Town Crier News Staff
The Black Oak City Council met Monday evening, Dec. 17, and discussed fire department bonuses and department issues along with plans to distribute Christmas baskets.
The annual bonus for firemen was set at $100 each, and included Chief Kenny Vaughn, Wilborn Kirby, Mark Douglas, Troy Douglas, Tim Jones and Grace Jones.
Mayor Norman Williams reported Black Oak had received a check from State Representative Ray Kidd for $6,000, from fire funds. Sixteen hundred dollars was received in this week for Act 833 funds.
"The $57,000 that we have in our firemen account came from grants we have received and previous Act 833 funds," Alderman Johnny Williams said.
"Johnny Spencer expressed the desire to be a fireman," he said.
Chief Vaughn obtained details from Spencer to complete his application and asked him to attend the next department meeting, which will be the first Tuesday of each month, at 6 p.m., at the fire station.
"State Representatives Bill Gipson and Ray Kidd have been very supportive in funding to the city," Alderman Vaughn said. "Kidd is a hustler and comes when we need him."
"They are great to help us," Peggy Williams said.
"Do we have a contract with Monette Fire Department yet?" Alderman Cotton Fisher said. "When will it be available?"
"It will be ready in January and will run for one year," Vaughn said. "The night before last Norman (Williams) and I met with Monette Fire Chief Bob Blankenship and Monette Mayor Chub Qualls. They plan to bring a fire truck down here soon. When they get their new fire truck they will bring a better truck. When our 1964 truck was new it pumped 500 gallons per minute. Now we are required to pump 650 gallons. Our truck will still be good to fight grass fires. It will run good as a back-up truck."
"What about our 1974 tractor?" Fisher asked.
"It is used for mowing," Mayor Williams said. "It is working. We put up the Christmas lights with it."
City Clerk Monda Hutchison announced the spring Municipal League dates as Jan. 9-11, 2008. Alderman Cotton Fisher expressed the desire to attend.
Fisher asked Alderman Peggy Williams to contact the Democratic Central Committee President and request that Black Oak have a polling place again.
Alderman Vaughn reported several stray dogs are turning over trashcans in the city.
"I don't know where they are coming from," Vaughn said.
Mayor Williams agreed to check on the dogs.
Guest Tim Jones asked Fire Chief Vaughn about the statement in The Town Crier by Monette Chief Blankenship.
"Was that a mistake, that he said there was no fireman certified in Black Oak, except Chief Vaughn?" Jones asked.
"Bob (Blankenship) didn't know," Vaughn said. "Five of our firemen are certified, all except Mark Douglas."
"Also did Bob (Blankenship) say the mistake was made by Black Oak or ISO stating Monette was listed as the primary provider?" Fisher said.
"The mistake was made by ISO," Hutchison said.
"I don't know when that came about," Vaughn said. "Bob (Blankenship) had the ISO map that showed it."
"People need to explain to their insurance companies that we are with Monette now, so you can get the #5 rating," Johnny Williams said. "Some recognize it and some don't."
Alderman Randy Hutchison made a statement in reference to people being allowed to speak that were not on the council agenda, and time limits. Black Oak does not currently have a policy in place.
"We can review the written policies other towns have," Hutchison said. "That will keep some yahoo from coming in here to take up time. We couldn't start our last meeting until 20 minutes after 6 p.m."
"Yes, and this would also do away with the four minute council meetings," Fisher said.
Johnny Williams inquired about the city working on Christmas baskets for widows, elderly and children who live in Black Oak.
Cotton Fisher compiled a list of names and addresses, with the help of the other council members. City officials agreed to meet at city hall before Christmas and assemble and then deliver the baskets.
The council meeting opened at 6:10 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:10 p.m. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on Jan. 21, beginning at 6 p.m. at city hall.