Manila accepts fire station bid

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Manila City Council accepted the low bid for the construction of a new fire station at the regular October meeting held on Monday, Oct. 15. The bid was submitted by Southern Company of North Little Rock in the amount of $367,735.

Mayor Clifford Veach said the six bids submitted ranged from the low bid to over $545,000.

The council voted to accept the bid and passed a resolution to enter into a contract with Southern Company for the project. The construction will be funded through a Rural Development grant, city funds, Manila Industries, and a low interest bank loan.

"I appreciate the council's action," Veach said. "It has taken a while to get it going but hopefully, we will be able to get on with the construction in the near future."

Mayor Veach informed the council bids had been advertised for street paving with a closing time of 4 p.m. Oct. 30.

"We asked for bids on 700 to 800 tons of asphalt," Veach said. "We'll see how it comes out."

Veach said paving projects in town are being looked at and the bids should be ready by the next meeting.

Veach discussed the possible increase of water rates.

"I've mentioned this before and Henry (Henry Ford, water superintendent) and I have discussed this. Residents using 5,000 gallons or less will not be affected by the increase. I would like to see the present ordinance amended to allow for $1.25 per 1,000 gallons when usage is over 5,000 gallons. It will not affect our average customer. I would like to see it effective the first of the year."

Rosemary Polston, Manila business owner, addressed the council for the second time about placing limited time parking signs in front of her business.

"I still have a parking problem," Polston said. "I'm not asking for limited parking up and down Baltimore, just one or two 30 minute parking signs in front of my business. I am the only business open late on Friday nights during the same time as the auction. People park four or five hours in front of my store. It is hurting my business. I would even be willing to make a donation to help pay for the signs."

The council took no action.

C.W. Cummings with the First Tee, a youth golf and life skills program, addressed the council.

"We are operating a First Tee program in Manila for youth and we want young people to get involved," Cummings said. "I am talking to all city councils in the area about the membership program for 2008. It is very affordable to be a member in the First Tee. We need more equipment and literature. We do not want anyone left behind. We are happy to be in Manila and hope you will support us in the future. I will send membership level information to the city."

Cummings said he appreciates Big Lake Country Club for letting the young people use the putting green and driving range.

The First Tee program is open to children 6-21 years of age and is free to the participants. Cummings said the next First Tee Scholar may come from this city. A First Tee Scholar will be able to pick from over 20 colleges.

In other business:

*Council members were given a copy of the sewer and water audit. Veach said the audit contained no negatives.

*Veach reviewed the budget to date commenting the state turn back money is down a little from where it was last year and the local tax is doing well.

*Veach said the swimming pool project is underway. Handouts will be ready to be placed around town prior to the Nov. 13 election. Early voting will begin Nov. 6 at the Depot. People will have six voting days. Voters will be deciding on a one percent sales tax to fund the construction and maintenance of a swimming pool/aqua center and allowing the city to issue bonds so the project can begin in the near future.

*Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill gave a report on the city clean-up informing the council of several buildings that will be razed, the veterinarian's trailer will be moved soon, and work will begin on a burned house on Dewey Street. Hill said he is trying to make contact with the owner of a block house in need of attention and talked to owners of buildings on main street.

*Mayor Veach said after meeting with Buffalo Island Rural Water officials several weeks ago he was under the impression the lawsuit would be dropped but he has not heard anything. City Attorney Wayne Wager said he would check on the status.

*Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said he wanted to recognize Manila soldiers who recently returned home with the 875th.

"I want to say how glad I am to have them home," Davis said.

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