Commissioner Grider asks for city’s support
The Eufaula City Council has agreed to a request by McIntosh County District 2 County Commissioner Monty Grider to support his plan to impose a 5 percent countywide Hotel/Motel Tax.
“We aren’t coming after anything in the city limits (of Eufaula or Checotah). This is just the county,” Grider said.
Speaking at the monthly Council meeting Monday, he noted that the Dallas-Fort Worth and other areas have a lodging tax as high as 13 percent.
“We’re asking for 5 percent,” he said.
Businesses such as the county’s two motels, numerous Air B&B facilities, RV sites, overnight and short-term rentals, resorts and cabins in McIntosh County currently don’t pay a lodging tax.
But folks who use these places drive up county expenses, such as for law enforcement, fire protection and other costs.
“Right now the county depends solely on a sales tax,” Grider said.
The tax isn’t sufficient to meet the needs of the county and the commissioners are looking for other sources of income.
He said Cherokee County has a countywide lodging tax and the commissioners turned to them for advice and help in drafting a proposal that he hopes will be on 2024 Presidential.
Grider said the Lake Eufaula Association is on board with the proposal. After Monday’s vote, the Eufaula City Council also supports the proposal.
If the tax passes, it will be collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
City Manager Jeb Jones announced that Eufaula has been approved for a federally-funded COPS Hiring Grant. The grant will be good for three years and pays for 75 percent of a new officer’s salary.
“This is a yearly grant and it’s the first time we’ve had one,” Jones said. “We will be applying for one every year.”
Also, the Council approved a low bid of $40,800 ($4.25 per square foot) by Steve Hughes Construction of Seminole for the construction of the new fire station on SH 9.
The pre-fab is being assembled offsite and will be erected at the cityowned property when completed.
The bid is just for the building, insulation, walk-in doors. Garage doors are a separate item, not included in the bid.
The city received two bids. The second bid was by Lewis Fencing in McAlester, in the amount of $49,000.
A payment of $26,459.22 to Voy Construction for its latest work on the splash pad on the east side of town was approved by the council.
“This is our final payment for the splash pad itself,” Jones said.
The original bid for the overall project was $700,000, but the city was able to save money by doing some of the work in-house.
“We picked up some of the project ourselves,” Jones said, “including utilities – electric, water and sewer. Our final part is the bathroom – and we are working on those plans now. We will bid those out, but if it’s too high we will do it in-house.”
The council also agreed to a payment of $97,364.24 to Lone Hickory Cattle for the city’s sewer improvement project.
Also, it agreed to dispose of a 2017 Dodge Charger police vehicle with serious mechanical problems.
“It was taken to Auto Doctors and determined to have motor failure that would require replacement. I recommend that we declare the unit surplus and dispose of the vehicle,” Jones said.