Principal paid on Leachville back taxes

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

The Leachville City Council met in a lengthy session, Monday, Aug. 13, and discussed taxes, elevating the new water tower, and water rates.

Leachville Mayor Sheila Spurlock told the council the entire principal on the back taxes has been paid, leaving only the charges for penalties and interest left unpaid.

City Attorney Chris Jester has requested an adjustment on penalties.

"If we pay all the interest it will stop, but they charge us a late penalty when we make a partial payment," Spurlock said. "The longer we wait the more it will cost us. If our appeal fails and they give us a total figure we owe, then we may have to look at borrowing the money to pay it back."

"We need to get an estimate on late charges and penalties," Jester said.

The council discussed the cost of general insurance on Melody Theatre and the deductible rate.

"You may have to up the deductible and get a lower rate," Gilda Hultquist said.

Spurlock agreed to check on deductible and coverage rate and get back to council at the September meeting.

"We need to shop this around," Alderman Bruce Wilson said.

Department Secretary Rebecca Clowers was on hand to review the Water and Sewer report. The council advised her to consider transferring more funds into a high rate bearing interest fund, rather than let it remain in the checking account.

Police Chief Bryan Crites gave the July department report, listing income at $8,185. Five criminal felony arrests were made, one with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, three with possession of a controlled substance on second offenses, and one with possession of drug paraphernalia. Three criminal warrants were served, 13 criminal misdemeanor, 45 traffic contacts, and 17 criminal offenses.

"Why is it you can catch them one day and they are back on the street the next," Alderman Johnny Hawkins said.

"They make bond," Crites said. "That is the judicial system, and there's nothing we can do about it.

"After all you go through to catch them, I just don't understand it," Hawkins said.

The council discussed rural water rates.

"We have increased rates in town but not to rural water," City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith said. "It has been January 2002 since our last increase."

"That's not right," Wilson said. "City residents are paying for the difference. The rural water rate is already outdated"

"I don't ever want us to gouge, but rural water should pay us what it cost us to provide the water."

"We can go back and refigure what it cost us, using the 2007 figures," Spurlock said.

The council agreed to refigure the rates and have a special meeting to set costs.

City Engineer Wayne Menley addressed the council concerning the new water tower.

"We are 95 percent completed with Phoenix, with only site work to be done," Menley said. "The new tank is six to seven feet lower than the old tank which creates an overflow issue."

"Whose job is it to make the adjustments and make it work correctly?" John Stone asked.

"Mine," Menley said. "This time it will operate like it should. We have some options. This won't cost you all, but it will cost us. This is an issue of the operation of the system, not the water pressure. We can drop the water level in the old, lowering its capacity, or we can raise the new tank, or just add a vent."

After a brief discussion the council voted for plan two, raising the new water tank legs.

Roger Davis discussed water and sewer installation at his new subdivision south of town.

"We need sewer lines out there, and the citizens are willing to pay for the lines and the manholes," Davis said. "The property was annexed into the city in 1998."

No record of the annexation was recorded.

"The city has no obligation to do the work," Jester said. "The initial installation is not up to the city, but rather up to the land developer to do it."

"We are prepared to pay for all the material, if the city can help us where you can, as you have done in the past," Davis said.

"The way it has been done in the past is why we are in the shape we are in now," Alderman Tommy Stone said. "I want to help, but we need to have a policy on this."

"Where do we draw the line," Alderman John Stone said. "If we do it for one we have to do it for all. This could get costly for us, and we want to be fair."

"I am looking for help on this project," Davis said.

"He is not asking for much, just the labor that the city can do or can't do," Hultquist said. "This fits with the LIDC reuse plan and help with the infrastructure. This fits in two or three things."

"We are looking at the main infrastructure, like big sewer lines and man holes," Davis said.

"I support growth," Wilson said. "This is a bedroom community. I want to see the houses there. I think we should help as much as we can."

"The city needs to develop a policy on this," Jester said. "Right now the city is under no obligation."

The council agreed to include this issue at the special meeting on Aug. 23, at 6 p.m., to discuss water costs.

The city set Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and 8, for a fall city clean up, using 10 dumpsters. County tipping fees will be reduced by one half during this time.

The last clean up used 17 dumpsters and cost the city $4,700.

The city approved proposed annexation of the Rodney Robertson property north of town for use as a barbeque restaurant.

The council went into executive session to discuss the discipline of an employee. After reconvening the council agreed to eliminate use of all auxiliary police officers effective immediately.

Charles Lambert and Epter Lambert lodged informal harassment complaints against police officer Carle Treadway.

The council took no action.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at city hall.

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