BIRWD requests 2,000,000 gallon increase from City of Leachville

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

The Leachville City Council discussed many water issues during the regular city council meeting on Monday evening, Oct. 8.

Mayor Sheila Spurlock reported the city would begin payments of $3,800 per month in October for the 30-year contract to pay for the new water tower, with another biannual payment of $17,000.

"I have good news," said City Engineer Wayne Menley. "We don't have to raise the height of the new tank, as the new altitude valve on the old tank is now operational. Jake (Ballard) made the adjustments so the old tank fills totally and diverts water to the new tank when needed. Control valves have been installed on both tanks. The city's needs are well taken care of with the 100,000 gallons of water in the old tank and 200,000 in the new one."

Buffalo Island Regional Water District representative Tate Apple addressed the council concerning amendments to the water purchase agreement with the city. BIRWD is asking for a two million gallon increase of water made available for purchase by the City of Leachville. The city is already supplying 2,000,000 gallons per month now, which means the new supply would be doubled what it is now producing. BIRWD is also requesting the purchase price per 1,000 gallons be set at $2, which is a 50 cent increase.

City water statistics revealed that it cost $2.04 to provide 1,000 gallons of water.

"We don't have the capacity to double our water amount to them (BIRWD) and maintain our own needed supply," Ballard said. "We have been supplying 2 1/2 to 3 million gallons a month, up to 6 million gallons since the City of Manila cut them off. Caraway has declined to increase their water supply, Monette has not decided, and Manila is still discussing it."

"Our need and demand for water has increased," Apple said. "We used 11 million gallons this summer."

"When we built our new water tank we downsized our plans from 300,000 gallons to 200,000 gallons because they planned to put in their own well," Ballard said.

"We were out of compliance when we supplied them over 6 million gallons of water," Alderman Mark Wheeler said.

"We are purchasing water from Manila again," Apple said. "You all are protected. If you can't supply that much water you don't have to supply it."

"If they (BIRWD) pass or exceed our established allotment for water, you are going to have to pay extra," Wheeler said. "That just makes sense."

"A contract to supply is binding," said Alderman Bruce Wilson. "You have been in litigation and who knows if you would bring litigation on us if we could not supply. We are helping them out at our own expense."

"We have been losing money on this for years," said Alderman Tommy Stone.

The council discussed installation of more accurate compound water meters, which calculate high and low usage, in order to calculate BIRWD actual usage.

"The meters we have not are not accurate," Wheeler said.

A special working council meeting was set for 6 p.m. Oct. 15.

The council voted to purchase one sewer aerator, listed at $10,5000, and one lift station pump, for $3,800, out of water department funds.

"Now we can have a spare pump," Wilson said.

The city approved the order of annexation for one acre of land (78x178') north of Leachville for construction of Big Butts Barbeque Restaurant. Confirmation of the annexation acceptance will be sent to the State to Arkansas for validation.

The council passed Resolution 2007-1 reaffirming non-profiling practices for the police department.

The September police department report presented by Chief Bryan Crites listed eight criminal warrants served, 57 traffic contacts and 19 criminal offenses with $5,047 in fine monies turned over to the city's General Fund.

Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders September report was presented by Teresa Johnson, secretary/treasurer, and listed two fire calls, 10 First Responder calls, adoption of attendance policy, Harvest Festival fundraiser plans, fire safety taught to students at BIC East Elementary, and a balance in their account at $51,212.23.

Cell phone stipends were discussed for the Police Department. Mayor Spurlock reported that Chief Crites was the only policeman who has a cell phone paid for by the city, and the other policemen are using their own phones. Cost per phone would run between $179 and $200.

"They need the use of cell phones, while on the job," Spurlock said. "They can't talk about everything over the police radios. We may want to consider paying a stipend for the use of their personal phone, rather than pay for the whole cell cost."

"I can see the necessity for officers having a cell phone," Wheeler said.

The decision was tabled for decision at the special called meeting next week.

The council approved the continuance of a 5-mill collection for county taxes. The millage is to be used for city operation and maintenance. The millage collection will be divided as follows: 68 percent for general fund; 26 percent for the street department, and six percent for the fire department.

School zone signals will be placed on each side of South Main Street, near the entrance to BIC schools, at a purchase cost of $2,858 (plus tax). The BIC East PTSO will pay $1,400 and the City of Leachville will pay the remainder.

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