The Monette City Council swore in a new councilman and voted to purchase digital cameras for police cars at the city council meeting held Monday, Aug. 24.
Mayor Chub Qualls gave the oath of office to new councilman Perry Wood, who was appointed to fill the vacancy in Ward 1 left by the resignation of Byron Sparkman.
Police Chief Brian Carmichael requested the purchase of three new digital cameras for police cars.
"We got a Rural Development Grant for 15 percent of the cost, which will come to $2,351," Carmichael said. "The total cost with five year warranties will be $15,675. We can get a four percent interest rate at Liberty Bank for a three year note, which will make our payments $394 a month. We can pay off a three year note in 14 months."
"These cameras don't lie, and I think they are needed," Councilman Wood said. "If someone sued us, these cameras could prove worth every penny of the price."
"Do we have the funds?" asked Blankenship.
"We can make the payments," Treasurer Vickki Carroll said.
"The Police Department is in good shape now," Blankenship said. "They just need a few minor things, with the cameras being the biggest item."
The council voted unanimously to purchase the three digital police car cameras, using the payment plan at Liberty Bank.
"The city has asked for an extension on burning at the city dump," Mayor Qualls said. "We have until Nov. 20 on our current burning permit."
The council discussed the need for a chipper for disposal of limbs after the permit expires. The decision was tabled until General Improvement monies are received.
Mayor Qualls reported on new street lights being installed along Highway 18.
"Craighead Electric and Entergy have been busy putting up the lights and are doing a great job," Qualls said. "They will keep a record of what they have done and plan to do, and we can get a record of all this when they are through."
"We need to know where they are planning to put them, and where," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "We need some input into this."
"If we want to put up more, then we can do it afterwards," Qualls said.
"Representatives from Entergy talked to me and asked where the lights were most needed," Police Chief Brian Carmichael said.
"I like to hear that," Carroll said. "We need input in this, not just a report after the job is done."
"We can address this when we get their map," Alderman and Fire Chief Bob Blankenship said.
Mayor Qualls reported two diesel generators had been purchased after the last council meeting, when a special dealer deal was made available. One generator is 60 kilowatts for use at the treatment plant, and the other 30 kw for use at the pumping station. Two weather sirens were purchased from the City of Jonesboro for $500 each. Plans are to place them on the east and west sides of the city. The two other sirens are at the new water tower and old city hall.
"We made a list of 15 things that needed to be done after the ice storm in January, and generators were on the list," Chief Blankenship said. "We needed a generator at the water plant. We also need to place a lid over part of the water treatment plant. An inspection and repair of both water towers is needed also. The new tower is starting to rust inside. The issue is not critical at this time, but we need to do something. We can start by checking on our warranty."
Mayor Qualls and the council discussed the city's desire to purchase water customers inside the city limits from Buffalo Island Rural Water Association.
"It will be better to do it when water lines have to be relocated with expansion of Highway 18," Qualls said. "We need to get three independent appraisals of the customer cost and have this evaluated."
Qualls reported on improvements made of discarded grass clippings and dilapidated houses.
The council voted to accept the bid from Bay Electric to repair generator wiring and warning siren for $750.
Nine light poles are needed at the ballpark and five at the tennis courts, at a cost of $133 per pole placement.
"If we will give Entergy time they will do it for us at no cost," Qualls said. "The poles are 65 feet each, with 55 feet in the air."
The council agreed to wait until Entergy could work placement into their schedule.
Jimmy Fleeman was appointed to serve on the Monette Housing Authority Board of Directors, following the resignation of Board Member Pat White.
After a brief discussion by Alderman Joyce Read the council tabled changes in the City Employee Policy Handbook until the September meeting.
Fire Chief Blankenship reported on the Arkansas Fire Wise Program and potential for $3,500 for use in maintaining fire prevention projects.
Police Chief Carmichael reported on the annual Night Out at the Park planned for Sept. 4, from 6-9 p.m.
Alderman Jamie Strickland presented the Monette Youth Association monthly financial report and work on brick fundraising project. Funds from brick project will be used to build bathrooms and a concession stand.
Mayor Qualls reported the city and Kiech-Shauver Gin Co. split the cost to add an adequate water supply system needed for the construction of a new warehouse. Each party paid $3,200 for the addition of the system.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at city hall.