Manila city council still waiting to hear about fire station grant

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Manila City Council reviewed the budget, heard updates on fire station grant, airport lighting grant, health insurance, property clean-up and took no action on a request from a Manila citizen on damages to a vehicle at the July meeting held on Monday evening.

Manila Mayor Clifford Veach informed council members he had talked to a representative from the Department of Agriculture about a grant for a new fire station.

"It will be in August before we hear anything," Mayor Veach said. "I was informed there is quite a list of applications and we are number five on the list. He didn't see any problems but we will not know for awhile."

Veach also said the two insurance providers the city had been talking to did not work out. He said one declined to insure elected officials and the other premiums were higher than what the city is paying now through the Municipal League.

The city was informed recently that insurance premiums would be going up from $370.25 per person per month to $491.25. The city has had a high rate of claims over the last six months totaling $622,049.

Veach recommended the city continue as is and look at it again the first of the year.

The council voted unanimously 5-0 to accept Mayor Veach's recommendation.

Present for the meeting were Council members Larry Davis, Linda Donovan, Gaylon Gammill, LeRoy Douglas and Dwight Booth.

Manila citizen Kevin Jolliff was present at the council meeting requesting the city pay for damages to his truck. Jolliff was at the June meeting submitting three estimates. Jolliff said the damages happened when the city's mower threw "something" while he was driving by the Herman Davis Park.

The three estimates submitted ranged from $741 to over $1,000.

Councilman Davis said he failed to see that kind of damage to the truck and the bids seem to be inflated.

"I understand Mr. Jolliff wants his truck fixed, but I fail to see that kind of damage," Davis said.

Councilman Douglas said he saw damage on both sides, equally. I fail to see how a mower did that damage."

"It happened," Jolliff said. "I did not make up these estimates. There are no dents on the other side."

Councilman Gammill said he had a problem with an individual saying to one group it did not happen and to Kevin it did. He said he did not see enough proof. Councilman Donovan said she agreed with Gammill on the burden of proof.

"All vehicles have some scratches," Jolliff said. "My truck has never been wrecked and I would like it fixed."

"I have somewhat of a problem not being sure our mower did the damage," Douglas said. "I am reluctant to spend taxpayers' money not knowing for sure."

"If the lawn mower did not throw a rock or whatever on my truck, I would not be here," Jolliff said.

Superintendent Henry Ford said the city employee said if he did it he did not know it.

"He knows he did it," Jolliff said. "When I pulled in to my mother's drive he was looking at me and I went back. If anything ever happens again I'll get a police report. I guess a man's word is not worth crap anymore. He (the employee) apologized to me for it. He knew he did it."

Councilman Gammill suggested if more information or proof is provided, the issue can be revisited. No action was taken.

"I've got the proof on the side of my truck," Jolliff said.

Police Chief Jackie Hill updated the council on the city's clean-up efforts. He said the two properties cited into court have made progress.

"Since progress is being made, the judge gave them more time," Hill said. "He said one property on Highway 18 is working on it. Also, a burned house has been cleaned up and a mobile home has been moved in."

Hill said over all progress is being made.

In other business:

*Mayor Veach said he and Councilman Davis met with David Hopkins, engineer for the airport lighting project, and the man who received the bid for the work. Veach said it may be November before work begins.

*Mayor Veach said he had scheduled Fire Chief Jerry Hitchcock on the agenda but he was not there. Veach said Hitchcock had a name for a trained fire fighter to recommend for the volunteer fire department.

"We will hold off on this until he can be here," Veach said.

*The Council passed an ordinance exempting the city from having to put shields on the street lights. Attorney Wayne Wagner explained that after the Shield Light Ordinance was put into law, it was discovered the excessive cost burden on small towns and the ordinance was created for small towns to opt out.

*The council voted for codification of city ordinances. Veach explained the ordinances would be organized and updated by a group of professionals at an estimated cost of $3,600. Veach said a lot of time is spent researching ordinances and the codification would be helpful to the present and future city council members.

*Veach said he had been talking with an engineer group about the flood plain zones in the city.

"We have some places listed in flood plains that should not be," Veach said. "We have people in this town paying higher insurance premiums because of the flood zones."

Veach said he will have a proposal on the work needed by the next meeting.

*Mayor Veach said he has had several complaints in the last few weeks about loud vehicles and boom boxes late at night.

"We need to declare war on loud vehicles and boom boxes," Veach said. "I suggested to Chief Hill we stop this."

Chief Hill said he had passed the information on to the night officers and citations had been issued.

*Mayor Veach and council members reviewed the budget comparison. Veach said for the most part everything is on target for the year.

*Councilman Gammill asked what is legal action for private citizens regarding the black bird problem. Councilman Davis said he tried using a loud cannon but the birds came right back. Attorney Wagner said it would be a good idea to contact the police department and let them do any shooting inside the city limits.

The Manila City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday night of each month at city hall.

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