Leachville Council OKs purchase of police car

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Leachville city council approved the purchase of another new police car, with support from a second anonymous donor, at the council meeting March 6.

Leachville Police Chief Ken Womack related another businessman in town has offered to pay half the vehicle cost for a second police car.

"I haven't come to the council in two years for a police car, and now we have these two offers before us," said Womack.

"This is like getting two police cars for the price of one," Womack said. "He wasn't impressed with the smaller Chevrolet car and recommended we consider purchasing a Dodge Charger instead. It is more expensive, but he is still willing to pay half.

"We estimated the police department would take in $65,000 for the year in fines and forfeitures," he said. "We have already taken in one third of that total amount in two months."

"We have got to have the money up front to pay for this car," Alderman Bill Hetler said. "We are now considering buying two police cars when just last month we could not even afford to buy one. We owe $350,000 to the government and here we are buying two police cars. I'm not for it, because we can't afford it."

"We can't shut the city down just because we owe that money," Leachville Mayor Ralph Wells said.

"Could you ask the man to reconsider the smaller car and save the city some money?" asked Alderman Tommy Stone.

"Yes," Womack said. "I just want to rid the community of marijuana and meth. We have lost one generation of kids to meth, and we don't want to lose another."

"I don't see how we can hardly turn down such a generous gift," said Councilman Anna Beth Thomas.

"I knew one of the police cars had to be boosted to get it started recently," said Alderman Teresa Johnson. "That would be like having a fire truck that wouldn't start when needed."

Alderman Bob Crites moved to buy the Dodge Charger and stagger arrival dates for 30 days. The motion passed 4-2 with Hetler and Stone casting opposing votes.

Other business included:

*Aldermen continue to work toward finalizing the city's employee handbook.

"We have met several times on this," Alderman Thomas said. "I want to commend Jake Ballard for coming to all the meetings. We hope to get this completed soon. When we get it back with revisions made, we can call a special meeting to adopt."

*Mayor Wells discussed the cost of purchasing a mosquito fogger and use of chemicals to spray the city three times a week.

*Mayor Wells, city clerk Ruth Ann Keith and water superintendent Jake Ballard will travel to Little Rock on March 14 to sign a bond agreement, for the city's water tower project, at the offices of Friday, Eldredge and Clark.

"Charlie Christopherson Construction Company is slated to begin work in April," Wells said.

*The council voted to purchase a 100-kilowatt generator and used van from federal surplus in Little Rock for $3,200.

*Alderman Thomas inquired about the city's high volume of unpaid water bills.

"They are supposed to be signing an agreement for payment, or we are to turn off the water," Thomas said.

"If people make an agreement and don't honor it, then they should not be allowed to make another agreement," Alderman Bob Crites said.

Mayor Wells agreed to look into situation.

*Wells said the city did not have an agreement with the IRS as yet.

*Mayor Wells congratulated BIC senior boys and girls basketball teams for earning the right to go to state competition this year. The boys will play Altheimer in the state AA finals in North Little Rock on Saturday.

*The council discussed privilege license.

"We have collected over $3,000 and only one person has not paid," Keith said.

"I think the problem we had had in the past, was the formula we had derived, not the paying of them," Alderman Mark Wheeler said. "There needs to be a blanket fee, in my opinion. Some businesses see that they are being penalised for selling in high-volume. It is a privilege for us to have these businesses, rather for them to be here."

"The law says volume of sales," said Wells.

The statements are sent out in June of each year.

Visitor Betty Jo Eldried praised the First Alert team for being so quick to respond to emergencies and being skilled in what to do when they arrive.

"They have made a lot of difference, along with our policemen, when people are waiting for the ambulance to arrive," Eldried said.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 3 at city hall.

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