New fire station in Manila's near future

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Town Crier News Staff

Manila City Council members passed a resolution Monday evening stating the city accepted grant funds which would not exceed $85,000 and would take all actions necessary to complete the proposed fire station project.

"We have heard from everyone on the grant," Manila Mayor Clifford Veach said. "A lot of work has been done between Rural Development and me since the last meeting."

The grant will be provided through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development's Community Facilities Program.

"It looks like construction will begin after the first of year," Veach said. "By them giving us $85,000, they will have a say on how things are done, as with all grants. They look out for the taxpayers and want to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. I expect it to be a good project."

Veach said other funding for the project will come from several sources, including the city.

He had talked to several people in the newly annexed area and to people at the courthouse office and was told they will be able to vote in the November general election. Addresses of some voters in the new area of the city will change. The first digit in the four-digit addresses may have the first digit dropped to keep everything straight with the county's 911 system.

"It is a problem when you have to change addresses but I haven't talked to anyone who has been upset about it," Veach said. "The clerk's office will be sending out cards before the election notifying voters of the changes."

The council voted to accept the low bid of A-State Asphalting at $62 per ton.

"A-State has done work for the city before," Veach said.

Three bids, Delta Asphalt, White County Paving and A-State, were opened on Oct. 10.

Veach said the prices include set-up.

Council voted unanimously to adopt a street in the area being developed by Junior Wise. The area is east of Olympia Street.

"Wise has been a good developer for the city," Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said.

Davis made the motion to adopt the streets located in the city limits.

Members of the Jim Henry family were present at the council meeting to address a mobile home moved into an area near their home and their daughters' home on Olympia Street. They expressed concerns on the mobile home being in a possible code violation according to city Ordinance 175. The ordinance states a mobile home must be occupied by the owner as well as set-up guidelines. It cannot be used as rental property.

City Attorney Wayne Wagner said he, along with code enforcement officer Fred Burks and Police Chief Jackie Hill, would look into the matter and report their findings to the city council at the next meeting.

Mr. Henry asked each council member to drive by and look at the mobile home.

Wagner commented the city cannot do anything until the ordinance is violated.

"He has three lots left where the old gin lot was located," Veach said. "He made an offer to sell the lots to the city or the depot center for $35,000."

The council voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of Manila Fire Chief Jerry Hitchcock to accept George Starkey, Jr. on the Manila Fire Department.

Mayor Veach reviewed the city budget comparison with council members saying all departments were still running good. Veach did commend the police department for doing a good job keeping expenses inside the budget.

Veach said the city had paid for mosquito spray in the amount of $1,800.

"I have seen a lot of mosquitoes still around," Veach said. "We will be out of the season soon. This company may be the way but it would be an expensive way. We will have to talk to the people about it and get some input."

City Attorney Wagner informed the council the city had been notified that former police officer Joni Isbell's claim had been denied.

"After we received word from the Labor Board in Little Rock her claim had been denied, I received a letter from her attorney wanting to know if we would be willing to make a counter offer. My initial response to them was without the city council authorizing me I have no counter offer. The offer we made in Little Rock was all I was authorized to do."

"We offered her a month's salary and they wanted $50,000," Veach said. "In the letter Wayne received they dropped it to $40,000 and wanted a counter offer from us. It is up to the council to decide."

No action was taken.

Mayor Veach announced early voting for the Nov. 7 general election will be held at the fire station in Manila Oct. 23-28, and Oct. 30-Nov. 4 in Leachville at the Arkansas Northeastern College. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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