Monette Council considers improvements

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Monette City Council discussed grant and improvements, along with holiday bonuses and distribution of Act 833 monies, at the council meeting held Monday, Oct. 26.

The council voted to use $12,000 in grant money to purchase a new chipper for city use, since there is a November deadline for burning limbs at the city landfill.

The council recently applied for a $50,000 GIF grant to build a concession stand and bathrooms and a $2,000 grant to purchase police video cameras.

Holiday bonuses were set for $400 for eight full time employees and $200 for two part-time employees. A 50-cent pay increase was implemented in July 2009, and will not be reviewed until July 2010.

Fire Chief Bob Blankenship reported on Act 833 monies to be received by the cities of Monette and Black Oak.

"The County Mayor's Association plans to pass a resolution during the November meeting to allow one Fire Department report from the cities of Monette and Black Oak," Blankenship said. "Fire departments are required to have six firemen, and Black Oak is currently down to five active and two retired. There are currently 13 fire departments in Craighead County. Jonesboro is the largest one and receives 60 percent of the funding, with the other 12 receiving 40 percent, divided among them. This will amount to $17,000 per town. This will help us make payments on the new fire truck and take a financial load off of the city."

Approval was given for Kiech-Shauver-Miller Gin Company to purchase city property adjacent to their business, on Highway 139 north of town, for $12,000.

The Monette Christmas Parade was set for Monday evening, Dec. 7. Kaye Staggs serves as Parade Chairman. The city voted to donate $1,000 for parade expenses, as in years past.

City Beautification Chairman Joyce Read reported on refurbishing being made to seven city Christmas light pole decorations. LED lights will also be added to the decorations in order to provide brighter and longer lasting bulbs. One plastic faceplate will need replacing. Alderman Perry Wood agreed to take care of replacement. Shawn Nance volunteered to decorate the large Christmas tree northeast of the stoplight. The Beautification Committee and city employees will decorate additional trees and parks for the season and turn the lights on the evening of Thanksgiving.

Mayor Chub Qualls reported the first stage of city improvements began with the laying of concrete slab at the water plant on which to place the generator. Bay Electric will add additional wiring and disconnect switches at an estimated cost of $1,987.34.

No decision for filling the City Building Inspector position was completed. Plans to establish a city zoning board along with zoning restrictions and guidelines were also discussed for use by the new inspector.

The council voted to rededicate the collectable city millage rate for 1.8 mills for real property and 1.8 mills for personal property.

Councilman Tom Carroll voiced concerns that the city needs to start putting back money for future replacement of sanitation truck and backhoe.

"Our garbage truck is starting to show its age, as well as our backhoe," Carroll said. "We need to keep an eye on our sanitation fund and develop a surplus, should an emergency arise. The truck was paid off two years ago. We need to set aside what we have been used to paying."

The council agreed to consider including an equipment emergency fund in the upcoming 2010 budget.

Council members reported dark ateas on Nance Street and Highway 139, due to street light outages. Policemen agreed to secure numbers from poles and report to Entergy and Craighead Electric. Two other burned-out bulbs on poles were reported along with one covered by trees limbs.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be Monday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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