NEWS

Sheriff asked to stop parking lot party

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Osage County commissioners turned Monday to the county Sheriff’s Office for help improving camera surveillance around the new agricultural extension building at the fairgrounds.

County officials said the vicinity of the new agricultural extension building seems to have become a “party spot” for some people. Drink bottles and other items, including underwear, have been left outside the building, officials said.

“We found all kinds of things there that you don’t want to find there on any given day,” said Kandy Jump, assistant to the commissioners. “The things that have been found over there are ridiculous.”

County Clerk Shelia Bellamy said it would be good to have surveillance images for the parking lot and the other areas right around the ag extension building.

District 1 Commissioner Jerry Howerton said he recently had a chat about the problem with a county employee who lives near the ag extension building.

“It is a problem,” Howerton said Monday.

“It’s got good lighting,” District 2 Commissioner Kevin Paslay observed regarding the ag extension building.

District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney said he would have thought anyone having a party would choose a spot farther from the Osage County Jail, which is just a short distance from the fairgrounds.

In other county business Monday, the commissioners voted to approve a legal services contract with the firm of Tisdal & O’Hara to represent the board of county commissioners and the county assessor in a case regarding ad valorem taxation. Specifically, Tisdal & O’Hara will be representing the county in an appeal to Osage County District Court by the oil-and-gas firm Northeast Shelf.

The Osage County Equalization Board in late May decided to reduce the official value of property owned by Northeast Shelf from about $20 million to $3 million. In a followup meeting, the equalization board received supplemental information from the county assessor’s office and decided to set aside its earlier decision and restore the property value to about $20 million.