Manila City Council supports BI Relay for Life

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Manila City Council members support the Buffalo Island American Cancer Relay for Life. Pictured are, from left: Back -- council members, Larry "Whiz" Davis, Gaylon Gammill, Dwight Booth, Leroy Douglas and Dean Cherry. Front -- Relay for Life Steering Committee member Brenda Matheny and Councilwoman Linda Donovan. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

The Manila City Council meeting opened Monday night, Aug. 15, with the approval of minutes and a budget comparison. Mayor Clifford Veach said the budget was running well.

"This report reflects the certificate of deposit purchased," Veach said. "It is itemized as an expense."

He also informed the council when the water project is completed, the city will be reimbursed for money that had to be spent out of the water department funds.

Mayor Veach welcomed Brenda Matheny and Revis Blaylock, members of the Buffalo Island American Cancer Relay for Life steering committee.

"I've been given a documented report where we have agreed to use money for advertising in the 2005 Relay for Life," Veach said.

The council agreed at the June meeting to purchase advertising for the Relay for Life using money given to the city from a carnival located in Manila. The carnival paid the city a percentage of the ticket sales totaling $400.

The City of Manila also allowed the Relay for Life organization to use the Airport Center for a fundraiser.

"We appreciate everything you do for us," Matheny said. "It (Relay for Life) is hard work but people like you make our job a little easier."

Veach announced he had been in contact with the paving company and paving probably would begin in Manila in October.

"If anyone sees an area that needs attention, let us know and it will be put on the paving list," Veach said.

Veach updated the council on the airport taxi-way extension reporting the paving is completed, inspected and signed off.

City Attorney Wayne Wagner said he and Doug Smith are working on the proposed annexation project.

"Doug is pulling legals," he said. "When school starts and people get into a routine, we plan to make contact with each resident in the area. I don't anticipate much opposition."

The Council unanimously passed a NIMS (national incident management system) Resolution. At last month's meeting, council members heard from Bob Lewis of the Gosnell Police Department and the Mississippi County Office of Emergency told the council that NIMS came about through a federal mandate and not complying with the training could affect federal monies agencies receive. Lewis said everyone, even elected officials, have to be trained in NIMS by Oct. 1 and a resolution has to be adopted by that date.

"We have sent two officers to training school and as soon as they get their instruction certification we will proceed with the training," Veach said. "Both will be qualified instructors. Passing the resolution is the first step of the process."

The training should take approximately four to eight hours. Veach went on to say this was established by the Homeland Security after 9-11.

Council member Linda Donovan said the property where the former ambulance service was housed is in need of attention.

Mayor Veach said a letter had been sent, but the city was informed the recipient of the letter no longer owned the property.

"We will proceed from there," Veach said.

The council unanimously passed a fire department resolution for an evaluation of fire fighters. The evaluation will be done by the fire chief, assistant chief and a committee of firemen chosen by the department. A list of qualified firemen will be presented to the council each December.

"The fire chief recommendations will be acted on by the city council and become a part of the records," Veach said.

When all items on the agenda were acted on, longtime Manila fireman Carroll Towell asked if he could speak to the council.

"The council passed a resolution without any discussion with the firemen on the recommendation of a fire chief that has been on the job only two months," Towell said. "We don't feel we are trying to hide anything from you. Our standard procedures are what you passed today. It doesn't sound right to me."

Former Fire Chief Don Nunnally said most of the items in the resolution are already in place.

"I don't think it needs action of the council," Nunnally said.

Veach said the city wants to work with the fire department.

"It looks like more firemen should have been made aware of this," Towell said. It seems like a complaint. We are on duty 24/7."

"We appreciate it," Veach said.

Fireman Jim Thieme said he had some questions.

"Are we going to send a list, are they (city council) going to pick and choose on the list?" Thieme said. "Sometimes you get in a situation and you want to make sure. I would like to keep politics out of it. We want to make sure we have some say on who is on the fire department."

"This is not an action," Councilman Dwight Booth said. "It is just a report. I would think the fire department would take care of any problems before the list ever gets to the city council."

"I am not qualified to run the fire department," Councilman Leroy Douglas said. "This is a means to help motivate everyone. I want to work with the fire department, not against it."

Fire Chief Jerry Hitchcock said he had been informed by Don Zimmerman with the municipal league most cities have a resolution in place.

"I have been the fire chief since April," Hitchcock said. "I did not write the resolution, it was written by the city. We have had several bylaws in effect over the years and we have had problems internally enforcing them."

Veach said good firemen will be rewarded.

"You do a good job and you are being rewarded," Veach said.

In other business:

*On the recommendation of Mayor Veach and Henry Ford, water and sewer superintendent, the council voted unanimously to hire Steve Metzer as a full time city employee. Metzer has been working for the city on contract labor since April. Veach said he has been a good employee.

*Veach informed council members the city had received a $1,000 grant from Entergy. The grant will be used to help with the city park playground project.

"I want to publicly thank Entergy for the grant," Veach said.

*Veach informed the city he had been notified of $159,000 available to the city for sidewalks. It will cost the city $30,000 if we use the funds. Veach said it is evidently a project that started some time ago and the money is still available.

Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said he remembered the project.

"It started as a walking trail and then moved to sidewalks," Davis said.

Veach said the sidewalks would go to Farmers Market and down Lake Street to the 4-way stop sign near the park.

"I hate to make a decision without looking at the plans," Douglas said.

"We need to consider where the kids are walking," Booth said. "If we have a lot of kid traffic to the park we might want to consider the sidewalks for their safety."

Veach said he would look for the plans and the council would have time to make a decision if they wanted to go with the project or turn the money down.

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