Manila receives grant for maintenance facility

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manila Mayor Clifford Veach announced at the regular April meeting the city has been approved for $115,000 grant for the construction of a new municipal maintenance facility.

Manila Fire Chief Keith Bennett (left) and Assistant Chief Wes Sandusky address the Manila City Council.

"I received a call from Senator Lincoln's office telling us we have been awarded the grant," Mayor Veach said. "I was told there were 32 states involved in this grant process and only two projects in Arkansas were selected and we are one of them. I appreciate Senator Lincoln and her staff working on our behalf."

Veach said he would be signing the papers on Tuesday.

"The engineer is working to finalize plans and then we can bid it out and get started on the project soon," Veach said.

The maintenance building project will cost approximately $300,000.

Mayor Veach said bids will be opened May 6 at City Hall for the sewer project which is also being funded through a grant recently approved. The city has committed $30,000 to the estimated $160,000 project.

The City of Manila has been approved for the two grants and have two others pending, one for a new heating and air system at the Manila Airport and one for generators for the water/sewer department.

Mayor Veach said he feels confident about the heating and air conditioning grant once he gets the information in.

Veach informed the council the 2008 audit had been filed and accepted with everything in order.

The council discussed the position of animal control officer. Mayor Veach informed the council Officer Steve Bowman has been sick but would like to come back to work if he is able.

"I recommend we wait a month or two," Veach said. "I would like to see him come back to work if he is able. Steve does a very good job."

Veach said Henry Ford and city employees are trying to take care of the job for the present time.

"He (Bowman) really has a kind heart," Councilman Linda Donovan said.

The council was in agreement to holding the position open, giving Bowman the opportunity to return to work.

The council voted to set the first four Saturdays in May for the annual clean-up days. Manila city residents will be able to discard items at the transfer station at no charge during the set days.

The city also allowed the residents a free day on April 24 in conjunction with the county clean-up day.

"We have three firemen here tonight to talk to us about buying a new truck," Mayor Veach said. "I told them to start working on finding a truck and asking for prices. They found one for $287,000. I asked them to try to back it down to $250,000. They got close they came down to $256,000. When I got the call from Senator Lincoln's office last week notifying us of our grant award, they asked if there was anything else we needed and I asked for a grant on a new fire truck. We might be able to get a grant. I do want to have a new truck ordered by the end of the year."

Fire Chief Keith Bennett and Assistant Chief Wes Sandusky updated council on the truck they were looking at and the new fire department logo. A new truck would be replacing the truck which is over 30 years old.

"It is a quality truck and will be in service for a long time," Bennett said. "It will have an eight month build time."

Councilman LeRoy Douglas said it looked like a good truck.

"We appreciate your consideration," Sandusky said. "We are meeting every Thursday night and doing a lot of training. The training in extrication has already paid off. We have had to use it twice in one week."

"I witnessed first-hand on Saturday what our fire and police department can do," Councilman Larry Davis said. "They did an excellent job and I would like to commend them."

"Our fire department does an excellent job," Police Chief Jackie Hill said.

Mayor Veach said he has asked the chief to look at what it will take to lower the city's fire rating from a 6 to a 5. That would save money for all of the citizens on insurance.

Chief Bennett said they were looking at what it will take and want to be prepared.

"We would like to train with farmers on grain bin safety and what to do if someone gets trapped in one," Bennett said. "Any day I'm off from the ambulance service, I will be at the fire station."

In other business:

*Mayor Veach recommended the city purchase advertising for the Buffalo Island American Cancer Relay for Life event in the amount of $500. The council voted unanimously in favor of the recommendation.

*The Council voted unanimously to move Officer Jarred Camp from part time to full time position.

*The council voted to clean up an unsightly property and have city Attorney Wayne Wagner put a lien on the property. Wagner said it is one of properties where the owners live out of town.

*Candidate for Prosecuting Attorney, District 2, Scott Ellington introduced himself to the council and spoke briefly.

*Mayor Veach presented the budget comparison for the year at the end of the first quarter. "Overall, we are pretty much on budget," he said.

The Manila Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month at City Hall.

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