Sewer put on hold

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Monette City Council met Monday, April 26, and worked through a lengthy agenda consisting of sewer plan improvements and Monette Youth Association regulations.

City Engineer Wayne Menley reviewed rough estimates to make improvements or replace the city sewer plant.

"You can replace it completely, change systems or make improvements and repair what is damaged," Menley said. "You will need a structural engineer to look at the hair line cracks in the sewer plant and advise you in that direction. You may want to look at a new mechanical plant, with an oxidation ditch, or put additional aerators and filtering system in. The lagoon system would be less expensive to put in place and operate. The amount of acreage you need to make changes will depend upon the type system you put in. You would need at least 35 acres to do this.

"There are many mechanical systems out there. About 30 years is the lifecycle of a sewer system. A newer system would be about 50 percent cheaper to operate. There are many types of loans out there to consider."

"I think we need to get estimates on fixing our existing plant, plus labor cost to renovate," Tom Carroll said. "Until then we can keep maintaining our system."

"We have two projects on hold now, waiting to see which direction we want to go," Mayor Chub Qualls said. "The basic structure of our plant has worked for 30 years."

The council tabled any decision until more information could be obtained.

Monette Youth Association officers were elected last October and have been serving ever since. They were approved by the council. Officers include: President Mike McFarlin; Vice President and Council Representative Billy Watson; Secretary Charles Hughes; Treasurer Jason Stewart; Fund Raising Coordinator Christina Petty; Equipment Director Brian Carmichael; Gate Director J.P. McCord; Concession Director Mark Hurst; and Field Director David Clark. Mayor Qualls appointed Jaqueline Matthews to serve as Softball Representative through the 2010 season.

"This gives us 10 officers," Watson said." We will elect new officers this fall."

City regulations require any teams that are not a part of the MYA must pay a deposit of $250 to use the City Park and offset expenses for lights. Mayor Qualls announced that the girls softball team called "Outcasts" has requested the $250 fee be waived this year. Coaches are Jacqueline Matthews Mike Walls and Gary Sparkman.

"The team chose not to abide by the rules and be a part of the MYA," Alderman Billy Watson said. "The MYA did not put these requirements together, as that was done by the city. It is a city rule."

"This clause was put in the rules for a reason," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "Why would we want to waive it now? It has never come up before."

"These players were not there to sign up," Watson said. "They boycotted the meeting. They organized a team (called Outcasts) then came back and wanted to play. We are not trying to deny them the right to play. The MYA voted not to supply field preparation, umpires, concession stand, and the gate work for non-MYA members. The game schedule has already been laid out, along with umpires and concession times. The MYA is not responsible for any other games."

"I can understand the rules, but I hate to see them not have a concession stand during the game," Mayor Qualls said.

"This would be up to the lady who runs the concession stand," Watson said, "at her own discretion. The MYA will not be responsible for it and will not ask her to work the extra time."

"We should let the MYA run the ball park and back them up," Alderman Perry Woods said. "They should take charge of running the park by the rules that have been agreed upon. We are not relinquishing any control on our part, but we want them to run it."

"We have to take care of our volunteers," Watson said. "They have been faithful. At any given time they could all resign and it would end up being in the city's lap. We don't need to have a difference in softball and baseball for any of our 10 positions next year, as it is all the same. Anyone that is interested in being a part of the MYA should be at the meetings. That would make it much simpler."

All council members were in agreement that no action needed to be taken as to the waiver, as there was already a rule in place for non-MYA teams and would remain a requirement.

Mayor Qualls discussed complaints with cats and explained the city had purchased two cat traps that can be used by people having problems. If an animal is caught, then city employees will come by and pick it up, and deal with the cat humanely.

Mayor Qualls reported all four weather sirens are in place and ready for use.

"We hope to be able to activate them remotely by police car, as soon as the proper band wave is worked out," Police Chief Brian Carmichael said. "We operate them manually now."

Mayor Qualls reported a 1988 white Chevrolet Nissan truck, with toolbox and a working bed, for use by the city.

Mayor Qualls said the Buffalo Island Leadership Association had reworked their bylaws and will be meeting one time a year.

"They have abandoned monthly meetings," Qualls said. "They have kept $2,000 in their treasury and donated $2,500 to the Buffalo Island Museum and $2,500 to the Leachville Veteran's Memorial."

Street repair was discussed.

"We will just do the work that is necessary this year," Mayor Qualls said. "The money allocated for street work is down."

"Next month we need to review the report on how much is owed to the street and sanitation departments," Carroll said. "If we are able to do a pretty decent job of patching then we will be in good shape. Water drainage is always a problem. We should not allow people to fill in ditches in their yards and may have to come through and dig some ditches."

"We have so many things under our control that we try to be as lenient as we can until problems come up," Woods said.

"We have to have something to back us up if we go out to tell people they can't do something," Carmichael said.

The City Wide Yard Sale will be May 1. City clean up will run May 3-7, with debris picked up every day.

Perry Wood reported on the area St. Francis Levee District meeting.

"The Eastern levee district has been decertified," Wood said. "They didn't get our reports in before the map was made. Being in the flood plain will affect property values. It appears to be a ploy to get people to buy flood insurance. There is not a benchmark set for the Eastern District. The city would have to pass an ordinance to participate in the FEMA flood program and to buy flood insurance. Right now our hands are tied."

"Why should we pay levee taxes if the levee does not exist for us?" Carroll said.

"They are pretending the levee does not exist, even though it has worked well for 73 years," Wood said.

"This could mean $500 to $2,000 in flood insurance for people each year," said Alderman Dickie Pace.

Mayor Qualls said Crop Production Services (leased from Monette Co-Op) had requested the city slow down traffic by their business.

"The Co-Op property is private property," Carroll said.

"I don't think that street is," Qualls said. "This is a safety issue. It would cost very little to put signs down there."

The council agreed to check and see if the street was private or city owned before going further.

The city accepted a $2,353 bid from Apex Company, of Mountain View, for mulch to be placed on the playground at the park.

Alderman Joyce Read reported plants are being placed in 38 flowerpots for use in downtown city beautification.

Work will continue on the city's drainage system to check for leaks.

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

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