Annexed areas assigned to Monette wards

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Monette City Council finalized ward inclusions, discussed new ordinances, dismissal of an employee, and discussed needs for bathrooms at the ballpark at the regular city council meeting May 25.

City Attorney Johnny Dunigan reviewed a new ordinance assigning wards.

"First you need to assign the newly annexed areas to existing wards and then you can change to the existing ones," Dunigan said. "After the 2010 census you can look at the population of each ward and set accordingly."

The council voted to approve Ordinance 2009-1 assigning areas to existing wards.

"We need an ordinance dealing with repeat offenders whose yards and buildings are out of compliance," Mayor Chub Qualls said. "Brian (Carmichael) has given them multiple warnings."

The council agreed to table ordinance plans to give time to consider stiffer fine warnings and following procedures.

The council went into executive session to discuss firing of an employee. They emerged to report terms for dismissal of Stephanie Strickland.

In council comments Councilman Bob Blankenship reported complaints about the use of Port-O-Potties at the ballpark.

"We have to do something by next year about the stench coming from the portable units at the ballpark," Blankenship said. "People are leaving the park to go somewhere to use the bathrooms."

"I talked to the lady at Little Rock, who helped us with our ballpark grant, to see about leaving off building the concession stand and revise the grant so we could put in bathrooms," Qualls said.

"No!" said Alderman Tom Carroll. "We are not doing that. We have a plan and a grant and we will go with it. That is the way it was written up. We worked hard to get that."

"We have talked about changing it," Qualls said.

"Not in here we haven't," Carroll said. "You need to discuss it here with the council, not out there."

"We have an existing concession stand," Qualls said.

"Yes, but in a few years it will be rotten, and we won't have the money to build one," Carroll said."

"We have to do something about the bathrooms," Blankenship said. "We have a year to work on it."

"They don't give grants for bathrooms," Carroll said.

"We might have to do it in phases," Blankenship said. "Do the bathrooms now and the concession stand somewhere down the road."

"It is a shame that we were not able to do what we wanted to do in the first place, with the help of the school," Qualls said.

"The plans are still there," Carroll said. "Perhaps we can turn the project around for use with all the fields. If we can come up with the money to build the bathrooms in accordance with the existing grant plans already to build the concession stand and storage room, it might work. This is something we all need to discuss, as it is a big decision."

"I will get back with Little Rock and see what can be done," Qualls said.

No decisions were made about proposed construction.

Qualls announced the grand opening of the Buffalo Island Museum on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Sunday, May 31, from 1-3 p.m. B&B Cafe will be open on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the visitors.

Qualls reported several plans for use of the former Frolic Footwear property are still being discussed.

Several streetlights are out and have being reported to Entergy for replacement.

Mayor Qualls reported the new police car should arrive within 30 days.

"We expect to get our FEMA money soon," Qualls said. "We expect to get $205,824.36 from part A, dealing with contractors. Part B should be $6,860, dealing with direct administration cost and purchase of generators. When all this is in we should break even. The spit was 75 percent from federal, 12 and a half percent from the state, and 12 and a half from the city."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, June 22, at city hall.

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