Piper: Annex 'do-able' at smaller size

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

District 1 Commissioner Everett Piper said April 24 that drawings for the planned Osage County governmental annex building were 65% complete. He described the building as “do-able,” but said the size would be reduced.

Piper, who took office in January 2023, has taken the view that the annex building should cost no more than the $10.5 million of bonded indebtedness already approved. He said April 24 that he anticipated learning by the end of the week of April 24-28 how all the major stakeholders felt about the latest building drawings.

Piper’s approach to the annex project has been marked by anxiety about holding the cost to $10.5 million and no more. He replaced former District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones, whose approach had been less restrictive.

Piper also recommended to the Board of County Commissioners on April 24 that $875 should be spent to test for mold at the Whiting Building in downtown Pawhuska. He said it was entirely possible there was mold, but recommended the testing.

“But let’s get it tested and find out what the real answer is,” Piper said. The board voted, 3-0, in favor of the testing.

District 3 Commissioner Charlie Cartwright recommended April 24 that the county board rebid ambulance service for the Barnsdall/Avant area of the county. When bids were opened April 17, just one company had submitted materials – Miller EMS, which has been the ambulance service provider in the Barnsdall/Avant area for the past five years.

Cartwright said Miller bid $30,000 a month for Basic Life Support and $42,000 a month for Advanced Life Support beginning in July. The current cost for ambulance service in the Barnsdall/Avant area is $18,000 a month. The county helps pay the cost.

Cartwright voiced a desire to try to have more than one bidder. Piper agreed that it would be good to have more than one bid. The board voted, 3-0, to rebid the Barnsdall/Avant ambulance service.

In other business April 24, Osage County resident Jerry Butterbaugh suggested to the commissioners that they might want to invite Sheriff Eddie Virden to make some kind of presentation to caution citizens against engaging in foolish acts of violence. Butterbaugh observed there had been numerous acts of apparently senseless violence in the national news lately.

“I’m just wondering if that would be helpful,” Butterbaugh said. Virden was not present.