Janet Barber

Grove Sun

There was dissension between proposed redistricting of the county between districts #2 and #3 during the meeting of the Delaware County Commissioners Tuesday morning.

District #2 County Commissioner Billy Cornell was the first to present his draft proposal for the drawing of new boundaries to the board claiming that they would be within the 5% range of population to give Commissioner Duncan with district #3 the east part of Jay with some dirt and some asphalt roads. He would go north taking the Whitewater road to the state line and that would put all the districts within the target area of the 5% margin of the population numbers which has been determined as 13,829 people per district. With Commissioner Cornell's proposal it would give district #1, 2.43%, district #2, -3.20% and district #3, .77% which all fall within the target number.

Commissioner Cornell's proposal was to give district #3 added area from the bottom of Jay Hill East on Hwy. 20 to the Arkansas line and everything south to Spavingaw.

Duncan laughed and said, “my proposal is a little different”, when asked for his presentation. He quoted miles of dirt road, asphalt and bridges within the county and replied as to the acquirement of the east side of Jay within his district by saying that he, “has no interest in East of Jay.” His proposal was to take property from the “Y” down Highway 59 to what locals call the Low Water Bridge Road and south to Spavinaw Creek including the Ross Acres area, Eucha area and game refuge, to what is known as the Bob Pittman road. Duncan did not have any numbers for the breakdown on each district today to show the board to prove that each district would fall within the target area.

Commissioner Cornell rallied by saying that, “I don't plan on going to the Ottawa County line.” He went on to say that his “gripe” was that he had attended two meetings in Oklahoma City on the matter, with Duncan attending one of the same meetings, and claims Duncan walked out of the meeting. “I did?” Duncan replied.

Commissioner Cornell also pointed out that the area Duncan wanted to incorporate into district #3 created an island and also had “no clearly visible physical boundary” such as a road, creek, lake, or powerline. “This makes Duncan's proposal illegal,” added Cornell.

“We can argue about whose got more dirt and whose got more asphalt,” said Commissioner Cornell claiming that both scenarios would be devastating for both districts no matter how the lines were drawn. He finished by saying that he would be bring back the same proposal after the matter was tabled for 2 weeks.

Commissioner Doug Smith for district #1 said that if the two commissioners deadlocked it would be up to the Delaware County Excise Board to determine the new district boundaries. The board has until October 1, 2011 to come up with a solution to be presented at a state level for finalization.

In vote of 2 to 1 with Commissioner Cornell casting the dissenting vote. Raymond Sturges will enter into a contract with the Delaware County Health Department for Direct Observation Therapy Service. The matter was tabled last week for proof of insurance verification. Commissioner Smith in an effort for “transparency” told the crowd that Raymond is the husband of the commissioner's secretary Judy Sturges and father of Marsha Sturges, employed by the county health department. “The commissioners had no input on this. The matter is between the health department and Raymond.”

In other matters, the burn ban has been extended for another week. Fire chiefs throughout the county want the ban left in place. It was also discussed as to whether Governor Fallin had declared all of Oklahoma under a burn ban.

The next meeting of the Delaware County Commissioners will be held on July 26 starting at 9 a.m. In the commissioners office of the Delaware County Courthouse.