Swimming pool grant topic at Manila Council

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Prior to the regular July Manila City Council meeting, a public meeting was held at city hall. Mayor Clifford Veach said that the public meeting was part of the process in the effort to get grant money for a swimming pool.

"The purpose of this meeting is to solicit and get information from the public about the expansion of our recreational facilities," Mayor Veach said. "I'm zeroed in on the effort to get a swimming pool. I have a meeting scheduled next week to meet with a representative of the Department of Parks and Tourism to talk about the possibilities of a grant to help fund a pool."

Veach encouraged those present to offer input.

Councilman Gaylon Gammill commented that he would encourage Veach to go ahead and pursue the possibility of a grant.

Veach asked if the pool would be a priority to the council.

All council members present agreed that the people want a pool and expressed their approval of seeking a 50/50 matching grant to help build a pool.

Manila citizen Sam Parker said he had been fortunate enough to live near the pool when it was in operation before.

"I grew up in that swimming pool. Kids came from other communities giving young people the chance to get acquainted. I would like to see Manila get another pool," Parker said.

Veach said when he first began inquiring about a pool in 2000, the best bid he saw was $330,000. He went on to say that he thought by renovating the existing bath house and locating the pool at the same location, the overall cost could go down to $200,000. He also estimated that it would take $15,000 a year to operate a pool for three months. Records showed that eight years ago the pool was costing $7,000 to $8,000 a year.

Veach said there would be approximately $20,000 a year from tax money to maintain it.

He said if a grant could be approved and with local money, he felt confident he could be done.

He will have more information after the meeting.

Later in the regular meeting, council members passed a resolution to pursue a grant to build a swimming pool.

Mayor Veach reviewed the budget with council members. The budget was approved.

The water improvement project was discussed and resolutions were passed unanimously to approve Jewell and Associates as the engineering firm and Friday/Eldridge of Little Rock as legal services for the water project.

Veach said the approval of the resolutions will allow the project to proceed.

The next lengthy topic was mosquito control.

Veach said the city has been testing a garlic spray (Mosquito Barrier) at the city park.

"I have concluded that it is not doing what we want it to do. We sprayed several times at the city park. Everything was fine until about 9 p.m. and then they (mosquitoes) come back. I don't know. Some people have told me they think it did a good job. There seems to be a mixed consensus," Mayor Veach said. "Some people really believe in it. I suggest the city by it (Mosquito Barrier) and sell it by the gallon to the people at half price. One gallon makes up 100 gallons of spray. I'm afraid if we start spraying it up and down the streets we will make a lot of people unhappy."

Veach said by selling the product to the people at half price, it will show the city's interest and give the people that want to use it the opportunity to do so.

A motion was made by Councilman Gammill to sell one gallon of Mosquito Barrier per Manila household and business at half price and for the city to continue testing the product at the city park, nursing home area and housing authority area. The motion was seconded by Councilman Dwight Booth and passed unanimously.

Employee pay raises was the next topic on the agenda. The Council had discussed pay raises earlier in the year and agreed to review them in July.

Councilman Booth made a motion to give an across the board $1,200 a year pay raise for all full time employees and a five percent increase for all part-time employees. Councilman Tony Hawkins seconded the motion that passed unanimously. The raises will be effective Aug. 1.

The council approved fund transfers from several accounts for the years of 1997, 1998 and 1999. Veach said he had talked to the auditors and the transfers were on their recommendation.

The council approved the low bid in the purchase of a Massey tractor. One of the city tractors to be used for mowing needed $4,000 of repairs. The council decided to keep that tractor and use it for work jobs.

Mayor Veach read the law that governs the destruction of financial records, including support documents as well as permanent documents. Support documents, which include canceled checks, invoices, bank statements, etc., must be kept at least three years. No documents can be done away with until audited. Records of the destroyed documents have to be kept as well as a city council member present when destroyed. Permanent records, which include ledgers and minutes, must be kept at least seven years.

Veach suggested the permanent documents up to 1995 and the support documents up to 1998 be destroyed. He pointed out this had not been done in many years and there is just not enough space to store everything.

The council voted on the procedure and selected Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis to be present.

Mayor Veach said he had talked to Greg Butts with the State Parks and Tourism Department and the city receive $100 more a month ($250) for the maintenance and upkeep of the Herman Davis Park. Butts also agreed to plan, design and install a sprinkler system at the park and fix an elm tree on the property.

Following the meeting, Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said he wanted to commend the Manila park commissioners and members of the Manila Youth Association for all of their hard work and dedication to the Manila City Park.

"We recently had the 10 year old state tournament here and they did an outstanding job. It was run professionally, the park looked great and I heard many good comments on Manila and the way the tournament was conducted. We can be proud of these people that worked so hard. These people are the backbone of our community. There is no telling how many hours they put in at that park. They go above and beyond the call of duty. I look for this to be the beginning of future regional and state tournaments in Manila," Davis said.

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