Manila to supply mosquito spray to citizens below cost

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Manila Mayor Clifford Veach and the city council members agreed at the regular June meeting to provide Mosquito Barrier, a garlic based mixture, to Manila residents at one half of the cost.

"That is what we did last year," Mayor Veach said. "Some people say it did a good job and others don't agree."

Councilman Tony Hawkins said they use it at their business at least three times a week

"It doesn't get rid of all of the mosquitoes but it does help," he said.

The city will spray the city park area.

The price of a gallon of Mosquito Barrier is $60 plus tax. It will be sold to Manila residents for $30 plus tax and can be purchased at city hall.

A sales tax will be assessed on sanitation fees in Manila as of July 1.

Mayor Veach told the council at its regular meeting, June 21, that the city will have to begin collecting the tax July 1.

"We pay $8 a month for sanitation fee. Starting the first of July we will be assessed 72 cents tax as per the Legislature's requirements," Veach said.

Six percent (48 cents) will go to the state; two percent (16 cents) will go to the county and one percent (eight cents) will go to the city.

Veach explained this was passed to help fund education.

Mayor Veach updated council members on the city clean-up project.

"We had a successful clean-up in May," Veach said. "The cost of the tipping fees for the county is $1,588.16. For the last several years Judge (Steve) McGuire has allowed us to pay half the fees during our clean-up week. I asked Michael White (Quorum Court Justice) to ask about it this year, and I was told that Judge McGuire did not just say 'no,' but 'h_ _ _ no.' That's all I am going to say about that. We did have a fantastic effort during the clean-up."

Mayor Veach said he read an article in the Blytheville paper concerning the jail fees and it sounded as if Blytheville and the County may be close to a solution. He said he would keep the council informed.

"If an agreement is made, we may call a special session and get this thing behind us," Veach said.

The council unanimously voted on several fund transfers that were recommended by the 2003 audit. There will be $6,937.91 transferred from the general fund to the firemen's pension fund; $1,485,36 from the general fund to the swimming pool fund; $1,485.36 from the general fund to the parks and recreation fund; $481.82 from the general fund to the swimming pool fund; $481.83 from the general fund to the parks and recreation fund; $873.62 from the Local Order of Police and Fire Insurance (LOPFI) to the Firemen's Pension; and $2,300 from the fire protection fund to the Firemen's Pension.

Veach announced that the sewer cleaning machine should be in by the end of the week.

He also informed the council that the building next door to city hall that had been given to the city had been offered to someone else before the council met.

It was given to Teresa Fleeman and she is in the process of cleaning it up. She plans to use it for Boy Scouts and a Girls and Boys Club. She said she plans to put a new roof on it, also. Veach said that would be a good use for it.

The council discussed establishing a bad check policy.

"We don't have one and I think we need to establish one like any other business has," Veach said.

Following a discussion, the council agreed to gather information and think about it for a month before a decision is made.

The council voted unanimously to apply for a grant for a new ag hangar at the Manila Airport.

"The one we have is not adequate for ag planes," Veach said.

Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said the ag planes will not fit in the regular hangars.

Councilman Hawkins said he had talked to Candy Jones with Jewell Engineering about grants available and said if the application was in by July it would be looked at in August.

Mayor Veach and council members discussed employee pay raises.

Veach suggested looking at the options and making a decision in July retroactive to June 1.

Veach made a suggestion of giving bonuses instead of raises.

"Some years we may not be in as good shape financially as others," Veach said. "Professional people I've talked to like the bonus better than a percentage increase."

Councilman Hawkins asked bonuses would do to retirement.

"I like the way we did it last year, a dollar rate rather than a percentage," Hawkins said.

Councilman Dwight Booth asked how many employees do not have retirement.

"If we do bonuses, maybe we could look into giving these employees retirement funding," Booth said.

Veach said the retirement is 10 percent of the salary and once employees are in, they can't get out.

"You may see it (bonus) as a bad idea, but I think it is a good one. In the business profession it is used all of the time," Veach said.

Councilman Hawkins asked about an amount of bonus.

"I'm proposing the manner, not how much, that is up to the council," Veach said.

Council agreed to discuss it at the July meeting.

Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill discussed with the council about the purchase of a bicycle for $479.99 using money left over from a grant.

The council viewed a picture of the bicycle but several council members expressed the opinion that the price was too high.

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