Leachville Mayor reports on city improvements

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Leachville City Council worked through an agenda consisting of support to senior citizens, back taxes, and city handbook at the regular council meeting Monday, Feb. 7.

Mayor Ralph Wells gave a state of the city address at the beginning of the meeting.

"We became a city of the first class last year, which I think will create greater opportunities for our city," Wells said. "We have several new businesses, Southern Bank of Commerce, Dollar General Store, Kirby's Appraisal and Real Estate, McCoy's Trucking, Pepe's Restaurant, Wava's Beauty Shop, Alpha and Omega Wrecker Service, Troy Waddell Repair Service, and the main office for internet advertising of searchyhometown.com.

"We have had improvements to our city park and ball fields this year," Wells said. "With the city government and city employees working together, we want to improve the city and city services."

Mayor Wells read a letter from Donna Tuberfeld, with Mississippi County Senior Citizens, requesting donations.

"The county is continually asking us to take care of their shortcomings," said Wells. "We don't have any trouble helping with our senior citizens, but are concerned about sending donations to the county level.

"Perhaps we could sponsor our individual senior citizens instead of just the county program," said alderman Teresa Johnson. "They don't turn anyone away from their services."

"They feed about 25 or 26 people at the center," said alderman Anna Beth Thomas.

The council tabled their decision until next month.

Mayor Wells read a letter from city attorney Mike Bearden to Henry Wilkins, IV, Senate Co-chairman, and Tommy G. Roebuck, House Co-chairman, of the Arkansas legislative Joint Auditing Committee, concerning payment of payroll taxes.

"The payroll taxes that were not remitted according to the report done by Mr. Ray, was a result of the city clerk not preparing the reports and sending them in a timely manner and then making excuses as to why these taxes were not sent in. I am trying to work out some sort of payment plan with the Department of Finance and Administration for payment of these taxes and hopefully, we will be able to get this resolved without taking any drastic measures."

A plan has not yet been established for settling the matter.

An IRS specialist, from Texas, had previously been contacted by the city concerning what to do about past due state and federal taxes.

"The state did not approve our audit due to the outstanding taxes," Wells said.

"We gave the specialist $2,500 to start, with the agreement that when he works that amount out he will come back to us," said Keith. "We have not heard anything from him since then.

"They need an official response on what we were doing, as a city, to repay the money for 2003," said Keith. "We are not paying for anything until we get a final number as what to pay."

"They are negotiating on what the amount should be," said Wells. "The government can do anything they want to do."

"Municipalities are handled differently than regular employees," said Keith.

Wells read a letter from LeRoy Dangeau concerning East Arkansas Resource and Management., RC&D Program, requesting sponsorship.

No action was taken by the council.

Wells announced plans by Roger Davis to develop housing in the southern part of the east division of the city.

The council discussed black bird problem in the city.

"The birds are a bad health hazard, and droppings give off a terrible odour" said Wells. "We have purchased two tapes and machines to use during the roosting times of the birds, and hopefully these will help. Boe Adams bought two tapes also, to use at Adams estate. Hopefully we can see some good results soon."

The council discussed city credit cards and Sam's Club member cards.

"Employees did not sign the credit card in and out from July through December of last year," Alderman Bob Crites said. "An individual needs to personally sign the card out and back in. I am concerned about Rebecca (Clowers), as she has had to sign the cards in and out herself."

"How many credit cards do we have?" asked Johnson

"I don't really know," said Wells.

"We voted for them to sing in and out, and this should be done," said alderman Sheila Spurlock.

Crites and Spurlock agreed to check with the ledger, in the Water Department office, to see if this is being done.

"There are two funds and two cards," said treasurer Ruth Ann Keith. "One is for the general fund and one for the water department."

A record is kept by Keith and Marcia Davis, purchasing agent.

"The city once had six credit cards," said Keith. "Now they are all in the vault. There are two Sam's Club cards"

The council has already voted that cards must be signed in and out by the recipient, and the council agreed to enforce the decision.

Guidebooks for Municipal Officers of Mayor/Council and city was handed out to councilmen.

"What about drug testing?" asked Johnson.

"We need to discuss that," said Wells. "Mike (Bearden) wants each council member to call him and talk about the employee handbook before we go any further. He wants to review the handbook."

The council approved paying for re-certification class manuals for Leachville First Responders, at a cost of $15 each.

"Our first responders do a great job," said Wells.

Several people from the audience praised the responders as well.

The council voted to donate $1,500 to the Buffalo Island Ambulance Service.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on March 7, beginning at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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