JAY – Members of Delaware County volunteer fire departments listened to a presentation from the Delaware County Public Facilities Authority and Sheriff Jay Blackfox regarding the proposed new jail Thursday night at a regular meeting.

The departments also names new officers for the upcoming year, as well as discussing other fire department matters.

Two members of the authority, Arvest Bank President Becki Farley, Delaware County District #2 County Commissioner Billy Cornell, and Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox were on hand to talk to the firemen about the new proposed detention facility and the special election called for August 26 to pass a sales tax to fund the project.

Both Farley and Cornell assured the firemen that redirecting the fire departments’ allotment of sales tax revenue to build the jail was not being considered.  

“We just want to clear up the rumor that the fire department sales tax money was never in question,” said Commissioner Cornell.

Sheriff Blackfox voiced the sentiments of the crowd when he said the worst thing that could happen was to take the fire department money.

Commissioner Cornell presented a copy of the lawsuit being brought against Delaware County by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and told the members, “we are in a lawsuit with the state, and they mean business.”

Farley told the crowd that if the sales tax does not pass, the county will be faced with up to a $10,000 fine every day.

“These fines will come from your property taxes, the voters will have no say over this,” said Farley.

Farley addressed the members and told them the particulars of the proposed facility that will come with a price tag of approximately $10.6 M, will be a 228-bed facility and will be located in the Industrial Park.

The proposed sales tax will be .5% or 1/2 cent and will run for up to 20 years to repay the debt. Once the debt from the construction is paid, the sales tax will drop to .35% for the maintenance and operation of the facility, which will be permanent.

Commissioner Cornell asked the firemen to help the authority get the word out on three public meetings being held before the election date that include a meeting July 31 at 7 p.m. at the Kansas Vo-Tech, Jay Community Center at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7, and 6 p.m. at the Grove Community Center on Aug. 8.

To finish the night’s business, 2008-2009 officers were chosen. Chosen were: President Vince Osburn, Oaks Fire Department, Vice-President Dick Kauffman of the Lakemont Shores Fire Department and Cullus Buck of the Eucha Fire Department serves as Secretary/Treasurer.