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Monette Council finalizes plans for museum open house

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Monette City Council finalized plans for open house at the newly renovated Buffalo Island Museum downtown when the council met Monday, April 27.

Mayor Chub Qualls detailed plans for the museum, located at 207 W. Drew Street. The open house will be a two-day event set for Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and Sunday, May 31, from 1-3 p.m. During the Sunday event Mark Grisham will be signing copies of "Bedlam South," a book he co-authored with David Donaldson.

"The Museum Committee has been working very hard to get the museum items moved from the old location," Qualls said. "They have several display cases throughout the building. This is going to be a big event, and one we can all take pride in."

Alderman Jamie Strickland reported 32 new lights have been placed on the poles at the ballpark. Volunteers will put the poles in place when the electrical work is done.

"The fields are looking great," Strickland said. "We can take pride in the work done down there."

The council discussed the placement of newly annexed residences into wards. Mayor Qualls proposed the passage of Ordinance 2009-1 to add the new citizens. He passed out maps depicting ward boundaries, changes.

"This will just add the newly annexed areas to existing wards," Qualls said.

"We changed the boundaries on the wards," Alderman Tommy Carroll said. "We can't just add them on without making the former boundary changes."

After a review of the current city map and a brief discussion, Mayor Qualls agreed to check with City Attorney Johnny Dunigan to redefine the wards on the proposed ordinance.

Mayor Qualls gave a report on the ice storm clean up and FEMA reimbursement for expenses.

"We have documented all of the work done by the city and volunteers," Qualls said. "We have worked every day since Jan. 27 to get the job done. We have carried off 53,000 cubic yards of debris to the landfill. We should receive our FEMA reimbursement in a week and a half."

Qualls reported the City of Black Oak is interested in purchasing the city's 2002 police car, after the 2009 Dodge Charger arrives. Other police cars in use include a 2007 blue Chevrolet and a 2007 gray Charger.

Clean Sweep is scheduled for May 4-8. Dumpsters are already in place.

Alderman Bob Blankenship reported three major wrecks had occurred at the Highway 139/18 intersections. Mayor Qualls reported AHTD District Engineer Joe Barnett is doing a study on the intersection, to see if warning signs can be placed at the southern entrance, warning of an oncoming stop sign.

The council reviewed a proposed swimming pool ordinance. A lengthy discussion was held concerning cost of fencing, insurance requirements, ordinance enforcement, city pool fee, and liabilities.

"This ordinance would allow owners to put in a pool but not their renters, due to the cost of fencing," Carroll said. "Like we have said before, we can't regulate everything."

"Current insurance requirements are taking care of the fencing situation right now," Blankenship said. "The property owner and the insurance company are held responsible for liability on rental property."

"Parents have to be responsible," said Alderman Joyce Read. "Their insurance can take care of this."

The council decided not to pursue the swimming pool ordinance.

Councilman Blankenship reviewed plans to purchase a 20 killowatt natural gas generator to replace the one that went out during the ice storm. The new generator listed at $4,339 at C&I Electrical Supply. Financing will come from General Fund and ACT 833 money, with FEMA reimbursement. The generator will be used at the city shelter and fire station.

Alderman Strickland read a request from Scott Colbert of Valley Equipment Inc., for placement of an auto steer remote guidance device on the city water tower. There will be no cost to the city for installation. Colbert agreed to donate $500 each year to the city's sports park fund, as long as the device was in place.

"It will need a 110 electrical hook up," Alderman Carroll said.

"The current guidance device (owned by Jeff Finch) on the water tower is hooked up to the three phase tornado siren," said Police Chief Brian Carmichael.

"Who pays for the electricity on the Finch guidance system?" asked Strickland.

"We do," said Carroll.

"It doesn't take much power," Qualls said.

"Scott would pay for putting in the electricity," said Strickland.

"We need to get everyone on the same page on this," said Blankenship.

"We could put in a meter and split the cost between the two of them," said Carroll.

Mayor Qualls agreed to talk to Finch concerning a matching donation for use of the water tower. The council voted unanimously to allow usage of the tower for the guidance devices.

Strickland requested adding lights to the city tennis court. Four lights are needed outside the existing fence, 20 feet above ground, along with resurfacing and maintenance. The council was in agreement to do the work. Strickland agreed to check into cost for improvements.

The council voted to increase policeman Brandon Womack's salary to $27,000 since he has completed his academy training.

"Brandon is also a certified fireman," said Blankenship. "We are fortunate to have him here."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, May 25, at city hall.



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