Services on tap for annexed Monette residents

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Monette City Council made plans to provide services for newly annexed city residents at the council meeting Monday, Nov. 28.

"We have three years to deliver services to our new residents," Mayor Chub Qualls said. "We will not receive any financial increases until late next year, because we cannot hold a special census at this time. We have added 125 new households to the City of Monette. New trash containers will be one of our biggest investments."

"Can we afford to do that now?" Alderman Tom Carroll said. "What if some people don't want trash pick up? Can we keep the charges at $9.00?"

"We can buy the containers out of this year's funds, and it should be in the 2009 budget," Qualls said. "We don't know all the details and costs now. We may also have to add one more employee to help with trash pick up. We plan to start pick up in March of next year. They have been promised night lights and security lights. We will have to survey all this and place them where they are most needed."

The projected income from the recent city annexation is expected to be $91,966.25 per year. This includes revenue from general turnback funds, street turnback funds, sales tax, Entergy franchise tax, CenturyTel franchise tax, Arkansas Western Gas franchise tax, and Ritter Cable Television franchise tax.

Mayor Qualls passed out copies of the 2009 budget. A decision on the budget was tabled until the council had more time to review it. The deadline for approval will be Feb. 1, 2009.

Mayor Qualls reported Monette Well Company had officially closed the city's old water well and it will soon be covered over.

"They will get back to me on the cost of materials and supplies," Qualls said.

Qualls also reported work on the Buffalo Island Museum renovation was ongoing.

"They are doing a great job," he said. "We are taking before and after photos to show the progress on the museum. Most of the damage on the museum was in the back. They have put in a drop ceiling, paneling, lighting and a handicap accessible bathroom. There is not completion date as yet.

"We have had several donations pledged for November. Some have already come in, and I am expecting the others soon."

The Monette Christmas Parade is slated for 7 p.m. Dec. 1.

City Beautification Chairman Joyce Read reported all the Christmas lights were up and the museum has been decorated. Bill Benham reworked some old lights and placed them on free standing steel frames. The City Beautification Committee members, city employees, and Monette Housing Authority residents helped decorate the city intersection, city hall, the museum and streets for the holidays. The lights are to be turned on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 28.

"We have purchased a new Nativity scene for the intersection display this year," Read said. "It consists of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. We hope to add new characters next year along with a manger. We are looking for some old lumber to build a stable."

David Moore, a 23-year city employee, had a heart attack on the job on Friday, Nov. 21, and is physically unable to continue working. The council approved the transfer of 20 sick days from Police Chief Brian Carmichael to Moore. Plans are being made to establish a sick bank for employees in the future, to be used on a volunteer basis.

Mayor Qualls reported Jerry Lamar will currently assume the duties of Moore until details can be worked out. Mayor Qualls and the council plan to add another city employee after Jan. 1, 2009.

Resolution 2008-4 was passed setting a city millage collectable tax rate for real property at 1.8 and 1.8 for personal property.

The December city council meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec.12. A city employee potluck holiday party will follow at noon, at city hall.

Christmas closing dates for city hall will be Dec. 24-26.

At the close of the meeting, Police Chief Carmichael introduced new patrol officer Brandon Womack to the council.

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