Caraway council bans smoking/accepts bids

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

The Caraway City Council finalized the selling of Phase I city land, opened bids on equipment, and entered into a lengthy discussion about the enforcement of the city's no-smoking policy at the council meeting Thursday night.

Mayor Barry Riley vetoed the council's decision last month to sell the city property adjacent to the Basler addition, without first passing a resolution to do so.

After a brief discussion the council agreed that Mayor Riley's six items listed in the letter assurance to be sent to the city attorney, for approval. The first phase contains 2.6 acres divided into seven lots. These lots have already been surveyed by the city and will sell for 3.71 cents per square foot. The second phase will require a letter of assurance listing guidelines for use, minimum principal dwelling size, sewer agreement, no manufactured homes, time of completion and zone construction regulations.

Mayor Riley opened sealed bids for a Ransome mower, Green generator, dump truck, Crown Victoria car, and Jeep.

Lester Crow was awarded bids on the dump truck, for $137.77 and the Ransome mower for $87.77. Bob Simpkins was awarded the Cycle Mower at $355.99. Randy Couch was awarded the bid for the Green Generator at $161.

The reserve prices of $1,000 for the Crown Victoria car and $3,000 on the Jeep were not met. The council gave Mayor Riley the power to sell the Jeep for not less than $2,500, and the car for not less than $700.

Mayor Riley stated the State No-Smoking Policy for all city cabbed equipment, police cars, and city buildings. The council discussed levels of punishment for anyone breaking the law.

"It may seem harsh, to ban smoking, but we have to enforce the law," Riley said.

"The discussion tonight can go as a warning," said Alderman Bo James. "The city could push for more restrictions if it wanted to, like restricted smoking areas, or no smoking on city property."

"In an emergency situation, I'm not going to fire a man for smoking," said Police Chief Jerry Vaughn. "I had rather him smoke in my car, when I call him out on an emergency, than to take time to smoke outside the car rather than respond immediately."

"It is a state law that you can't smoke in a police car," Riley said.

"The mayors in other towns don't have any trouble with it," Vaughn said. "Lake City Mayor Billy Anderson lets Winfred (Saffell) go up and down the road smoking. Mayor Chub Qualls doesn't say anything, now he doesn't have any one who smokes either."

"Are you asking us to break the law?" asked James. "Jerry we can't fight a state law. Not only would the state fine someone $1,000 if they are caught smoking, but the city would get a $1,000 fine also."

"I'm just asking you for a little understanding," Vaughn said. "There are not going to be any state people out at 4 or 5 in the morning, when I was smoking."

"If someone caught Jerry, then you could address it at the time," said Jerry Murphy.

"These guys often smoke as a habit, and even forget they have done it," said Terry Couch.

"If I picked up every council person who ran a stop light or was found speeding, I would be fired," Vaughn said.

"You shouldn't ever get fired for doing your job," James said.

"Jerry, we are not looking to fire you, just making sure people obey the state law," Riley said.

The council voted to first give employees found smoking a verbal warning, then a written warning, and after the third offense they would be fired.

Mayor Riley discussed the need to develop a Policy and Procedure Handbook, with help from Jerry Vaughn on the department's payroll and vacation schedule. Riley handed out printed standards on police procedure.

"We need to get it all in a book," Riley said. "Most cities already have this. We need to get it ready by May."

Vaughn reminded the council about the 2002 agreement to extend police sick pay from 60 to 90 days, with the need to confirm in a resolution.

Alderman James asked Vaughn about the basketball goal on a city street. Vaughn said the owner had been advised to remove.

In other business:

*Council voted to purchase 10 new pagers for city firemen at $329 each, out of the Act 23 money.

*City will have a curb side clean up, but no date was set.

*Short executive session was held to discuss employee pay promotion. No decision was made at the conclusion of the session.

*Easter Egg Hunt set for April 2, at 1 p.m.

*Clean-Up day at the city cemetery on April 21, at 8 a.m.

*Discussion about painting the dress factory and the city barn. Mayor agreed to check on cost.

The next regular council meeting will be on April 12, beginning at 6 p.m.

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