Town Crier News Staff
Manila City Council members passed an enhancement committee resolution Monday at the March meeting, forming an advisory committee of five members. The committee will work with the council, mayor and chief of police in a city-wide clean-up effort.
Mayor Clifford Veach recommended Sonny Ashley, Bob Walton, Dan Gamble, Junior Wise, and Dennis Farmer to be appointed to serve on the newly formed committee.
Veach said he had talked to the proposed committee members and they had all agreed to serve if the council was in agreement.
"They have the same goal as we have -- to see Manila is cleaned up and a good place to live and raise a family," Mayor Veach said.
The council voted unanimously to appoint the five to start immediately. Their term will end Dec. 31, 2007, with future committee members serving one year terms.
Walton and Ashley were present at the meeting and said the group would meet within the week to organize. They said they would try to have at least one representative at future council meetings.
Council member Linda Donovan asked about moving up dates for the annual clean up in the city. In years past, residents have had the opportunity to clean-up and discard items at the city transfer station at no charge on Saturdays in May. The council agreed on the dates of April 21, 28 and the four Saturdays in May giving citizens six Saturdays for the clean-up project.
Council heard an update from Mayor Veach and City Attorney Wayne Wagner on the city park improvements.
"We are in the process of getting the park ready for spring and summer ball season. The high school softball and baseball teams have started the season and are playing their games at the ballpark," Wagner said. "Concrete aprons have been placed around the fence area and we will have a new T-ball field where the old swimming pool was. With the T-ball field we will have four fields. The next project will be to move over to the tennis court and playground area and spruce it up. We have bathrooms in working order and the youth association will try to keep the restrooms open and nice for the public. We have talked about some extra lighting. We will also be taking care of the walkers by rerouting the walking track."
One small area of the track will have to be moved to accommodate the extra field.
"We have some money to spend and I think spending it at the park is a worthy cause," Mayor Veach said. "Anything you (council members) come up with to enhance the park for our kids, I'm all for it."
Mayor Veach said Leachville is trying to work out something for animal control. He said he took the liberty to tell them they could bring their dogs to the Manila facility. He said they will be responsible for catching the animals, bringing them to Manila and cover any expense.
Council members had no objections to the temporary arrangement.
Councilman Dean Cherry talked about a problem with dogs in Manila.
Council members reviewed the existing ordinance on animals and agreed to have Attorney Wagner prepare an updated vicious dog ordinance.
"Most cities do have a vicious dog ordinance," Wagner said. "The existing ordinance can be amended to meet the wishes of the council."
Mayor Veach said a census map was being prepared adding the newly annexed areas of Manila.
"We have to update the map and submit before the census taken every decade," Veach said. "I asked Jerry Hitchcock to work on it. The deadline to have the updated map is in April."
Jason Mace has resigned from the Manila Police Department. Chief Hill recommended hiring Allen Ford part-time.
"He is not certified through the academy yet," Hill said. "He has worked as a reserve officer with the county."
Council had no objection to hiring Ford part-time.
Chief Hill also reported the Manila officers seemed to be pleased with the 12 hours shifts.
Veach also said he had met with the Arkansas Aeronautical Commission last week and the Manila Airport had been approved for a $21,000 grant for painting.
"The lighting project at the airport has been completed and I am very satisfied with the work," Veach said.
Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said the Mayor had tried to get the airport buildings included in the grant but it was refused.
"We will need to consider the work in the near future," Davis said.
"We will look at that project in the fall," Veach said. "We want to keep the airport nice."
Veach said the plan for a new fire station had been submitted by the city engineers.
"Once it is reviewed and approved, we should be able to begin," Veach said.
Mayor Veach also updated the council on the problems with the new sewer expansion.
"As I mentioned last meeting, we are having problems not meeting the limits," Veach said. "I have a meeting set for March 28 with the prime contractor, the sub contractor and a representative from Soil and Water. Hopefully, this can be resolved in this meeting without needing any further action."
During the budget review, Councilman Dwight Booth asked how many new CD's the city had invested in.
Veach said money had been put in CDs in the amount of $150,000 from general fund; $100,000 from the water fund; $50,000 for the airport fund; $30,000 from the swimming pool fund; and $20,000 from the water meter deposits.
"All in all we are in good shape," Veach said. "Next month we will have a quarter of the year behind us."
The Manila City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at city hall.