Town Crier News Staff
The Leachville City Council scrutinized department reports Monday, May 14, in AN effort to monitor spending and pay back their tax liability.
Monthly reports were given by Dickie Coburn, streets; Rebecca Clowers, water; Bryan Crites, police; and Teresa Johnson, fire and First Responders.
Mayor Sheila Spurlock reported the city had paid $174,936.46 on back taxes, leaving a balance of $52,469.27.
"We can realistically have these taxes paid off by the end of the year," Spurlock said.
"This has been dragged on for four years," Alderman Bruce Wilson said. "We are determined to get it taken care of so we can move on."
"We can pay $32,037 next Thursday," City Treasurer Ruth Ann Keith said. "Then we will only owe $20,430.89 for our last payment."
The council discussed street repairs and how to widen the street to the post office.
"We could cut out the street and use slag to fill and then come back with cold mix later," Coburn said.
The council voted to buy a new Bush Hog mower at $2,175.
Clowers reviewed the deposits made into Revenue Operations and Maintenance as well as the Construction Account.
"We need the use of real numbers in the report," Wilson said. "We want reports on all accounts every month."
"Everything is deposited into the Water Revenue Department Account," Clowers said.
Police chief Bryan Crites reported $6,896 in fine monies turned over to the General Fund in April. Animal Control funds collected were $100. Jail fees for April totaled $1,190.
"We ordered two bullet proof vests from Arkansas Police Supply to be reimbursed 50 percent by the BVP of Department of Justice," Crites said. "A Watch Guard video for $675 and $1,256.43 to install lights on two cars came out of the incentive award money obtained from the Criminal Justice Institute."
Crites also reported 12 criminal felony arrests had been made in April and 26 criminal misdemeanors.
Police Department expenses included $264.96 and animal control expenses of $496.12.
The council discussed jail fees and how to deal with the rising cost.
"Sheriff Leroy Meadows is bending over backwards to help us," Crites said.
Teresa Johnson reviewed the Fire Department report with CD balances listed at $46,945.82; checking account $844.23; and savings account balance of $2,985.26.
"We responded to one fire call," Johnson said. "The First Responders responded to 10. We have started First Responders recertification and entry level classes. We completed a fund raiser for Nicole Poe raising $680."
Alderman Johnny Hawkins reported complaints of trucks being parked on main street, close to the intersection, blocking the view.
"We are looking at seeking a four-way stop or moving back the stop," Mayor Spurlock said. "We should voice our concern to Rodney (Robertson) about his trucks, as he has always been agreeable to help before."
"There are other delivery people parking there, also," Marilyn Looney said.
"South bound traffic is the problem," Crites said. "We'll check it out and get back with the council."
Employee drug testing program was finalized. All current employees, as well as new employees, will receive a hair sampling test. All employees having an incident or accident will receive a hair sampling test. Random drug urine tests will be given every month thereafter.
Leachville beautician Sue Wilson volunteered to undergo training to be a hair sample collector.
"I think training someone locally is a good idea," John Stone said. "That way they will not have to travel to Paragould or Jonesboro for the test."
"If an employee tests positive, he or she will be terminated," Spurlock said. "The testing will be done at city hall."
Any employees refusing drug testing will be dismissed.
After several years of work on the employee handbook, the council voted to adopt all portions of the book. It is currently in effect.
City-wide clean up will be held May 29 through June 3. Dumpsters will be set up at the street department shop with employees on duty from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Anyone needing help should call city hall. Dumping is free. The Leachville Industrial Development is paying for the cost.
Mayor Spurlock announced Buffalo Island Ambulance service has been sold to Emerson of Jonesboro. Leachville will have full service from Emerson and Medic One.
Looney reported on the Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
Rodney Robertson inquired about a lot on the south side of city hall, owned by the city. He has plans to put in a barbecue place and needs more space for a drive through.
Council tabled the decision to sell until more information can be obtained.