Annexation approved by Manila Council

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Manila City Council approved annexation in three different areas at the regular Sept. 21 meeting.

City Attorney Wayne Wagner read the ordinances and distributed maps with the location of the three areas. The Wise addition, north of Manila, will be part of 21B Ward. Douglas annexation taking in property on Highway 18 near the Douglas Electric business will be in Ward 22. The Byron Hitchcock area across from Towell Auto Sales will also be in Ward 21B.

Wagner said he has had a request from other families to be annexed.

"I told them to get me the legals and we will get it done as quickly as possible," Wagner said.

Mayor Clifford Veach updated the council on the new ambulance service.

"Since we last met, Emerson has bought the old fire house building," Veach said. "They are doing a lot of work on it. I met with Toby Emerson (owner of Emerson Ambulance Service) and there was one small change in the contract we agreed on. The original contract allowed the city to get out of the contract at any time for any reason with a 60 day notice. Mr. Emerson wanted it added the ambulance service could be released from the contract for a reasonable cause giving the city a 60 day notice. It is a three year contract."

The Council voted 5-1 to accept the contract with the changes with Councilwoman Joni Isabell casting the no vote.

Mayor Veach informed the council three storm sirens have been purchased from Jonesboro. They are in Manila and mounted on posts.

"Mississippi County Electric donated two new poles and put them in the ground," Veach said.

Veach estimated a total cost of $4,000 to $5,000 to get the sirens up and running.

"I think we have them placed in good places where everyone in town, even in the annexed areas, should be able to hear the sirens."

In past meetings council members have discussed the procedure to extend council terms from two to four years.

Mayor Veach said he had talked to people and if the council decides to take the issue to the voters they could have a special election or have it placed on the 2010 general ballot. He said to include it in the general election would cost an estimated $2,000 and a special election approximately $3,500. Veach pointed out if it is done on the general election and it passes it would be 2012 before voters could actually vote for a council member to serve four years.

Attorney Wagner said if the terms are extended the seats would be staggered with Position 1 of each ward getting the first four year terms.

"I think we should let the people vote on it," Council member Leroy Douglas said. "I don't see having a special election."

Douglas made the motion to have it placed on the ballot for the general election in 2010.

Council passed the motion unanimously.

Mayor Veach asked the council to consider raising the city property millage rate. He informed the council the city presently has 3.6 mills for maintenance and operation and .4 for fireman's pension.

"The city has the authority to go to 5.0 mills without a referendum," Veach said. "It has been a long time since any of our fees have been raised."

Mayor Veach said it figures out about $6.55 per capita per year.

Councilman Leroy Douglas said he hated to raise taxes but if the city needs it he would make the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business:

*Mayor Veach updated the council on the Manila Natives Music Show set for Nov. 7 with a Saturday evening show and a Sunday, Nov. 8, afternoon jamboree. He said Donna Jackson is going to help; J.R. Rogers will bring the sound system and he is getting a band together. It will be held at the Community Center.

*The council voted to purchase new score boards for each of the four ballparks.

*The council had no objections to Mayor Veach's suggestion of allowing the Boy Scouts to have the old library building once the ambulance service has moved out. Veach said plans are underway to do a little work on the building and the Boy Scout leader said they would like to have the building.

*There was no objection to a fundraising wrestling match sponsored by the Boy Scouts to be held at the Manila Community Center.

*The council looked at preliminary plans for a new public works building and agreed to pursue the project. Mayor Veach said he would come back with cost and more details.

*Mayor Veach said the fire department had two new members, Coy Jackson and Dallas Wood.

*Mayor Veach said he had been approached by a business person who wants to sell guns/firearms in the city. Manila Police Chief Jackie Hill said if the ATF approves him and gives him a license, he didn't have any problems with it. The council did not have any objections.

*Mayor Veach reviewed the budget to date.

*Mayor Veach said City Attorney Wagner and Rep. Charolette Wagner met with LOPFI representatives and they were assured the city's money would be put back. At the last meeting Veach informed the council a premium had been late and LOPFI was holding all the funds, $77,000, and the city had to meet before the funds could be released back to the city.

*Mayor Veach said a representative from the Census Bureau would be at the October meeting to address the council.

The next regular meeting will be held t 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19.

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