Leachville Council wades through lengthy agenda

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Leachville city council met on Monday, July 14, in the boardroom at Arkansas Northeast College, due to construction and renovation at city hall.

The council had a full and lengthy agenda.

Options and interest rates were reviewed for renewing certificates of deposit. City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith was asked to compare area interest rates and report back to the council, opting to invest locally if possible.

"Our ballpark needs some basic repairs and replacement of several fence posts," Mayor Sheila Spurlock said.

"We need to make sure that our Baseball Association has enough money for their seasonal needs," Alderman John Stone said.

"The repairs will not be taken out of their operational funds," Spurlock said. "This will be done by the city."

Mayor Spurlock reported two feet of paving had been added to Dr. Rodman Street near the post office to make it more accessible.

"We have been fortunate to have our county workers clean ditches in town," Spurlock said. "We plan to use them as much as possible. They are limited on the time and conditions they can work."

The council discussed city drainage issues and the need to clean side ditches as well.

Departmental fuel budgets were discussed, which include cemetery, fire, street, police and animal control.

The council approved a request from Buffalo Island Leadership for a $500 contribution.

"We have donated $500 in the past," Keith said. "They are involved in many worthwhile projects, such as Youth Leadership, Ace Certification, the purchase of Welcome signs, and the annual Hero's Recognition Program. This is all geared toward attracting industry to our area, and involves the cities of Leachville, Monette, Caraway and Black Oak. The Ace Program alone gives us a notch up for attracting new businesses at the state level."

Spurlock reported the Mississippi County Solid Waste District would wave tipping fees two times a year for use of the county landfill. The months will be the last week in April and September of each year.

"Our clean-up week was a huge success in April and I think we need to take advantage of this whenever it is offered," Councilman Bruce Wilson said.

The council voted to take part in the offer made by Mississippi County and set the clean-up week for Sept. 26-28, which includes Friday through Sunday.

Chief Richie Pace gave the monthly Fire Department and First Responder report.

"We replaced four batteries and plan to purchase two trickle chargers," Pace said. "We have ordered First Responder supplies. We have continued with our training sessions, so we can keep updates."

Chief Keith Evans gave the Police Department report for May and June.

"We were awarded $2,000 for our participation in the Click It/Ticket program again this year," Evans said. "We turned in $3,840 in fine monies for April and $2,740 for May. We have six misdemeanor warrants served, 41 traffic citations, two DWIs involving drugs, 27 criminal arrests and one felony."

The two-month Animal Control report included 38 dogs captured, 17 dogs surrendered, 10 dogs released, and three dogs adopted. Remaining dogs were euthanized.

The council voted to pay expenses of two animal control officers to attend a training seminar in Eureka Springs on Sept. 8-12. Expenses will be taken out of Administration, Education and League Expenses.

"I think sending them to keep their training up to date will be worth it to us," Alderman Tommy Stone said.

Evans recommended the city apply for a $30,000 State Police Grant, which is 100 percent funded.

"Whatever we get it is work making the effort," Alderman John Stone said.

Street Superintendent Dickie Coburn and City Engineer Wayne Menley discussed repair or replacement of the city's wastewater treatment facility. Menley showed a sketch of the facility and cost for overall improvements. The headwork's subtotal was listed at $185,000, sludge filter operation at $118,000 and clarifier renovation at $116,000 for a total cost of $532,286.

"The improvements on the headworks is needed the most," Coburn said. "We can get by with minor repairs on the clarifier."

"The ADQ has already man dated that the headworks be replaced to come into compliance," Newell said.

"When we did it 25 years ago it was supposed to last for 40 years," Alderman Wilson said. "We seem to just be chasing our tails on this. This is a high dollar repair."

"Usually financial companies say 40 years because they finance it for 40 years, not that it is guaranteed to last for 40 years," Menley said.

"Maintaining it and completely rebuilding it are two different things," Alderman John Stone said. "Perhaps we can get by with doing the headworks and replacing the scrapers. We can't spend money that people in this town don't have."

"We can redo portions of the system," Menley said. "The compliance issue is the overflow from the bar screen."

"If we can do the work ourselves for $50,000 verses $532,000 we need to do it," Alderman Wilson said.

After a brief discussion the council asked Menley to bring back a cost for just correcting the overflow problem in order to get back into compliance.

Menley agreed to prepare cost for redoing the holding tank and report back to the council.

"Jake Ballard can help on this, with the cost of new screens, scraper arms, etc." Spurlock said. "Our main concern is getting back into compliance."

The council discussed increases in reimbursement for gas mileage when traveling on city business. The Federal rate is .585 cents per mile and Leachville's reimbursement rate is .32 cents.

After a brief discussion the council voted to raise the reimbursement rate to .45 cents per mile.

"The .32 rate is low but .585 is a little high," Alderman Tommy Stone said.

The council tabled decision to replace the north side door at an estimated cost of $1,900 until further review of the situation.

Waste removal provider Eddie Bolar was on the agenda but not present at the meeting. Spurlock related that Bolar had asked that the 85 cent discount to senior citizens be eliminated. After discussion, the council voted to leave the rate as is.

Spurlock thanked "The Cave Dwellers" for their city fireworks display during the fourth of July. The group is made up of bikers, firemen and volunteers. Donations were also received from city and business leaders.

"This was a great show," John Stone said. "There were hundreds of cars down at the part to look at it."

Spurlock reported that July 26 has been set for the date of the annual citywide Watermelon Festival. Jerrod Price serves as festival organizer.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at city hall.

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