(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Manila developer Jeremy Gamble presented a plat and pictures of a new construction project he is working on during the January City Council meeting. The new addition includes development of four lots for commercial and six lots residential located between Heritage Bank and Farmer Lane. The 6,000 square foot commercial property will be able to house five retail/commercial businesses and will face Highway 18 with two entrances.
"It will be a nice facility," Gamble said. "We worked out a trade to be able to leave the old tree making a nice split entrance. The tree has been here longer than any of us. I have had a lot of good feedback from retail people interested in leasing buildings such as these."
"It looks like a good addition to the city," Mayor Clifford Veach said.
Gamble said he wanted to inform the council on his plans and make sure everything is in order. He said he would be glad to answer any questions from the council.
There were no objections from the council on the project.
"Wayne (Wagner, city attorney) and I will need to make sure the zoning is in order for the project," Veach said.
Mayor Veach and council members reviewed the budget.
Council passed an ordinance amending the 2007 budget to more accurately reflect the actual expenditures for the year.
"It is easier to make the amendments when we know what has been spent," Veach said.
The Board adopted the proposed 2008 budget as presented.
Mayor Veach said five officials attended the Municipal League meeting and asked them to report on it.
Councilman LeRoy Douglas called it a good meeting with over 800 people attending.
Councilman Dwight Booth said Lt. Governor Halter made a good speech discussing benefits from a lottery to fund scholarships pointing out Arkansas is 48th in graduates with bachelor of science degrees.
"He was convincing and I asked for a show of hands from everyone in the room who had purchased lottery tickets from neighboring states," Booth said.
City Attorney Wagner said he sat in on a lot of meetings.
"We get bombarded with a lot of information," Wagner said. "It amazes me how well you are doing. Budget-wise Manila is in a good position."
In other reports:
*Mayor Veach informed the council he had applied for an Arkansas Heritage Grant in the amount of $25,000 to help with a proposed project on the heating and air system at the Manila Community Center.
"I think it is a good proposal with the project itemized. The work needs to be done," Veach said.
The project estimate is $45,000. Veach said it will make the center more energy efficient and more comfortable for people.
*Mayor Veach said work on the new fire station will begin as soon as the weather permits.
*Mayor Veach updated the council on the concrete work at the Manila Airport. The work is finished in front of the large hangar and ready to pour when the weather permits and when that is finished will be ready to move to the smaller hangars.
*The council passed a resolution allowing Mayor Veach to work with the ABEQ to operate the transfer station.
"The contract is an agreement that the transfer station will be operated as it should be and if it ever is to be closed, it will be done properly."
*Mayor Veach said the new recreation center is open and it looks good.
*Chief of Police Jackie Hill reported two drug busts made in town.
"We have been working on these for a while," Hill said. "It takes time."