Perry Wood fills alderman position

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Monette City Council filled an alderman position, released a date for annual park event and announced grant receipt at the Monday, July 27, meeting.

After a short executive session to discuss hiring, the council appointed local businessman Perry Wood to fill the alderman vacancy in Ward 1, which was left by the resignation of Byron Sparkman last month.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael reviewed plans for the city's annual "Night at the Park," to be held from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 4. The council voted to support the event and allocated $1,000 toward entertainment costs. More details will be released later.

Carmichael announced the city had been awarded a $2,000 incentive award from the Criminal Justice Institute for participation in the Click It or Ticket campaign. Funds will be used to purchase police car radios. The department is also applying for a mini JAG grant for $4,500.

The council discussed placement of overhead lights in the newly annexed eastern portion of the city.

Mayor Chub Qualls reported several lights have already been added along Highway 18 East.

"Why are we lighting houses not streets?" Alderman Tom Carroll said. "When we presented this to the people to be annexed we promised them we would put up street lights. I see that we are just putting them up in front of existing houses. We are going to get a lot of complaints on how we are doing this."

"I rode with people from Craighead Electric and Alltel and they advised me to do it like that," Qualls said. "Why should we put lights where there are no houses. There is a half mile of space between houses on Hwy 139. If this is not satisfactory they can come back to me."

"I would like to see consistency with the lights," Alderman Steve Strickland said.

"We are going at it in a shotgun pattern," Carroll said. "We need a wiring pattern, plan or something. We need to look at where we are going and how much space is between lights, like any other street should be."

"Are the lights facing out toward the street or in toward the houses?" Carroll said.

"They are facing out," Qualls said. "It is our option."

"We can put them by the houses now and look at it later," Alderman Bob Blankenship said. "Let's leave it alone for now. I would like to see a drawing too."

City Clerk Vickki Carroll was asked how much the city paid for existing lights.

"We are paying $1,400 now a month for city lights, which includes antique lights," Carroll said.

The council discussed future needs for the city that were revealed after the clean up of the ice storm.

"We are still having problems getting rid of limbs at the city dump," Qualls said. "We are having trouble with grass clippings along the streets. The grass is clogging up the storm drains. It looks tacky around town. People need to turn their mowers around and not blow the grass into the street, or go out afterwards and blow it back into their yards. We may have to get an ordinance to enforce this."

"We don't want to get an ordinance unless it is completely necessary," Carroll said. "Passing an ordinance would be going way overboard. Research and see if we don't have something already to cover it."

"We could send letters to those who are doing it," Alderman Joyce Read said.

Several properties and an abandoned house were listed as out of compliance with city ordinances regulating upkeep. Notifications will be made.

"We need to spend about $70,000 and get serious about additions and repairs also," Blankenship said. "We need back up generators and a lid for the aerator. We also need to rewire the fire station and relocate the siren."

Blankenship announced Craighead County and the Jonesboro Fire Department are giving away free smoke detectors across the county. Residents are asked to contact their nearest fire department for installation of the devices.

"We are willing to put them in if people will call us," Blankenship said.

Alderman Steve Strickland reported the need for four poles, 20 feet high, surrounding the tennis court.

"BIC Superintendent George Edd Holland called about the school needing a pole put up at the school," Qualls said. "We may be able to get electricians to set these in place on their private time. When we do ours, perhaps we can do the one at the school also."

The council voted to close the alley between Flash Market and the old Monette Auto Sales. Plans are being made for Flash Market to add a Subway on the west side of the building.

The council agreed to inquire about the potential purchase of rural water customers along the stretch where Highway 18 East is being rerouted and expanded.

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

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