Monette citizen questions three wheeler legality

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Town Crier News Staff

Monette councilmen addressed several controversial issues during regular session Monday evening, Oct. 23, at the Municipal Complex.

Monette citizen Anna Clark addressed the council concerning the alleged treatment of her grandson Ross Clark, 14, Buffalo Island Central student.

"I want to know why Ross is not permitted to ride his three wheeler to the ball game, when George Edd Holland (BIC Superintendent) and the Chief of Police (Brian Carmichael) says he can?" said Clark.

"Everyone likes to call the mayor and complain when they know it is not legal to be on the street with those ATVs," Mayor David Fletcher said. "I followed him (Ross) home. He didn't go down the turn rows. This is a safety issue. Using the turn rows can be okay with state statutes, but his is abusing it."

"Ross does not have a driver's license, yet he drives a vehicle without an adult present," said Carmichael.

"There are a lot of people at the BIC gym," Fletcher said. "The ATV can be wrecked easily. Who's responsibility is it? If we allowed Ross to ride his three wheeler then we would have to allow everyone else to do it."

"I see kids up town all the time on them," Clark said.

"And when we see them we write a citation," Carmichael said.

"We are trying to stop it before someone gets killed," said Fletcher. "We are not singling out Ross."

"It sure seems like you are," Clark said. "He okayed it with Bryan and George Edd beforehand."

"That was before the street incident," said Carmichael.

"Ross is driving an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle," said Fletcher.

"I disagree," said Clark. "Getting to school is not a sporting event."

"We couldn't let all the students ride ATVs to ball games," said Fletcher. "I question anyone without a license on the street, and not to a ball game."

"Ross was run off from the city park and it was made for kids," Clark said. "Another kid had got in trouble and you ran Ross off too."

"The law says that certain privilege licenses are to only allow students to go to school and back and not into city or town," said Fletcher. "Our ordinance says to keep them off the city streets. It is an ATV, and is not to be used for public transportation."

"You have two board members that ride them on the street," said Clark.

"And they have learned a lot through this incident," said Fletcher.

"Other people ride up and down the street," said Clark. "I know that Ross is not above the law, but his isn't fair."

"Ross can't do it," said Fletcher. "We have to keep an eye on him and try to keep him safe. He was coming down the road, faster one way than I was driving down. It is against the law. My job is to make sure the police do their jobs. I tell them that if they don't do their jobs, I'll find someone who will."

"You don't have the right to tell the police to go down there and write him a ticket, when they didn't see it happen," Clark said.

"Ross Clark was not written a ticket by police, just given a warning," said Carmichael.

No action was taken on the complaint.

Other city business included:

*Alderman Ernestine Harrell announced plans for the city to decorate the Highway 18/139 intersection with a large tree donated by Chub Qualls, wreath at city hall, and special lighting for the holidays.

"We did not get our Rural Grant, but plan to reapply," Harrell said.

The council voted unanimously to reapply.

Mayor Fletcher and Qualls agreed to shop for trees to use in the intersection project. Fifteen hundred dollars was approved for placement in the City Beautification Account to use for purchase of trees.

*Alderman Joyce Reed inquired about placement of surveillance cameras for safety of property and landscaping at intersection. An agreement was reached to shop for a security package system.

*Harrell reviewed the report received from the Monette Youth Association. Funds in the general account were listed at $10,381.59, and sign project account as $850. Newly elected officers include: Billy Watson, president; Michael McFarlin, vice president; Kristi Wildy, secretary; Nikki Dewitt, treasurer; Rozanne Keiter, concession director; Chuck Brown, gate director; David Clark, field director; Todd Emison, equipment director; and Tina Matheny, fund-raising director.

The council approved the new officers as presented.

*Mayor Fletcher addressed the need to replace second police car at the first of the year.

"We need to be looking and consider ordering now," Fletcher said. "Bryan has done some investigation as to pricing, and budget for it."

"Our old car has nothing on it, but is still usable for a back-up," said Alderman Tom Carroll.

Police Chief Carmichael gave a review of pricing on three vehicles, a 2006 Ford, a Crown Vic, and a Dodge Charger. No price listing was listed for a Chevrolet.

"I would like to try the Dodge, as we have been told they hold up good," Carmichael said.

"Has anyone had one long enough to know how they hold up?" asked Alderman Carroll.

"No," said Carmichael.

"It seems like everyone has their own preference," said Fletcher.

"The ones I listed all have a police package," said Carmichael. "Leachville is using a Dodge now."

The council voted to table the decision to purchase a vehicle until more information is obtained by Chief Carmichael.

*The council approved Ordinance 2006-2 to retain the current cable provider franchise effective Jan. 1, 2007.

*Nine full time employee bonuses were approved for $300 each, with $150 for the three part-time employees.

*Alderman Steve Suber inquired about purchasing a new mower for the city, at an estimated cost of 8 or 9 thousand dollars.

After a brief discussion the council agreed to let the decision slide another month and review the budget and general fund money. The decision was tabled.

*Chub Qualls reported on the old "Mallard Landing" building, for use as a city museum.

"David and Karen Wallace, owners, will be ready to sign the property over by Jan. 1, 2007," Qualls said. "We have estimated that it will take $675 for repairs. I will check with Roma Harper, a member of the museum committee, and see if they have any money in their account for repair. We need to do temporary repairs to keep from doing any more damage."

Decision to do repairs was tabled until the next meeting.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is set for Nov.27, at 7 p.m. at Monette City Hall.

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