Monette Council rejects BIWD proposed contract

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Discussions about pricing and contracts with the Buffalo Island Water District were the main topics of discussion during the Monette City council meeting on Monday, Sept. 24.

Mayor "Chub" Qualls reported Monette was in line with what the other four Buffalo Island mayors were charging for water, and they all had concerns.

"I am not pleased with the way the cost was presented to the rural water customers (Buffalo Island Regional Water)," Qualls said. "I expected this to be corrected, as it was misrepresentation. Their bills were raised $7, when our increases were only $2.50. They must have a big reserve out there. They also want us to increase our sales of water to them to 2 million gallons a month above the contract amount."

"They are making all the money and we (the cities) are looking like the bad guys," said Alderman Steve Strickland. "We have all the expenses plus pumping and filtering."

Water Supervisor David Moore reported the excess water would not allow 24 hours of storage at all times for the city.

"Their customers (BIRW) are pumping more water during hot months, and we can't pump any more water than we are now providing," Moore said. "This is unreasonable."

"Our water pumps are running 50 percent of the time and at times 75 percent," Qualls said. "It is impossible for us to provide more water. They want a five-year contract on this. We have spent $10,000 in the last four months alone to fix our water wells. We are actually losing money pumping water. We can run the water business more efficiently than they do."

"We would incur a $20,000 loss each year by selling them 24 million gallons of water more," said alderman Steve Suber.

"Our water would be orange, as we would not even have time to treat it," Moore said.

"Until further notice we can't agree with their (BIWD) proposed contract," Qualls said. "People out there (BIWD customers) are paying all they can pay now. I don't want to penalize them for this. We have to justify our cost and they should justify theirs."

Mayor Qualls reported the Annexation Study Committee met on Sept. 4 to study plans to expand the city's boundaries and will be meeting again soon.

"We are working on a description of what Monette has to offer the people who are currently living outside the city," Mayor Qualls said. "We want to be aware of all the pluses and minuses before we go to the people."

Mayor Qualls reported that Bobby Grisham and his employees, at no cost to the city, have cleared the trees and debris out of the path of the new street. The new street south of the Buffalo Island Central High School is to be named Edna Mae Way, after long-time educator Edna Mae Freeman. When completed next spring, the street will provide access westward to the new ball fields constructed by the city.

Alderman Byron Sparkman announced the annual Buffalo Island Yard Sale and Dollar Days will be held on Oct. 6 and is sponsored by Leadership Buffalo Island. Many local businesses will provide discount sales during that day in Monette and Leachville.

Clean-Up week will be held in Monette the following week, with curbside pick-up.

Mayor Qualls and the council commended Bill Bingham for his excellent work in keeping plants along main street watered all summer.

"The planters along the street and the intersection landscaping are a great asset to the looks of the town," Qualls said. "Bill is doing a great job and local residents and people passing through have taken notice and made comments.

"We have a new agri teacher at BIC (Bruce Fires) and we hope to get some help raising plants for our decorative pots downtown, instead of having to go to Jonesboro to buy them," Qualls said. "Perhaps we can work together on this. He is interested."

Alderman Joyce Read reported on a successful year in city beautification and discussed plans for Christmas decorations.

"We hope to have many more trees this year," Read said. "We have a lot of pre-lit trees. Committees will be working on plans for Christmas, with hopes of turning on the decorations on Thanksgiving night."

Fire Chief Bob Blankenship will be addressing the city council during the October meeting about plans to purchase of a new fire truck later this year.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael reported patrolman Jim Carpenter was currently in training to continue the work with the Eastern District drug dog "Vox." New officer Anthony Petty was in attendance at the meeting also.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on Oct. 22, beginning at 7 p.m.

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