By Michael Pineda
Within the acronym world, one organization has had a significant impact on the city of Yukon.
During a study session held prior to the city council meeting on July 19, leadership from the Association of Central Oklahoma (ACOG) provided an update on its partnership with the city.
Executive Director Mark Sweeney led the presentation, sharing what ACOG does for the region and Yukon. ACOG has been in existence for 56 years as of last June and serves about 40 cities, four counties and other communities.
“Oftentimes, when you are involved in an organization like ACOG, you wonder, what am I getting for my money,” Sweeney said. “What is my return on my investment?”
Yukon’s dues for Fiscal Year 2023 are $17,170. The basic dues are $11,283, with $3,513 going to water resources and $2,374.
“Since 2012, the city has received $1.8 million in funding,” Sweeney said. “I would say that is a darn good return on investment.”
Big changes are on the horizon for 911, as the emergency services phone number takes a technological leap forward.
Brett Hawkinson, 911 and Public Safety Director, described the changes that are expected to be implemented by 2023.
“We’re at the point of implementation for next generation 911,” Hawkinson said. “It is state-of-the-art and no one else in the state is doing this.”
The placement of fiber to take the place of copper-based cable allows for the upgrades. Hawkinson said the most exciting part of next generation 911 is when legacy services are left behind and the move is made to cloud-based services. There will be a switch to GIS-based location information.
Hawkinson said the city and other ACOG members will enjoy handset-based technology that pinpoints within eight feet of where the call is taking place. There will be text-to-911 that will benefit the hearing impaired and deaf communities. There will also be future video and picture capabilities for callers to send.
“In a nutshell, that is what we do, that is what we are bringing to you in the next generation 911 service,” Hawkinson said. “It’s faster, more reliable.”
Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said city dispatchers have already been trained. Yukon will be in the first group to receive the services. They will be implemented in the city after El Reno and Mustang.
“I have watched the service unfold over the past two and a half years and what you guys are doing is just amazing,” Selby said. “It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a complete asset to our community, police and fire departments. Thank you for all your hard work on that.”
ACOG Deputy Director John Sharp provided an overview of the transportation and planning services. Sharp said ACOG has a 30-year plan that it updates every five years. It assists communities with grant funding. One of the recent projects discussed was the Garth Brooks Trail, which benefitted from Transportation Alternatives Program funding.
Christopher Bluth, Community and economic development manager, said there will be a focus on grant writing services, helping ACOG membership write, manage and assist with grants. He also said ACOG will work to convey information better through newsletters and phone calls, something which came to light during the past COVID period when information was flying around fast.
“We want to make sure the right info is getting to the right cities,” Bluth said.
At the end of the presentation, Selby said she felt the city was receiving value from its relationship with ACOG. Sweeney urged the city to be proactive with its needs and communication with ACOG, noting cities that get the most bang for the buck are the cities that come talk to them.
“That is what we are here for is to serve you,” he said. “The other thing we do is get ahead of things. To warn you of things that are coming down the line.”