Monette Council OKs sealing old well

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Monette city council discussed closing an old water well, purchasing a new fire truck, holiday bonuses and new MYA officers at the regular council meeting Monday evening, Oct. 27.

Only three council members were present, Byron Sparkman, Tom Carroll and Jamie Strickland. Mayor Chub Qualls served as councilman to make a quorum for the meeting.

The council discussed the feasibility of closing the old city water well.

"It will be very expensive to restore it," Mayor Qualls said. "I don't think we will be able to get financial assistance from the state. David (Moore) said he would not advise us to restore it. He didn't realize the condition of the well at first. The upkeep would be unadvisable. It would cost us $50,000 to $70,000 to restore it.

"Monette Well is willing to close it down for us with just the cost of materials and labor," he said. "They can't give us an exact cost, but it would probably run between $3,000 and $5,000. We have to do something. It has been like this for 30 years and that is long enough. It is against the law to cap and not seal it."

"I hate to seal it off but that would be the most financially sound," Councilman Tom Carroll said.

The council voted to use Monette Well Drilling to seal the old well.

Mayor Qualls reminded those present to get out and vote on Nov. 4, as the city would benefit financially from the passing of annexation.

"There are 125 households involved in the annexation," Qualls said. "This will be a boost to the City of Monette. It will require more work on our part but it will be worth it in the long run."

Qualls gave an update on the museum.

"The ceiling over the front entrance has been fixed," Qualls said. "Fletcher Construction will start inside today. Our pledges will be coming in next month to complete the work."

Alderman Jamie Strickland requested funds remaining in the 2008 budget for the city park be used for the skate park area, spring toys, and removal of the teeter-totter.

Strickland gave the monthly Monette Youth Association report.

"I get a lot of calls telling me how the MYA should be run but when it is time for the election of officers I have to get on the phone and ask people to attend so we can fill the chairs," Strickland said. "We had a good turn out and they chose their officers for the coming year."

MYA officers include: Michael McFarlin-president; Billy Watson-vice president; Jason Stewart-treasurer; David Clark-field director; Chistina Petty-fund raiser; Stephanie Strickland-secretary; Mark Hurst-concession director; J.P. McCord-gate director; and Brian Carmichael-equipment director.

The council approved the new MYA slate of officers as presented.

"Being a part of the MYA is fun again," Strickland said, "There were a few years it was not fun. I am enjoying seeing more new people take part in the program."

Fire Chief Bob Blankenship notified the council the new fire truck was due for delivery at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28.

"They will want their money when they leave town," Blankenship said.

The truck is estimated to cost $190,000 when all items are attached. Dickie Pace of Liberty Bank has agreed to allow the city to borrow $165,000 if necessary.

"We have $36,000 in the Fire Department account," Blankenship said. "We could make yearly payments on the loan at $25,000. The interest would run 4 percent, which is $22,676 per year, due Jan. 31 of each year.

"We get about $15,000 a year from 833 funds, $3,000 from our fall luncheon, and $5,000 from our mail out each March," he said. "That is $23,000 a year. The city budgets us $10,000 each year, which will allow us to make the payment and still have about $6,000 each year to work with. It has been beneficial for 25 or 30 years for us to operate with some money in our budget so we don't have to keep coming back to the city with every expenditure."

When asked how the agreement with the Black Oak Fire Department was working, Blankenship said, "It is working because we are making it work. We have updated their truck and building, but they still need more hydrants."

The council voted to let the Monette Fire Department continue to keep their own books, and the department be audited along with all other city records.

A special fundraiser will be held in the city on Nov.21, by the musical group Further Down.

Christmas lighting will begin at Thanksgiving. The Christmas Parade will be held on Monday evening, Dec. 1.

Holiday bonuses for full time employees will be $400 each, and part-time employees will be $200.

Ordinance #2008-5 was passed and effective immediately. This ordinance allows elected officials and employees to perform other duties for pay and to be interested directly or indirectly in the profits of any contract for furnishing of supplies and equipment to the city in addition to their elected positions or hired positions and spouses and other family members of elected officials and employees to perform duties for pay and to be interested directly or indirectly in the profits of any contract for furnishing supplies and equipment to the city of Monette, Arkansas.

Qualls announced a special veterans' program would be held on Friday, Nov.14, at BIC. Nick Bacon will be the guest speaker. He will be at Riverside Junior High that afternoon.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at city hall.

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