Town Crier News Staff
The construction of a swimming pool was the topic of a special called Manila City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 3.
Mayor Clifford Veach called the special meeting to give council members the opportunity to review bond proposals and review cost estimates.
The council reviewed bond proposals from two companies, Morgan Keegen and Cruse Associates.
The Council looked closely at the option of constructing a seasonal pool with bathhouse at an estimated cost of $1,380,000. A one cent sales tax will be needed for the project to become a reality.
The city must meet all requirements in a timely manner to be able hold a special election to allow the citizens of Manila to decide on the one cent sales tax.
"If it passes we could get started on a pool right away," Veach said.
He also said if the tax starts in January and runs through 2019 there will be funding to pay off the swimming pool debt with the one cent sales tax. He said the city can get a good interest rate at 4.35 percent.
"We will need to have the bond ordinance ready to be passed at the regular September meeting, have the ordinance published and be ready for a special election," Veach said.
All of the council members were in favor of going forward with the tax ordinance and special election for the swimming pool project.
"Once the election is held, we will know what the majority of the people want," Councilman Leroy Douglas said. "I think we are going in the right direction."
Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said everything he has heard about a pool has been positive.
"Some people think they already voted for a pool," Councilman Donnie Wagner said.
"It was, but it just is not enough to get the project done. The 1/8 cent sales tax is still dedicated to a pool," Veach said.
This proposal is based on paying $175,000 a year from the one cent sales tax allowing the swimming pool to be built now and paid for over 10-12 years.
City Attorney Wayne Wagner suggested the council choose who they want to use for the bond issues and he will start the ordinance process.
The council voted unanimously to use Morgan Keegen.
The council agreed to hold a public meeting before the regular September meeting to get input and answer questions from the public. A public meeting will be held from 6-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17. The regular council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
"I think a swimming pool will be an asset to our town," Veach said. "If we can tie it into a youth recreation center it will be great for our community and the surrounding area. I'm excited about a swimming pool and a youth center. We have worked hard the last four or five years to save money and now we have enough to do something for our young people in the area."
In other business the council voted to accept an 80/20 grant at the Manila Airport for concrete repair work needed. The total cost of the project was estimated at $80,000 to $90,000.
Attorney Wagner updated the council on the pending lawsuit of Buffalo Island Rural Water Company. The lawsuit was filed when Manila raised the water rates from $1.50 to $2 per 1,000 gallons sold to the rural company.
"We have been in contact with the attorneys and we should hear a proposal by the end of the week. It appears what is being proposed will not hurt the City of Manila," Wagner said.
Mayor Veach recommended a motion for the appointment of Tony Bunch for board member of the Manila Housing Authority.
Councilman Whiz Davis again expressed his concern about a board member who is also a resident of the Housing Authority.
Davis made a motion to reject the appointment of Bunch. Dean Cherry and LeRoy Douglas abstained from voting with Donnie Wagner, Linda Donovan and Davis voting yes to reject the appointment. Councilman Dwight Booth was not present at the meeting.