Monette Council to resubmit grand application

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

The Monette city council met in short session Monday evening, April 24, and discussed resubmission of intersection grant, as well as the city-wide yard sale and clean sweep.

Monette Mayor David Fletcher reported on a letter received from the Arkansas Department of Rural Services, concerning a recent grant application.

"Our grant proposal was not approved in the first cycle of funds, but they recommended that we resubmit our application for the next cycle," Fletcher said. "Requests for Rural Community Grant funds greatly exceeded the amount of funds available. They received over 50 applications requesting over $550,000, of which only $177,280 was available to distribute. The deadline for cycle 1 of fiscal year 2007 will be on Aug. 25, 2006."

The council voted to resubmit the grant application for improvements on properties surrounding the Highway 139/Highway 18 intersection.

Alderman Byron Sparkman reported on plans for the annual city-wide yard sale, slated for Saturday, May 6, followed by clean sweep, May 8-12.

Alderman Tom Carroll requested that attention be given to repairing the tennis courts at the city park and look at lighting.

Plans are also being made to replace the media underneath the children's playground equipment at the park.

The mobile home ordinance review committee, appointed at last month's meeting, have not been able to meet as yet. Report will be forthcoming.

Alderman Steve Suber invited the council to attend the Arkansas Department of Economic Development ACE recertification program for the Buffalo Island Partnership, which includes the cities of Monette, Black Oak, Leachville and Caraway. The program will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at the First Baptist Church, in Monette, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Mayor Fletcher passed out copies of the city's dog ordinance, 2004-4 and Revision 2002-4, section 9, and advised council members to review and come back in June to make a decision on any new revisions.

"We need to build a little flexibility into this, while still insuring the safety of the people in the city," Fletcher said.

"If a dog has been vaccinated and the owners have been following the leash law, and the dog hasn't bitten anyone before...then we can work with them," Councilman Ernestine Harrell said. "Unfortunately this is not in every case."

"The owners have to bear the responsibility for their animals," Fletcher said.

"Physicians must have a copy of the police report immediately, we have found out," Suber said. "The recent dog bite victim has not been released from Dr. Parten yet. This is a bad experience to go through, for anyone. We have to take a closer look at our ordinance, and make sure it meets our needs."

Alderman Harrell reported the city had received a check for $41,000 for the first park grant.

"We are close to being finished with this grant," Harrell said.

"Our goal is to achieve the total reimbursement," Fletcher said. "This goes back to the general fund, not the ball park account. Our goal is to prepare for the next grant. Workers are to be complimented for their work on the park."

Alderman Suber inquired about the feasibility of combining the newly proposed girl's softball field with the cities third field.

"George Edd (Holland) said they were definitely not interested," Harrell said. "It would be good for everyone involved, but we can't do it if they are not interested."

"Is that the opinion of Holland or the school board?" Alderman Carroll asked. "Has anyone talked to the school board? It could be wonderful if something positive could be developed between the council and board. This could be a real good opportunity for everyone concerned."

"We have not approached the school board (BIC) at a meeting," Fletcher said. "But we can do it if it would help. It could be approached with a workable plan. We first, need to establish some kind of dialogue."

"We need to do something soon, as Wayne Menley is working on the third field," Harrell said.

"We also need to do a dedication at the park," Harrell said.

"We need to do a fish fry or some meal to show our appreciation for the Monette Youth Association," Sparkman said.

"If the MYA can't find time to have a meeting, I doubt that they can find time to do a meal right now," Harrell said.

Harrell reviewed the monthly MYA report and their recent audit performed by Despain, Luther, Short and Company, of Jonesboro.

"They didn't do an in-depth audit and did not express an opinion," Harrell said. "They did an audit of applying agreed-upon procedures, for 2004-2005."

Harrell reviewed the report with the council.

"The 2004-2005 bank statements are not available, and there are a few discrepancies," Harrell said. "They need to do an end of year report. The secretary and treasurer need to follow recommendations of their by-laws. It is important that they keep all minutes of meetings."

"They have bought a filing cabinet and are keeping their records," Carroll said. "They are improving with record keeping all the time."

"This is a big deal and they have been inexperienced before now," Fletcher said. "This audit is used as a training device, and it will help."

"We are helping and not being ugly about it," Harrell said.

"It will take time to get it right, and they are trying to do that," Carroll said.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on May 22, at 7 p.m. at Monette city hall.

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