Leachville pays off federal back taxes

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Town Crier News Staff

Leachville City Councilmen chose alderman Bruce Wilson to preside over the March 10 business meeting last Monday evening, in the absence of Mayor Sheila Spurlock. The full agenda consisted of reports, annexation, animal control, city hall refurbishing, and department reviews.

"The best news we have to report tonight is that the City of Leachville has completely paid all the back federal taxes, and we did it in just 14 months," Wilson said. "We are through with them and can now direct our attention to completing the payment of state taxes. Now we will be eligible to apply for grants and can start to move forward again. Our 2008 financial report is in good standing."

The council agreed to contact state legislative representatives concerning advice on payment of state taxes.

City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith reported Stevens Co. would be attending the April meeting to speak to the council about financial investments.

Fire Chief Richie Pace gave the monthly fire department and First Responder report. Total finances for the two groups are listed at $54,017.50. Seven responses were reported from First Responders, with two fire calls, and two motor vehicle accidents. The attendance policy for firemen has been updated and is currently in effect.

Pace recommended using Troy Waddell to fix the clutch on the 1978 fire truck. Waddell has estimated the cost of the clutch to be $550. The council approved the recommendation to use Waddell and allocated $1,000 for cost of clutch and labor.

"When we are able to get better equipment in the future, that means we can receive better codes for the city," Wilson said. "The better our ratings the lower our insurance will be."

Pace reported the city was down five firemen and recommended the addition of Chuck Davis and Kenneth D. Womack. The council approved the recommendation, which brings the total of active firemen to nineteen.

Plans are to do a mail out to area customers in order to collect rural fire dues.

Police Chief Keith Evans reported that Mitchell Lasater has completed his training and has returned from camp.

Evans gave an update of animal control improvements and expenses.

"We have spent $2,518.14 so far, with only a few things needed to finish," Evans said. "The operation is in total compliance now, should we need to go ahead and use it."

Plans are being made to update the original ordinance guidelines concerning cost to pick up, house and maintain animals. Previous cost included pick-up fee of $20, use of dart to secure $5, and $3 per day to maintain (when formerly sent to Manila). Original ordinance required that the pet owner be able to prove the animals have been vaccinated.

Evans requested consideration of lowering the maximum dogs per residence to three, with no dog breeders allowed inside the city limits. The council also discussed the implementation of a dangerous animal ordinance, and proper enforcement of such.

The decision concerning animal fees and control was tabled in order to obtain more information. A special council meeting is planned for March 13 at 6 p.m. Refurbishing of city hall will also be discussed at this meeting.

Keith reported $3,748 in fine monies was taken in during the month of February.

Clerk Keith related the ongoing problem and mass confusion of billing for jail fees, with hopes for situation being corrected soon.

Brian Nomland requested annexation for property south of Bigg Butt's Barbeque to the city limits for use by Adam's Land Company for office space. The lots will be one acre deep on the west side of the highway.

"This will include about five or six lots," Nomland said. "We will incur all business fees and expenses."

The council unanimously approved the annexation pending the completion of all procedures and legalities.

Alderman Johnny Stone requested the city search for grants to secure money for lights on the ball fields at the city park. Cost for replacement of lights was estimated at $5,000.

"We need improvements made at the park," Stone said. "T-ball is where it is at. We have to get them started young and keep them interested."

"We need to look at soccer and flag football also," Wilson said, "to give them a variety of sports to play."

A brief discussion concerning mosquito control was held, but no decision was made until more information can obtained.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on April 14 at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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