Leachville receives $18,00 from anonymous donor

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Leachville city council voted Monday, Feb. 6, to purchase a new police car after a pledge of matching funds from an anonymous donor.

"The people in our community are always wanting to find ways to help out the city," Mayor Ralph Wells said. "We had a private business agree to pay half of the cost of a police vehicle, if the city would pay the other half. This was very generous."

Police Chief Ken Womack reported on plans to purchase the vehicle through state purchasing from Bale Chevrolet of Little Rock. The total cost will be $16,370, with Leachville's portion being only $8,150.

The same business donor has also contributed $10,080 for the city to purchase dash-mounted video cameras for all four police cars.

Womack reported he had estimated the police department would take in $55,000 in fines and forfeitures in 2006, and that needed to be increased by at least $10,000, as they had already taken in $60,000 for 2005.

"Will you still give us the $4,000 in the drug control fund?" asked councilman Bill Hetler.

"No, we need the fund to buy surveillance equipment," Womack said. "We used to be fighting meth amphetamines (which were snorted or injected), and now this has turned to 'ice,' (which is in a crystal form and smoked). Ice is everywhere, and it has an instant effect on the brain, lasting several hours."

Mayor Wells gave his annual State of the City address.

"We are starting out better off that we were last year," Wells said. "We have made progress on updating services and are working together with the police force, fire department, first responders and citizens of the city.

"We have to be aggressive in bringing in new business," he said. "That will take additional revenue, and I still think we need a one cent sales tax to survive."

The council approved a $850,000 water and sewer revenue bond for construction of extensions, betterments and improvements to the water facilities. Eldridge and Clark of Little Rock has underwritten the project through Stephens, Inc. It will carry a 2.5 percent interest rate, with a service fee of one percent for the life of the bond.

Bond ordinance postings will be place at the Malt Shop, Frontier Restaurant, Leachville Drug, Heritage Bank, and Southern Bank of Commerce.

In other business:

*The council voted last month to award the city's sanitation contract, which will begin on March 2, to local resident Eddie Bolar.

*Voted to allow Black Sheep Internet service to place an antenna on the city's water tower, with the stipulation that the business sign a safety stipulation taking full responsibility for any accidents.

*Adoption of the City Personnel Handbook continued to be discussed. Mayor Wells vetoed the adoption of the book last month. The handbook committee, consisting of councilmen Anna Beth Thomas, Teresa Johnson, and Mark Wheeler, will meet on Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. to study the feasibility of the handbook. City Attorney Mike Bearden advised against passage of the handbook, as it has been presented.

Councilman Anna Beth Thomas requested Bearden review the handbook and make suggestions for change.

*The council discussed the use of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism grant awarded last year, and an effort is being made to raise $18,000 in cash in order to comply with the usage of it.

*Alderman Johnson reported on the mutual aid agreement with volunteer firefighters from Monette Fire Department.

*The council discussed status of the city's tax liability with City Attorney Bearden.

"The taxes need to be reviewed to study proposals of revenue sources and to look at monthly payments," Bearden said. "I believe they will work with us on this."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 6 at city hall.

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