Leachville Council tables property annexation

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Leachville aldermen discussed annexation of property north of town for new business development, but the decision was tabled in order to give the city time to discuss future development in the area.

Eddie Adams requested annexation for an acre of land adjacent to the Dollar General Store on Highway 119 north of the city, which has been purchased by Chris Morgan. Adams and other partners are planning construction of a new barbeque restaurant and will need all utilities, including water and sewer service.

"Water and sewer already exist next door, and joins the acre we want to develop," Adams said. "If we were annexed into the city, then all you would need to do is run water and sewer over a few feet to the front of our property so we could do our plumbing and hook on."

The decision was tabled after the council discussed concerns for future development in the area, and possible need for a lift station if the adjoining acreage was developed one lot at a time. The council referred the issue to their city attorney Chris Jester, of Jonesboro, for closer review.

City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith announced all actual outstanding federal taxes had been paid by the City of Leachville.

"We are waiting to find out about the penalties and interest owed," said Keith. "We should know something by the end of July. This information will come from Marion Berry's office. Then we start paying state taxes. We haven't heard from them since 2006."

Police Chief Bryan Crites discussed the city's participation in a pilot district court program allowing district judges to hear certain Circuit Court cases. Half of the cost is to be paid by the state, with the other half paid for by the county and municipalities.

"Under the proposed plan the program would cover district court cases in Blytheville, Dell, Leachville, and Manila and with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department in the northern half of the county," Crites said. "The new program is to take effect Jan. 1, 2008."

The Leachville council approved a two-year contract to house city prisoners at the Mississippi County Detention Center in Luxora. The city agreed to pay $30 a day for housing of prisoners.

Department reports included: Rebecca Clowers, Water Department; Chief Bryan Crites, Police Department; and Teresa Johnson, Fire Department. No one was present from the Street Department.

The bill for the citywide clean up was listed as $4,701, which included use of 17 dumpsters. The Leachville Industrial Development Commission has agreed to pay for dumpsters and land fill charges.

Alderman Teresa Johnson will have the total Fire Department report ready by Thursday, July 12.

In other business:

The council voted to amend resolution 2007-1, concerning the sale of city-owned property on Second and Main Streets, deciding instead to accept sealed bids for purchase. Advertisements will be placed in area papers for 30 days. The minimum bid reserve was set at $5,000.

Jerrod Price reported plans for the upcoming Leachville Watermelon Festival, set for July 28.

"People have expressed to me that they want to see the festival brought back," Price said. "We already have 15 vendors ready to set up on Main Street. Former Leachville classmates are coming back to help with the celebration. We have set up a website to be linked to the Leachville High School site (http://www.angelfire.com/ar3/leachvillelions/)."

"The festival will run from 9 a.m. on Saturday until 10 or 11 p.m. downtown," he said. "There will be entertainment all day."

The council voted to pay Doug Masters $600 for serving as entertainment supervisor throughout the day and provide sound equipment. A 20x20' stage for the event will be placed on Main Street, which will be blocked off to through traffic throughout the day.

The council voted to purchase new batteries for the city-owned golf cart used to read water meters. The cost of the batteries is estimated at $520.

The acquisition of 96-gallon capacity trash containers for city residential use was discussed, but no decision was made.

Mayor Sheila Spurlock reported a pilot study is being made about cost to produce city water and sell it to the Rural Water Association.

"So far we have found that it costs us $1.98 to produce 1,000 gallons of water," Spurlock said. "We sell it to Rural Water for $1.50. We are currently working on our cost analysis. We will know more about the current facts, with new well, when our study is completed."

The council voted to create a Water Tower Debt Reserve Account for payments on the town's new water tower. The initial account will be opened with $10,000, and $700 will be deposited each month.

Mayor Spurlock expressed her appreciation for the group of individuals who purchased fireworks and organized a Fourth of July display for the public to enjoy.

"It is community involvement like this that make Leachville a special place to live," she said.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Aug.13 at city hall.

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