Annexation, new subdivision easements and right of ways, street paving, and approva of employee bonuses were among topics covered at the Manila June city council meeting held last Monday evening.
Manila Mayor Clifford Veach gave council members a copy of a letter that had been prepared by Veach and City Attorney Wayne Wagner concerning future annexation plans.
"If we proceed with annexation plans residents will be sent a copy of the letter," Mayor Veach said.
Veach said the plan would go west of Highway 18 near Bill Crowell's house going south down to Olympia Extended. The north side would be about the same, just not as deep. Also, Veach discussed annexation to the west along old Highway 18.
"I would like to see this done before the 2010 census," Veach said.
Veach said the residents in the annexed areas are close to the city limits. Annexation would provide police and fire protection, garbage pick up, and streets would be paved in a reasonable time. He said people living in the annexation area would keep their current electrical supplier.
Veach said the only negative for residents is that their property tax would go up slightly.
Attorney Wagner said he and the city will go ahead and prepare a petition for voluntary annexation.
"Chief Hill and I are going to go around and talk to residents this summer," Wagner said. "If we accomplish enough that way we can come back to the council and recommend the go ahead."
Wagner said they should have the results by the end of the summer.
Council member Leroy Douglas said he thinks it would be good for the city and good for the residents.
Developer and builder Danny Morris presented a plat to the city council for acceptance. Morris is building homes off West Olympia Street. He had plans for right-of-ways and easements. Water and sewer is already in the area.
"You would like the city to accept responsibility for street maintenance?" Veach asked.
Following a discussion on drainage and culverts, sewer and water, Councilman Dwight Booth made a motion to accept the plans subject to guidelines set by the Council last year. The motion passed unanimously.
Street paving was discussed.
Veach said it would probably be next year before the streets in the new subdivision would be paved.
Morris thanked the council for their cooperation.
Street paving was discussed with several areas discussed including Brewer addition, Airport Road, Olympia Street and the walking trail.
Veach said in addition to paving, there would be a lot of patch work to be done.
"When we cut across a street, we are not equipped to put it back together," Veach said
He said it is best for the professionals to do it right.
Veach told the council if they knew of any other areas needing patchwork or paving to let him know.
The board voted to advertise for bids for paving.
Bobby Walton addressed the council for a zoning variance for property he purchased at the corner of Highway 18 and Baltimore.
Walton said he would eventually like to see the area rezoned from residential to commercial.
"I have a couple of things in mind for the building," Walton said. "I will not change the looks of it but want to possibly use part of it for office space in the future. In 2003 I bought the house next door and have now sold the house and it went back to residential."
Walton pointed out that businesses had been located in the house in the past.
"I am asking to use it for commercial as long as I own it," Walton said.
Mayor Veach recommended that the council approve a zoning variance so the building could be used for his office and work on a more permanent solution later.
The council voted unanimously to approve a zoning variance.
Veach informed the council that there would be a bid opening at 4 p.m. June 30 to roof the water plant. The work will be paid for by the excess funds from the Water improvement project.
Chief Hill reported on property clean-up.
"Wayne (Wayne Wagner) and I went around today," Chief Hill said. "There is only one that has not made much progress."
Wagner commented that most of the property owners Chief Hill has talked to are trying and making an effort to clean-up property.
"That sounds good," Veach said. "Anytime the council sees something that needs attention, you can contact me or Jackie."
Veach updated the council on the airport project.
"There has not been much word done since last month," Veach said. "Whiz and I met with the engineering company that is composing the master plan. He said there were three alternatives for the taxi-way extension.
"We chose to keep the runway the same length and do enrichment work to it rather than extending it to the end of the property. We can change that in the future if there is a need," he said. "If any of you feel differently, we need to discuss it."
The council agreed to continue, as last year, with the mosquito control. The city will purchase the Mosquito Barrier, a garlic based spray, and allow Manila residents that want to spray their own property to purchase it at half price.
Veach made a proposal to purchase advertising for the Buffalo Island American Cancer Relay for Life.
At last month's meeting Veach told the council it was not legal for the city to donate to a private cause.
"I've talked to the auditors and the Relay for Life people," Veach said. "We can buy advertising for the Relay for Life. It would not be a donation and the city of Manila will have its name put on tee-shirts and other items. It is a wonderful cause and we all know what it is all about."
Veach had an informative fact sheet from Chairman Shelia Spurlock how the Relay for Life money is utilized.
"I want to recommend that we give the $400 we received from the carnival that was in town to purchase the advertising."
The council voted unanimously to use the $400 for the Relay for Life advertising.
Manila Industries Board requested a waiver to allow for a lower than 5 percent minimum interest rate for Manila's re-use plan to T.W. Wagner, Inc. The Manila Industries Board voted to lend T.W. Wagner, Inc. $100,000 for a maximum of 20 years at 3 percent annual interest pending approval by the Manila City Council and the Arkansas Department of economic Development. The loan will be used to purchase equipment. Veach said Dr. Wagner is on schedule to open his office on July 18. He pointed out that it has been estimated that 15 permanent jobs will be created by the project.
The board voted unanimously to approve the waiver request and re-use plan amendment.
Mayor Veach and council discussed bonuses for employees.
"Last year we gave each employee a bonus of $1,200," Veach said. "We have signed an agreement with some of our employees that chose to go with a pay raise instead of bonuses," Veach said.
Veach recommended that the employees that did not get an increase with the pay raise agreement receive a $1,200 bonus and the department heads a $1,500 bonus each.
"We've cut down on the numbers and what we have is a lean, mean working machine," Veach said. The workers and department heads are doing a great job. It's (the bonus amount) is not all they deserve, but it is what we can afford," Veach said.
The council voted unanimously to give the bonuses as recommended by Mayor Veach.
Mayor Veach reviewed the budget with council members commenting the finances are on track.
Veach announced that the city would be receiving $8,900 from Arkansas Soil and Conservation.
Council members and Mayor Veach that attended the recent Municipal League Meeting gave a brief report on the meeting.