Jackson County Commissioners held an emergency meeting Wednesday, Dec. 30. The noon meeting was held at the Jackson County Courthouse to consider approving the emergency purchase of generators for citizens in need.
The service idea came about because of a phone call that volunteer and Director of Operations for Altus Emergency Management Erik Mowbray made to the Altus Walmart store. He had inquired about purchasing disaster supplies. Although the store was closed due to the power outage, Manager Russell Shoemate immediately re-opened the store and donated items. Discussion started on the obstacles facing citizens for the availability and purchasing of generators. No generators were in stock locally, but could be specially ordered from the Walmart Emergency Operations Center in Bentonville, Ark.
Wayne Cain, the Safety Director and Emergency Manager for Jackson County was informed about the special ordering idea, and he shared it with the Jackson County Commissioners. District Attorney John Wampler was immediately contacted, as was the Oklahoma Department State Auditors Office, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, and State Representative Charles Ortega. They were contacted to verify the correct buying procedures for the generators under Oklahoma law. It was decided that the County would purchase the generators from Walmart, and would then be reimbursed by the citizens buying the generators. The first shipment of 96 generators arrived at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Deparment yesterday afternoon. Those who had inquired about generators were contacted. As people started arriving to purchase the generators, workers helped load the generators into their vehicles from the Sheriff’s Department parking lot. Another shipment of generators are expected within another couple of days.
Ortega forwarded an email to Commissioner Marty Clinton which said:
As discussed, the Oklahoma Emergency Management Act of 2003 allows for a local emergency declaration which will allow the local governmental entity to enter into contracts or make necessary purchases for the protection of the people. I have highlighted the relevant portion of the statue below. (referring to Oklahoma Statues Citationized Title 63. Public Health and Safety Chapter 24 – Emergency Management Act of 2003)
The Jackson County Commissioners scheduled the special emergency meeting to vote on the possible actions, on Disaster Emergency Proclamation, on emergency purchase of generators for citizens in need from Walmart, and possible action on the rules for distribution of generators. All action items were unanimously approved.
Rules for the distribution and purchasing of the generators were also approved. Citizens on the “to be in need list ” would be contacted giving two hours for them to purchase one of the generators. All purchases were to be paid by a money order or cash. The distribution location site was the Jackson County Sheriffs Department parking lot. The first truckload of generators arrived in Altus Wednesday afternoon. County workers and volunteers used forklifts to load generators onto the buyer’s vehicles. A second order was placed and should be arriving within days.
The Jackson County Commissioners, other state agencies, and Representative Ortega worked diligently to help families in Southwest Oklahoma effected by the power outages.
For more information about obtaining one of the generators, contact the Jackson County Commissioners office at 580-482-4420.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077