*¿Leachville Council OKs clean-up ordinance rewrite

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Leachville City Council discussed financial reports, grants, and ordinances at the regular council meeting Monday, July 11.

The council approved the six month financial report, as presented by City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith, and approved publication of the report.

*This is the first time that I can sign my name to the bottom of our financial report and say that I know it is correct,* Keith said.

The council discussed the city's part in completing the $75,000 matching grant from Arkansas Parks and Tourism.

*Right now we don*t have the money, but if we don*t follow through with our part of it we might not get another grant,* said Leachville Mayor Ralph Wells. *I need to talk with Susan Clifford about this. We have until Aug. 1 to turn in our plans and specifications. We may have to call a special council meeting when I find out something.*

The council reviewed Ordinance 200-2 concerning property clean-up.

*I am concerned about citing an owner and renter into municipal court,* said Police Chief Ken Womack.

*You can charge them $50 a day for non-compliance, and put a lein on their taxes,* City Attorney Mike Bearden said. *This will help you, not hurt you. People will start cleaning up when you get in their back pocket. You will need to set up a file on them.

*You cite them for violation of the city ordinance and go to court, then the judge will sentence and review the case. You can then put a lein on their property to regain expenses. This will work if you get the police involved in it.*

*We may all take a lot of heat over this,* said Wells. *We need to stand by our police, and not play favorites with property owners and renters. Our town is getting to look pretty bad, and something has to be done. We don*t want to overwhelm our police department.*

*We are out there every day,* said Womack. *We won*t be overwhelmed, but the judge may be, as we might fill the court room up next month.*

Bearden agreed to rewrite the ordinance and repeal the present one, to comply with the council*s wishes. A special council meeting may need to be called to address the changes.

Councilman Teresa Johnson reported city firemen have completed ICS and NIMS classes on terrorism. She asked council to consider the construction of a new building, behind the present fire department, for use by First Responders. No action was taken at this time.

The council discussed the new dog ordinance proposed by the council.

*Are you sure you have the facilities and manpower to carry it out?* Bearden asked.

*We have a dog catcher and the facilities,* said alderman Bill Hetler.

*We are doing it right,* said Wells.

*We have vaccinations, city tags in place already,* said Womack. *We are equipped to hold or euphanize the animals, if necessary.*

Bearden agreed to shorten the ordinance and get back with the council.

Fire Chief Rich Austin addressed the council with concerns about the proposed ordinance governing the firemen*s fire protection fund and discretionary fund.

The new ordinance states that fire department funds shall be appropriated by the city council for any lawful expenditures and the council should have complete discretion and control over funds collected. The city clerk shall be required to establish a separate bank account for the deposit of funds collected, and shall use pre-numbered checks for the disbursement of any funds from the account. Two signatures would be required for each cash check written.

The new ordinance had been drafted originally to clarify legal accounting of money, per request of state auditors.

*The auditors always ask about this accounting of this money,* said City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith. *I need clarification and a record of funds. I need to be able to show it is being done right.*

The council agreed to continue using the old ordinance, to establish a board Of directors for the fire department, and to use monthly fire department financial reports for record keeping purposes.

Councilman Teresa Johnson reported a $2,321.25 profit was made from the sale of Boston butts, by the fire department.

Brandon Ammons and Tony Nix have been added as Leachville firemen.

City Attorney Bearden addressed concerns of the council about payment of federal taxes.

*Has the interest on the taxes stopped while we are trying to work something out?* Alderman Anna Beth Thomas asked.

*No,* Bearden said. *The interest will go on until this is settled. We still do not have an answer yet, but it is being worked on.*

The council discussed the legality of Marsha Davis working for city while Rebecca Clowers is on vacation, as she is not bonded. Bearden agreed to check on bonding.

*Rebecca is doing a fantastic job, and we will work something out on this,* Wells said.

A city wide clean up is set for July 22 and 23. Fees will remain the same as regular dumping charges.

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