Manila approved for fire station

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Mayor Clifford Veach informed city council members, during the regular August meeting, he had been notified of the approval for a new fire station.

"We may be looking at bids by next month's meeting," Mayor Veach said.

Veach also updated the council on the status of the lawsuit by the Buffalo Island Rural Water District.

Council members voted in January to raise the rates of water sold to the rural water district from $1.50 per 1,000 gallons to $2.

Buffalo Island Rural Water Board filed a lawsuit claiming Manila had not proven the increase in the cost which goes against the original contract and the district discontinued purchasing water from Manila.

"Henry (Henry Ford, Manila water superintendent), our two attorneys and I met with their attorneys, other mayors and members of their board," Veach said. "We had a long discussion on rates. We have agreed to allow them to use our water and pay us $1.50 per 1,000 gallons with 50 cents placed in escrow until the issue has been settled. So far they have not used our water. It is my understanding all cities have done a cost analysis and everyone is within a narrow margin of cost. We will just wait and see what happens."

The council discussed with Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill about scheduling of police officers. Manila presently has four full time officers (including Chief Hill) and one part-time officer. One option discussed was a rotation with 12 hour shifts, giving officers four days on and four days off.

Councilman Donnie Wagner said he had worked the rotation.

"We need to be looking at options to keep Chief Hill on the day shift," Wagner said.

Mayor Veach said he received a letter from Judge Steve McGuire announcing Saturday, Sept. 8, as clean-up day throughout Mississippi County. Landfill fees will be reduced during the clean-up day.

Mayor Veach read a letter recommending two appointments for two new Commissioners on the Housing Authority Board, Iris Poteet and Tony Bunch. Veach explained the Housing Authority recommends the appointments submitting names to city officials for approval.

The Board voted 5-1 (Councilman Dean Cherry voted no) for Ms. Poteet. Cherry said he did not know the person.

Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis asked if Bunch was a resident of the Housing Authority and if it would be a conflict of interest to be a resident and serve on the board. Councilman LeRoy Douglas said it would be a good idea to talk to Juanita Blevins (housing authority director) before voting. The board tabled the vote for approval until next month's meeting.

Mayor Veach said he had hoped to have figures for an outdoor, seasonal swimming pool from ETC engineers and architects in time for the August meeting but "evidently it will be next month."

Veach told the council he has been thinking about the city building a youth center with a skating rink and game room.

"We are always hearing complaints there is nothing for the young people to do," Veach said. "I think we've got the money to build the building. Hopefully, we can get the schools and the churches involved. I'm talking about doing this without a tax increase."

Veach asked the council to think about the project. He said it could be located near the Community Center. He said he will have figures and a drawing for a 60x150 foot building for the council to review.

In other business:

*The council voted unanimously to leave the millage rate at 4.0. Veach said the council has a legal right to go to 5 mills but he recommended leaving the millage at 4.0.

*Mayor Veach reviewed the budget comparisons for the year.

*Councilman Dwight Booth asked about getting rid of city vehicles not in use to save money on service and upkeep. Veach said one had been sold and two more will be sold.

*Mayor Veach said he is getting information on the 2010 Census.

"This will require a lot of time, "Veach said. "We need to be looking for someone to work. It is very important we get every citizen counted. It is good for the residents and it is good for the city."

*Councilman Cherry reported a traffic problem with people driving too fast down the one way street near the school.

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