Courthouse expected to reopen Tuesday, district court to remain closed

Courthouse expected to reopen Tuesday, district court to remain closed
By Ken Childers
ONL Editor
The Okfuskee County Courthouse, which has been closed to the public since March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to reopen on Tuesday, May 26.
As reported in the May 14 edition of ONL, Sheriff Jim Rasmussen last week presented the Board of County Commissioners with a resolution to reopen the courthouse on May 18. The proposal was tabled until Friday, May 15, and when the board reconvened, they voted to hold off on reopening until the day after Memorial Day. That decision was reaffirmed during Monday’s regular board meeting, as the issue appeared on that meeting’s agenda and will likely continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.
Upon reopening, every person entering the courthouse must wear a face covering and complete a COVID-19 screening. An answer of “yes” to any question during screening or a fever of 100 degrees or higher will result in denial of entrance to the courthouse.
Although the courthouse will be open, District Judge Maxey Reilly said she will not open her courtroom at this time, but will reschedule in-person hearings for a later date and conduct others via video conferencing.
“If I reopen my court to the public and people die because I have ordered them to appear in my court, I will carry that burden for the rest of my life. If I delay opening my court to the public for a while longer and people criticize me…I can handle it. It won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last,” Reilly posted to social media. “Over the next few days, I along with my staff will be working to reschedule in-person hearings and to schedule hearings by virtue of video conferencing for those that qualify.”
Also upon reopening, in order to following CDC social distancing guidelines, the County Clerk’s office will limit the number of people wishing to access the tract indexes and/or public computer to a maximum of six people at any given time. The office will maintain regular office hours (M-F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) for recording and/or questions, but access to the tract indexes and/or public computer will be limited to 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The public is encouraged to continue recording documents by mail or electronically via Simplifile. Call (918) 623-1724 for assistance.
Recap of May 18 meeting
Also during Monday’s meeting, the board awarded a $15,507.50 contract to BK Fencing for the installation of approximately 1.5 miles of fence as part of the Clearview Road project. In addition, the board approved a resolution to extend the Emergency Transportation Revolving agreement with the Oklahoma Cooperative Circuit Engineering Districts Board. The agreement covers certain road and bridge construction projects or compressed natural gas vehicles.
In other action, the board approved the allocation of $9,964.72 in alcoholic beverages taxes and approved the cash fund estimate of needs and appropriations totaling $326,764.97. The board also approved claims for items purchased totaling $30,125.17.
The board typically meets each Monday at 9 a.m. on the first floor of the courthouse. All board meetings are open to the public, subject to the COVID-19 restrictions that are currently in place.

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