After a few months flying solo, Healdton has a new city manager once again.
Sarah Jantz, a former city clerk and treasurer from northwest Oklahoma, took over as city manager in June, replacing interim Brian Scribner. She has a background in nonprofit work and the public sector, but this is her first time serving as a city manager. She said the region is beautiful, but very different from what she’s used to.
“I’m from cattle country,” Jantz said. “It’s very flat, no trees, completely different.”
She worked as a city clerk and city treasurer for the last six years.
“As a city clerk you’re exposed to many of the same things, just not in the full decision-making capacity,” Jantz said. “But coming out of the nonprofits, I was an executive director and associate executive director.”
She said between her time in government and nonprofit work, she has a lot of experience with grant writing, something she said will help her in her new role.
“It is something I feel like I bring to the table,” Jantz said. “There are several grants I’m working on now.”
Jantz accepted the position as the city made plans to improve water pressure in its southwest sector, but that’s far from their only concern. She said the city’s roads need a lot of work, something she said is typical of many rural communities, and city equipment will likely need to be upgraded soon as well.
“There’s always those things small rural communities will have to deal with,” Jantz said. “The water pressure is something high on my list, of course.”
She said the city is planning some other small, but notable differences as well. Starting August 1, Healdton’s 911 dispatch will be handled by the County Sheriff’s office. The city also purchased two new cop cars, one of which is a K9 unit capable of transporting the police dog that will soon join the department. The dog is trained to search for drugs and apprehend suspects.
Jantz is also interested in updating the area surrounding Healdton Lake.
“Grants are opportunistic, they’re always what your priority is at the time, but you need to kind of jump on them,” Jantz said. “I’m big on looking for grants.”
At the Healdton City Council’s last meeting, they voted to move the due date for water bills to the 20th of every month, rather than the 15th. She said the original due date clashed with enough residents’ pay periods to cause an ongoing issue. Jantz said the city council will need to change a city ordinance before the new date iis put into effect.
“We’ve had multiple requests because of the timing,” Jantz said. “It was worth it, at that point, we felt, to look at changing it.”
Jantz said she hopes Healdton’s residents will feel comfortable talking to her and bringing new issues to her attention.
“Working in a city, there’s always things that need attention,” Jantz said. “There’s never a time where you say ‘Oh, it’s all done.’ It’s a process, and I want people to know we’ll continue to work on things. We’re always willing to talk about something and see what we can do to make it better.”