Town Crier News Staff
The Caraway City Council met Nov. 8 and worked though a short agenda consisting of increases for Christmas bonuses, passing of a resolution and ongoing work in the city.
This year's Christmas bonuses were increased to $500 for full time employees and $250 for part time.
Resolution 2007-8 was passed to continue levying the 1.8 personal property tax collection rate.
The council approved the 2006 city audit, as received last month.
Beautification Committee Chairman Haley Faulkner gave an review of upcoming plans for the city. Planters and flowerbeds throughout the city have been cleaned and planted. Christmas light judging will be implemented this year with first, second and third place winners awarded. Yard of the Month winners will be named in 2008. Dora Elinburg and Cheryl Schoolfield have been added to the committee.
Mayor Barry Riley announced that the $1,000 donation received from Centurytel would be used to purchase Christmas decorations for the city. Gary Jeffers and David Robinson are putting them in place. Reports on several city work projects were outlined.
"Slow down signs have been placed on cemetery road, as requested by Jerry Murphy," Riley said. "We will try to add the 40 mile per hour signs soon.
"The request for replacement of burned out street lights has been turned in also," he said.
"We are pleased to receive a main street lot donation from Bill Hawkins. The lot is located across the street from the post office, and can be used for downtown celebrations. We hope to paint the nearby wall for a possible mural in the future, if we can get grant money. We will let the beautification committee work on planters and such in that area."
Riley read a letter received from Arkansas Rural Development concerning loans on the city sewer system.
"They showed the City of Caraway had a water and sewer operational loss of $48,312 in 2005 and $50,599 in 2006," Riley said. "This means our cash was reduced $100,000 in the past two years. The city is anticipating a gain in 2007. They ask that we look at the 2008 budget projections closely. If a positive adjustment is not made then they will want us to raise the water rates again."
"Lisa (Taylor) and I have been working all week on the 2008 budget, in hopes of keeping it in line. We have had a $24,000 raise in revenue in the Water and Sewer Department, which will surly help us this next year."
The council reviewed the proposed budget.
"We can wait until the first of the year to adopt a budget," Riley said. "We need to consider upcoming needs, such as a sewer cleaning machine. A new one is estimated to cost $35,000. The cost for security has gone up in the Police Department. The cost of hospital insurance has almost doubled. "
After a brief executive session and review of stipulations the council agreed for Leo Stallings to continue mowing the city cemetery.
The council discussed correcting the official 911 address for Ronnie Junyor, as the county dispatcher does not list him being inside the city limits.
County dispatcher Bob Andrews will be contacted for verification.
Winter conference training dates were announced for attending council members.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 6 p.m. Dec.13 at city hall.