Monette City Council OKs water to BIRWD

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Town Crier News Staff

Monette councilmen discussed rural water agreement, new fire truck and use of county chipper during the Oct. 22 Monday night meeting.

The council agreed to continue providing water to the Buffalo Island Regional Water District, but not increase quantity as requested. Currently Monette provides two million gallons of water per month and chose to maintain that level rather than go to four million. Monette voted earlier to increase what the city charges BIRWD from $1.50 per thousand gallons of water to $2.00 per thousand.

"We are capable of pumping two and a half million gallons but do not want to go beyond that," Mayor Chub Qualls said. "We will continue with our existing agreement of supply, with the increase in what we charge them."

"I requested they correct the statement they sent to their customers, claiming the large increase was caused by the cities small increase to them," Qualls said. "They promised they would send out letter correcting it, but they have not done it."

Monette Fire Chief Bob Blankenship gave the council an update on the proposed purchase of a new fire truck. Capability of new truck and availability of financing through lease-purchase and loan process were outlined.

After a brief discussion the council voted to allow the Fire Department to get concrete bids on a new 2008 fire truck and come back to council with research.

"I spoke to the Black Oak Fire Department and city councilmen tonight, and they are not ready to commit yet on merging with Monette," Blankenship said. "If they do not use their Act 33 fire money it will go back to the county. They should go with people who have helped them. Their equipment is not good, their fire truck not good. It will take several thousand dollars to get it in shape. Their firemen do not have their equipment or training updated, and they are short of manpower. We could rotate one of our trucks down there, and improve the situation if they will let us."

"Black Oak met tonight to talk it over," Qualls said. "With their help we can meet payments on a new truck and supply them with a good truck also. They only have one person in opposition at this time."

Mayor Qualls presented Rick Sparkman with a plaque of appreciation for his donating the use and services of his children's train during National Night Out.

"The train was used by children most of all," Qualls said. "We appreciate his time, the money he spent and the use of his train. We want to honor him tonight and show our appreciation."

The old tornado alarm system has been moved from the old water tower downtown to the new water tower at Buffalo Island Central High School. A dedicated telephone line will activate the warning system, rather than the manual format used previously.

Qualls announced the purchase of a bucket truck for city use.

"We were able to buy the truck at minimal cost from Dennis Matthews," Qualls said. "The men are being trained on how to operate it safely, per OSHA requirements. The truck will have more than one purpose. "

Qualls reported the Annexation Committee has met twice and is making progress. Another committee meeting is planned soon to talk about areas to be annexed and zoning. A public meeting will be held later, then the plan will come back to the council for a decision.

Reports on dog ordinance and cost to operate were discussed.

Qualls reported the new city museum project was currently at a standstill, with a variety of repairs ongoing. The old museum at the city park is in good shape. Janie Blankenship Miller works as clerk at the old museum for 20 hours each week.

"Janie is busy identifying each item," Qualls said. "She is doing a great job. By spring we hope to have everything moved to our new building. Perry Wood has agreed to fix the damaged front column at the new museum."

Resolution 2007-2 was passed to rededicate the 1.8 mill rate collected for real and personal taxes through 2008.

City employee holiday bonuses were increased to $400 for the eight full time employees and $200 for two part-time employees.

Alderman Steve Suber requested that city water and sewer employees be equipped with safety gauges.

Mayor Qualls discussed using the county chipper truck to dispose of excess limbs, in order to avoid burning.

"We have to supply an operator and schedule the use of the chipper in advance," Qualls said. "The county will furnish the equipment. We will start making the chipper available for public use in November."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Nov. 26 at city hall.

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