Fletcher won't seek re-election

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Monette city council met in regular session on Monday evening, July 24. Mayor David Fletcher announced his plans not to run for office again, after serving eight years as the chief administrator. The council worked through a short agenda consisting of report on National Night Out, park grant and changes in dog leash ordinance.

"I have enjoyed my work in Monette as your mayor," Fletcher said. "I have appreciated the opportunities that it has brought, but it is time for me to take a break and do other things. At this time in my life, I want to do other things. I will soon be 65, just before I leave office, and want to have some time and do some traveling. This has been my life for eight years and I have devoted myself to it, now it is time to do other things."

The council verbally expressed their appreciation for his service as Mayor.

Monette Chief of Police Brian Carmichael reported on plans for the city's observance of National Night Out, scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Aug. 1, at the city park.

"We have put flyers out all over town to invite people to the Night Out," Carmichael said. "We have 620 hot dogs and 320 hamburgers ready to cook. We will give away DVD players and basketballs also. There will new games, basketball shooting, limbo contest, sack races, face painting, inflatable rides and karaoke.

"Last year was great, but this year is going to be even better," he said.

Alderman Ernestine Harrell passed out responses to park grant misinterpretation and read it to the council.

"There had been a rumor that the city had received a $225,000 grant several months ago and three weeks after they got it they had their matching part of $112,500 and have just been sitting on it," Harrell said. "The fact is the city did receive the grant and we have $32,398.02 in the Sports Grant Fund as of 7-30-06. We are hoping to collect about $28,000 more from Parks and Tourism on our first grant but some of that will go into the General Fund. We should have something over $40,000 for this second grant but that is not the $112,500 that we will need."

Harrell said the city has not started on the grant because they can't. The entire project has to be engineered. Some work will have to be advertised.

Mayor Fletcher led the council in a discussion about changes in the dog ordinance regarding bites. Councilman Steve Suber has been researching changes to the ordinance's section 9, to make sure dogs are kept in supervised confinement and owners are made to be accountable. He referred to an ordinance example from the City of Jonesboro.

"Our current ordinance gives flexibility for, while the new revisions are more ridged," Fletcher said.

The new ordinance requires the biting dog be taken to a designated pet clinic for observation during confinement period.

"Jonesboro has a veterinarian in town," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "We don't. We would have to impound the dog if it was on a weekend. If we keep it here a couple of days should we keep it the whole time?"

"At the point of the bite we secure the animal and see if it has rabies," Fletcher said. "You wouldn't want dogs confined if they were already confined, broke free, ran out of the house and nipped someone across the street."

"My concern is not having an option to impound locally," Carroll said. "We could hold them here and then deal with a vet on it."

"If our changes in the ordinance are too specific, then you will have to treat a family pet just like you would a stray that came in out of the country," Fletcher said. "The concerned part with the old ordinance is returning the dog to the family rather than going to a vet hospital or impounding it here."

"If the city has to pay the vet, then who cares," Suber said. "The important thing is not ending up endangering people. I could see that we might need two clauses, for family pets and strays."

"We still need options on where the animal is secured," Carroll said. "We might add the city pound or vet hospital. We might also make clauses for vaccinated or unvaccinated animals. I don't think we should ever consider putting an unvaccinated dog in our pins."

"I will be glad to look at other dog bite ordinances and the addition of two clauses," Suber said. "We have to do something about this and not just let it go."

Other business:

*Passed Ordinance 2006-1 not to comply with Act 11, 2006, House Bill requiring the city to provide shielding lighting, due to prohibitive cost.

*The council discussed need for cleaning and improvements to several properties in the city. On the list for improvements were 606 Texie, 400 Texie, northeast corner of Stewart and Honis, and properties needing to cut back brush at intersection.

*The home of Judy Hubble has been chosen as July Yard of The Month.

*Monette Youth Association general fund was reported with a $11,558.20 balance, as of July 21, and the sign account balance is $2,650.

*A city mower committee was formed to price equipment. Committee included Mayor Fletcher, and aldermen Carroll and Suber.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 28, in the Municipal Complex.

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