Commissioner will look into CR 2400 rumors

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

District 1 County Commissioner Jerry Howerton on Monday said he would be checking into concerns about whether a leaseholder may want to seek the closure of a county road in the Barnsdall area.

Howerton responded to concerns aired by resident Bart Perrier, who shared information with Osage County commissioners about County Road 2400, near Barnsdall.

Perrier said Monday he didn’t have conclusive proof that a person leasing some Bureau of Indian Affairs land is interested in closing the road to public traffic, but he added that his brief exploration of the issue prompted him to talk with the commissioners.

Perrier addressed board of commissioners as a whole, but also talked at some length one-on-one with Howerton. Perrier apologized to Howerton for burdening him with a potentially difficult issue, but Howerton assured him it was not a problem.

“That’s my job,” Howerton said, referring to the handling of difficult questions. He clarified later that he really does not want any conflict with the BIA but has a responsibility to safeguard public access. Howerton said he was going to check into the matter, starting right after the Monday board meeting.

Perrier told the board of commissioners he had spoken with a contractor who is involved with improvements being made to the leased BIA land through which County Road 2400 runs. The contractor initially gave him one set of responses, but then appeared to walk back those remarks, Perrier said.

He explained that public access to County Road 2400 affects a lot of people, and said that any attempt to close it to public access could lead to adverse consequences such as lengthening emergency response times to residences.