The Caraway City Council met on Thursday evening, Aug. 11, and discussed the legality of disbanding the City Park Commission and bringing back the rodeo to the July 4th celebration.
In a letter to Mayor South, the city attorney said the Council could not legally take back a portion of the park operation from the Park Commission.
Kima Stewart with Leadership Buffalo Island gave an overview of what the organization does to promote Caraway, Monette, Black Oak, Leachville and Manila. Each of the five towns involved in LBI have been asked to consider annual donations. The council voted unanimously to contribute $250 to LBI.
Mayor Joe South reviewed a request for payment from Miller-Newell Engineers for their work on the safe room project. The statement of expenses was listed $4,095. The safe room was never built because the bids that came in were double the amount budgeted and exceeded the amount of grant money allocated. The council voted to pay Miller-Newell Engineers for their work on the project.
Mayor South announced the Council needed to hire a new police officer and set the salary. The council went into executive session to discuss hiring. Following the session, Mayor South reported officer Troy Kelems was no longer able to perform duties as a police officer and had applied for disability. Mayor South and Police Chief Jerry Vaughn recommended Steven Lloyd McFarlin for Kelems' position. The council voted to hire McFarlin at a starting salary set at $24,000 a year with a $1,000 annual increase upon completion of the Police Academy.
South requested the purchase of a new computer tower for use in the water and sewer department.
"The old system gives the water and sewer department trouble on a daily basis," South said. "A computer technician I contacted determined the whole system could crash at anytime. The new computer tower was not very expensive, but the software which would have to be purchased for compatibility reasons is quite expensive. The software will cost $3,355 plus sales tax. The total cost to replace the tower and software would run around $4,500."
After a brief discussion, the council voted to purchase a new computer tower and software.
Mayor South recommended new Park Commission members and officers, which included: Greg Douglas, president; Ronnie Hurst, treasurert and Wendy Riley, secretary. Bryan Clark and Jerry Stokes were also recommended to serve on the Park Commission to replace committee members whose terms have expired. Commissioners Don Orr and Larry Mason will remain, as they are currently serving five year terms which have not expired. The council approved the recommendations for officers and new commissioners. The council also set five year term limits for new commissioners, according to City Ordinance No. 1965-3.
Councilman Brent Powell asked that the newly appointed Park Commission submit quarterly reports and an annual audit which is required by State Code (Arkansas Code Annotated 14-269-301) and City Ordinance No. 1965-3.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at city hall.