Town Crier News Staff
Manila City Council members worked through a lengthy agenda Monday evening at the regular November meeting. All council members, Dean Cherry, Leroy Douglas, Dwight Booth, Linda Donovan, Larry "Whiz" Davis, and Don E. Wagner, were present.
Mayor Clifford Veach reviewed the budget comparing the income to the expenses to date.
Most departments were close to the projected budget figures. Veach said needed amendments in the budget will be made before the end of the year.
Mayor Veach announced the tax to construct a swimming pool had been soundly defeated and it is "water under the bridge."
Veach said the new fire station project is still being reviewed in Little Rock.
"We have approved the low bid and hopefully will have a preconstruction meeting before we meet again," Veach said.
Council members voted unanimously to accept the low bid of $74 a ton from A-State Paving. They also approved a loan from the general fund to the street department fund in the amount of $15,000.
"I think we have enough money to pay for the paving out of the street account," Veach said. "The additional money from the loan will make sure we have enough. We have $69,900 now. I can see this costing $60,000 but we do not want to exhaust all the street funds."
Veach updated the council on the upcoming Christmas Parade. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.
"I decided to head this year's parade," Veach said. "I have about six people involved working with me and so far a really good, entertaining lineup is coming together.
"The Osceola High School ROTC will be here, we have 12 to 13 floats coming, Leroy Douglas is getting antique cars, bike clubs, local churches, merchants, the Cooter Band is returning and the Manila Band for the first year. We welcome anyone who wants to help or participate in the parade."
Council members approved $20,000 for the purchase of a new truck for the public works department.
"Some of the trucks are getting old and run down," Veach said. "There is a need for a truck in the public works department."
Mayor Veach said the police department does not need a new vehicle this year. He complimented Chief Jackie Hill for doing an outstanding job of keeping the police department within budget.
Rosemary Polston, owner of Show Time Video, addressed the council for the third time about parking problems she is having in front of her business on main street on Friday evenings. She said her business is suffering because of it.
"I've asked Mr. Stallings (owner of the Friday auction) to leave two spaces on Friday evening for my customers, but he refused. I'm sorry to be here again, but the matter has gotten worse," she said.
Mrs. Polston asked again for a limited time parking sign in front of her business.
Later in the meeting, Councilman Dwight Booth made a motion to place one 15 minute parking sign on main street at the corner of Baltimore and Concord Street. He specified it is not for any one business. The motion was seconded by Leroy Douglas passing 4-2 with Wagner voting no and Davis abstaining.
Josh Chipman addressed the council asking for a set-back variance from 14 feet to eight feet on property he is in the process of purchasing on East Haywood Street. Chipman submitted plans and drawings for an apartment complex he planned to construct. The council approved the request on condition the neighbors approved.
Councilman Davis said the council has given waivers before but always had the approval of neighbors.
"I appreciate your efforts in improving the city," Mayor Veach said to Chipman.
Mayor Veach recommended the appointment of Marcella Ford to the Housing Authority board.
Councilman Davis made a motion to appoint Ford to the board.
"I don't have a problem with any of her (Juanita Blevins, executive director of the Housing Authority) recommendations except they are residents of the Housing Authority," Davis said.
Councilman Douglas said both the names submitted by Mrs. Blevins live in the Housing Authority.
"She says it is not, but I can't see where it wouldn't be a conflict of interest," Douglas said.
The appointment of Ford passed unanimously.
In other business:
*Mayor Veach presented a proposed 2008 budget for the council members to review.
*Three outdated ordinances were repealed. The ordinances dealt with appointing a city marshal, labor organizers, and establishing the office of a city collector.
*The council approved year-end bonuses on Dec. 1 for employees in the amount of $500 for full time and $300 for part-time. Veach said they (city employees) have earned it and thanked the council for approving the bonuses.
*Mayor Veach informed the council he had signed off on the sewer improvement project. Improvements had to be made to meet standards.
"It is officially closed," Veach said. "The contractor said it will work. Just because the project is closed does not let the contractor off the hook if it does not meet standards."
*Council voted to lease the large hangar at the airport to Mike Shepard on the recommendation of Mayor Veach and Councilman Davis. Davis said he had heard only good things about Shepard's work.
*Mayor Veach said he had received a request for a donation to the Manila Kiwanis Festival. Councilman Donovan made a motion to donate to the Manila Kiwanis Club the same amount the city donates to the Manila Lions Club Chili Cook-off each year.
*The council thanked Henry Ford and the city employees for getting the Christmas lights and decorations installed.
*Mayor Veach announced he had received word the health insurance cost is going down. Starting the first of the year, it will go from $445.50 to $405 a month.
Manila City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday night of each month.