Town Crier News Staff
Manila Mayor Clifford Veach announced at the September council meeting he had received word from U.S. Rep. Marion Berry's office the city would receive a grant for $85,000 for a new fire station.
The funds will come through $443,500 in Economic Impact Grants awarded to 10 cities in Arkansas' First Congressional District. The funds are provided through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development's Community Facilities Program and are aimed at improving public safety, health care and training services.
"I haven't heard from the Rural Development yet. As soon as we hear from them, we will go to work," Veach said. "It may be possible to start construction this fall. I will try to have some plans together by the next meeting."
Veach and council members reviewed the budget comparison.
"All in all, it looks good at this point," Veach said. "We may have to make a few amendments later. I have never gone through a year when we have not had to make a few adjustments."
Police Chief Jackie Hill reported on the property clean up saying it is going well.
"One person is tearing down an old house with the approval of the judge," Hill said.
Hill said tickets are still being written for loud vehicles. He also reported the loitering problem had lessened.
Veach asked if anyone had seen the airplane spraying for mosquitoes on Saturday night. "He sent me the spray pattern," Veach said. "I talked to Tim this afternoon and according to his results the West Nile carrying mosquitoes were killed by the spray and the rice mosquito population was down. We will not know for sure until after the traps are checked."
Veach said the cost was more than anticipated because a larger area was sprayed including the annexed areas.
"I will let you know when I get the results of his testing," Veach said. "Then we can decide if we want to have it sprayed again. I did tell him I was dissatisfied with the fact they did not let us know when they were going to spray."
City Attorney Wayne Wagner updated the council on the progress of Joni Isebell's discrimination claim against the city.
"The mediation turned out to no avail," Wagner said. "The next step in the procedure would be for the courts to determine if an investigation is required. If an investigation into the claims is necessary then both sides will give their statements to the court and someone will come to Manila to take statements. After the investigation, a judge will make a decision on the matter. According to what they are telling me in Little Rock, we are still a ways from a decision."
Mayor Veach said he was trying to keep addresses the same in the new annexed area but the clerk's office is having problems with the four number addresses.
"I told them I did not want to change anyone's addresses until the first of the year," Veach said.
Veach said the clerks were busy with the election on Tuesday and told him to call them after the election is over.
Veach presented a copy of a letter he is preparing to send to the residents in the newly annexed area telling them what they can expect from the city.
Councilman Dwight Booth said the new residents need to be reminded they are eligible for weather radios at half price.
Veach said someone had suggested the renaming of South County Road (part of the newly annexed area) to Paul Robbins Lane.
"Mr. Robbins lives there and has been a prominent person in town for a long time," Veach said. "If no one has any objections I would like to see the street named Paul Robbins Lane. He has done a lot of gratis work for the community and I can't think of anyone more deserving."
The council agreed unanimously to name the street after Mr. Robbins.
Veach said the council would need to look into zoning in the future.
"I think anything on Highway 18 should be zoned residential or commercial," Veach said. "Any business already in the area would be grandfathered in. We will look at this later."
Veach said he had been approached by four individuals about street paving.
"All are short sections -- Teal Point, Morris, Farmers, and Wise apartments," Veach said. "With the oil price increase, the cost of paving increased. With the price of oil down, it might be the time to look into paving."
Council approved getting bids for street paving.
In other business:
*Mayor Veach said he had not accepted the city maps due to the fact areas in the city were omitted. He said a new map has been approved and he assumes it is being reprinted.
*The council agreed to give Kevin Jolliff $250 for damage to his pick-up truck. Jolliff claimed the city mower damaged his truck by throwing debris on it while he was driving by the Herman Davis Park.
*Charolette Wagner, candidate for State Representative, spoke briefly to the council informing them of a caravan tour of democratic candidates who will be touring the county on Saturday. She said they plan to be at the chili cook-off at 11:30 a.m.