The Monette City Council gave street and improvement updates, along with progress on Buffalo Island Museum and city mural projects, at the council meeting held Thursday, May 29.
Monette Mayor Chub Qualls reported on the development progress of Edna Mae Way, the new street southwest of town.
"We have gone as far as we can for the time being," Qualls said. "I am thankful for the use of Bob Grisham's equipment and Craighead County for preparing the road bed. That has saved us a lot of money.
"We put down 750 tons of slag from Nucor Steel, which almost completes the full length of the street. We like about 3 or 4 hundred more feet. We can hopefully get back to it later on. We may go over the slag with chat or gravel later."
The city plans to prepare a ditch on the west end of Edna Mae Way and place a culvert for drainage. Tile has been used to prepare an entrance into the ballpark parking lot and a new gate and entrance for the water plant.
"We put $40,000 in the budget for the street project, and I haven't spent a penny of it yet," Qualls said.
Estimates were received from Cummings Chip Sealing, of Batesville, for proposed edging and power cleaning of city streets. The estimate of trimming, power washing and cleaning needed streets was listed at $16,244.
"That is a lot of money for what's being done," said alderman Tom Carroll. "We have all the equipment necessary to do the job ourselves, except a road grader. The streets didn't get this way overnight and we don't have to get them done overnight. Maybe we can do the job or get the county to help us."
Several councilmen reported residents are mowing their yards and blowing the clippings into the street, which is part of the build-up problem.
The council tabled the decision to use an outside contractor to clean the streets until the June 23 council meeting.
The council discussed collection of delinquent water bills.
Water deposits were increased from $65 to $80 effective June 1, 2008.
After a brief discussion about rising employee health insurance rates, the council tabled a decision until the June meeting.
Mayor Qualls reported grant funding for the renovation of the Buffalo Island Museum should be received in July. The city applied for $40,000 in funding but it is not sure they will receive the total amount. Fletcher Construction Company bid $56,000 for necessary improvements to the museum. The Museum Committee plans to secure private donations for the remainder of the expenses. The city paid $10,500 to have a new roof put on the museum.
"I would like to know what the committee thinks they can come up with in donations and pledges before we make decisions on the overall cost," said Tom Carroll.
"Once we get the grant money then we can work on pledges," Qualls said. "Nothing will happen until August or September anyway. At least the building is secure and in the dry now."
"I would like to hear something from the committee by our July meeting," Carroll said. "Then we can tell them something by August."
Monette Policeman Anthony Petty introduced new policeman Freddie Poke to the council. Poke is a certified policeman from Missouri and started work on May 24, following former officer Jim Carpenter's resignation.
Petty suggested the council consider purchasing a 250-gallon gas tank for use by patrolmen after hours.
No decision was made on the request but the council took it under consideration.
Mayor Qualls and alderman Joyce Read revealed plans for a new city mural to be painted on the west wall of Johnny Dunigan's law office.
"Johnny is painting his wall to prepare it for the mural," Qualls said. "The overall cost is estimated at $5,000. The mural will depict cotton scenes - old and new. Greenway Equipment Inc. is making a donation for the supplies and labor for the mural, and plans to have one portion of the mural depicting a new John Deere cotton picker. The mural artist will be Candice Teeter. She will begin in about six weeks. This will be a great addition to our town. They are working on an overall sketch of what the mural will look like."
Final approval for the sketch and project will be placed on the June agenda.
The council went into executive session to discuss hiring, firing or discipline of an employee. After reconvening the council took no action.