Manila Mayor Clifford Veach informed council members at the Feb. 23 meeting that the sewer expansion project is complete except for some minor clean-up. He said once everything has been paid, contingency money will be available for items needed in the sewer department. There will be approximately $49,000 available and these funds must be used in the sewer department.
Later in the meeting, the council voted unanimously to accept a bid from Dave's Sales for sewer cleaning equipment. City officials reviewed three bids, hearing from Henry Ford, water and sewer superintendent, and decided to purchase John Beam equipment from Dave's Sales for the amount of $28,919.
Council voted to use the remainder of the funds to purchase a trencher, partially pay for a tractor and mower that will be used to mow the sewer levees, and a new computer system for the sewer accounting.
Veach updated the council on the water improvement project saying he has been working with the Soil and Water agency and the project is ready for bid requests.
"The bids will be opened March 31 and at that time we will know how we are on the water project and be ready to begin," Veach said.
Mayor Veach told council members that he and the other mayors from the towns involved in the county jail fee dispute will meet later in the week.
"We will be looking at our options as far as repealing sales tax. I'll report back to you after we meet. We haven't been sued yet. The Quorum Court voted in December to give us 30 days before suing, but it is the end of February and we haven't heard anything yet. We will deal with that as we go along. I welcome your comments," Veach said.
In the January meeting the city council voted unanimously to discontinue charging a fee for privilege license. Veach said an ordinance had been prepared to make it official. The council voted unanimously to accept the ordinance to discontinue the fee.
Anyone doing business in Manila will need a privilege license. Privilege licenses are available at city hall and are renewable each year.
Veach told the council that the Airport Commission had been involved in extending the taxiway and other improvements through a grant received in November. The project will need to continue, he said.
"We are into it. I would expect that you (council members) will have to approve things as they come up. That is what I will be working on," Veach said.
Council members voted in the January meeting to abolish the Airport Commission.
Veach gave the required Mayor's State of the City Report.
"In my opinion we did not accomplish a lot of new things, but we did complete some old things. I've spent time on the financials," Veach said. "The funds are getting on a line item basis and we will be doing in house reporting in the near future."
Veach said for the most part departments functioned well for the year.
"I don't see any major financial problems except in the water and sewer, mostly the water," Veach said.
Veach commended Wayne Wagner for his leadership on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
"We are better off in the park and at the Herman Davis Park. The third ball field has been expanded giving us three regulation size fields. A sprinkler system has been added to the Herman Davis Park and trees have been removed. It looks a lot better.
"We just completed the sewer project and are ready to initiate the water improvement project. Most of that was done when I took office.
"I have worked trying to get the money back where it belongs. It is difficult to do much because there is not a lot of extra revenue," he said. "I will be working to make sure we stay financially sound."
In other business:
*Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis asked that the minutes from the January meeting be amended. Minutes read that Davis had seconded the motion to abolish the Airport Commission. The minutes were amended to reflect that Councilman Dean Cherry made the second.
*Mayor Veach said he had reviewed the plans for the right of way approval for Light Core Inc. They are working in conjunction with Centurytel laying wire to upgrade the services available to the area.
*Councilman Linda Donovan asked about property that needs cleaning up. A discussion was held and the mayor and council agreed that the present ordinance allows too long for action and the existing ordinance needs to be updated. Chief of Police Jackie Hill commented that updating the ordinance is a good idea.
*Councilman Tony Hawkins addressed the council about the bill he received from the city for hooking up sewer to his business. Hawkins said he was under the impression that since he had been charged with sewer for seven years that he did not have, that the city would hook up sewer to his businesses and residence.
"I know that we did that for someone in the past," Hawkins said. "My impression was I could hook up to city sewer at no cost. I knew that I would have to pay for the grease trap I wanted put in for approximately $500, but I got a bill for $1,750."
Ford explained that because of the uneven lines from the building to the hook-up, a pump had to be installed.
Hawkins asked for the council's opinion.
Councilman Gaylon Gammill asked to see the ordinance on sewer installation. After reviewing the ordinance Gammill and Davis said it appeared to them that the city had met its obligations.
"In retrospect, maybe we should have handled the last situation differently," Gammill said.
No action was taken.