not issuing failure to pay (FTP) warrants unless absolutely necessary. Her office has suspended passport services during the health crisis.
Okfuskee County Clerk Diane Flanders asked the board to consider giving all elected officials in the county a raise, adding that no raises have been given since 2015. Since the item was not on Monday’s agenda, no discussion or action was taken. The commissioners indicated they would look into the matter and place it on a future meeting agenda.
In addition to the usual housekeeping items, the board approved claims to ODOT totaling $6,150 for the Clearview Road Project. The claims represent easement acquisitions from the Don L. Boyne Revokable Trust and the Mary L. Boyne Revokable Trust in the amount of $3,050 each. In July 2019, the board approved the County Improvements For Roads and Bridges Program (CIRB) allocation for Fiscal Year 2020, which included an $8 million allocation for the project, which is slated to be completed in two phases by 2025.
Although the courthouse remains closed to the public, the board conducts regular meetings there beginning at 9 a.m. each Monday.