(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Mayor Veach and council members have held several discussions over the last several months on how best to provide severe weather warnings to Manila citizens. City officials looked at outside sirens as well as a feasible way to provide weather radios to be used inside. The council had Mississippi County coordinator for the office of Emergency Services Director David Lendennie meet with them at the November meeting. Lendennie offered tips on different features needed on weather radios saying sirens are for outside warnings. He said many times the sirens cannot be heard inside.
Mayor Veach informed the council he had purchased a handheld weather radio.
"We have spent meetings talking about weather radios and I bought one," Veach said. "This radio sells in the store for $50. It does have the important features we talked about."
Veach said he had contacted the home office of Radio Shack and by purchasing the radios in bulk the city's cost would be approximately $26 each. Veach said if the council wanted to purchase the radios and allow residents to buy the radio at half price it would cost the individuals approximately $13 each.
Veach said the radios use three AA batteries.
"The batteries are not very expensive," Veach said. "There is also an AC/DC power pack available in the store at approximately $14 if individuals wanted to purchase the adapter.
"Most people seem to like this model," Veach said. "It is small and can be taken to the storm shelter or on a trip."
Veach said Manila has 1,300 water meters.
"I'm assuming some people already have weather radios," Veach said. "We may need as many as 700. I thought we could order 100 at a time."
Councilman Larry Davis said he recommended one per household.
"I think we should make these available to our citizens," Councilman Leroy Douglas said.
Councilman Dwight Booth made a motion to purchase the weather radios and allow residents to purchase one at half price (approximately $13) and if anyone wants a second radio they can pay the city's price (approximately $26).
The motion was seconded by Douglas and passed unanimously.
Veach said he would recommend a daily training session at city hall on how to use the radios.
"The storm season is coming and now is the time to get the radios," Veach said.
Mayor Veach updated the council on the new garbage truck, tractor and mower. The garbage truck is on order and delivery is expected in March.
Veach informed the council the old truck has had to have quite a bit of repair recently.
The tractor and mower for the airport is on order.
"We won't need it until April or May," Veach said.
City Attorney Wayne Wagner commented the paper work for the upcoming annexation has been taken to David Lendennie who is working on a map.
Councilman Booth asked how the annexation would affect the ward situation.
"It will make the largest one larger," Wagner said.
Mayor Veach said it is too late to do anything now but after the election, the council might want to consider looking at the wards to equal the numbers.
In other business:
*Veach said he had met with the director of the Head Start and she had indicated they may want the adjoining space. The present Head Start now occupies part of the building located near the Manila Nursing Center. The city now owns the building. Veach said the contract calls for the city to take care of the outside such as roof or concrete and the Head Start would take care of anything inside the building. They have been paying $450 a month rent and if they take the additional space, it will double.
"She is coming to look at the building and get with me," Veach said.
*Veach said he had been in contact with the Department of Agriculture representative about a grant for a new fire station project. We could borrow some money with the grant at a 4.50 percent interest rate which could be paid off at any time.
"I look forward to having a new fire station at the industrial park where the football field was located," Veach said.
*Veach mentioned the gas bill at the community center was $1,770.
"Since then we have put metal covers on the thermostats so they cannot be moved," Veach said. "Our next one will probably be half that much."
Veach reported people are still walking there in the mornings.
"We've offered people (walkers) the key to open it but no one wants to be responsible and I can understand that," Veach said. "We have asked the police officers to open it each morning at 7 a.m. but maybe that is when the traffic is bad or they are on a call at that time."
Veach reported there had been 176 activities at the Community Center in 2005. Some are rental activities and others have been community events at no charge. The rental prices are the same as when it opened - $125 for the auditorium, $50 for the conference room and $25 for the kitchen area.
"Naturally that doesn't pay for it, but my recommendation is to continue as is for as long as we can, but we can't afford $1,700 gas bill a month," Veach said.
*Councilman Dean Cherry asked about having a police officer at the school in the mornings.
"I've seen people driving too fast and saw two kids almost get hit," Cherry said. "The traffic is really bad in the mornings."
Chief Jackie Hill said there are times when the officers have calls to answer.
"If you want someone there, it is no problem," Hill said. "If we have complaints on speeding we can run the radar, also."
*Mayor Veach distributed a map of the new fire district.
"We'll be hearing more about it after the Quorum Court meets," Veach said.
The Manila City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month.