Water increase debate continues
The Monette City Council reviewed utility increases, the city's donation policy and enforcement of the neglected property ordinance at the regular city council meeting held June 28.
A lengthy discussion was held concerning water rates after the council reviewed the report from the Water Review Committee. In an attempt to make water and sewer solvent and prepare for future repairs/upgrades the council considered necessary rate increases or the passage of a city sales tax.
Alderman Tom Carroll proposed the city prepare the necessary ordinance for consideration at the July meeting.
"I don't see any way around a rate increase," Alderman Bob Blankenship said. "The sales tax would not work fast enough, and we need help now."
The council received approval to borrow $80,000 from Liberty Bank, should it become necessary to make the Water Department solvent.
"I would like to see us do the increase gradually in a five year plan, rather than all at once," Alderman Perry Wood said. "This will make it easier on our residents."
The council reviewed the proposed flood plane ordinance, which has a deadline to pass by July 6. No action was taken.
Monette Housing Authority announced the resignation of board member Raye Finley and the nomination of Lester Mullen to fill that position. The council approved the appointment of Mullen to begin immediately.
Councilman Wood expressed concern over the city's sponsorship and benevolent donation policy, in lieu of the current financial condition of the city.
"We just can't give to anything that comes down the pike," Woods said. "We need to put a moratorium on spending because we are so pinched right now and should not be giving money away. There are some extremely good causes, but we just don't have the money."
The council agreed with Woods' proposal.
City Attorney Johnny Dunigan reported on Stewart Street property being out of compliance with the city's neglected property ordinance. The city has given notice and plans to place a lien on the property in order to recoup expenses for mowing and upkeep for the past 10 years. The next process would be to foreclose on the property, sell it and reimburse the city for expenses estimated at $4,000.
Other neglected properties were discussed and deemed a potential danger. Notices will be given and legal action will be followed.
Mayor Chub Qualls showed a rough drawing of the new Farmers Market building to the council. Construction is to begin this month.
Need to repair or replace the roof on the Buffalo Island Museum was discussed. Plans are to use available grant and museum funding. Estimated cost was listed at $30,000 to remove and replace the roof. After a study of options the council may call a special meeting to finalize the decision.
The council voted to use John Nail Construction to replace the roof on the Kohn Memorial Library using architectural shingles, at an estimated cost of $2,700.
Bids will be advertised to construct a new concession stand, restrooms and storage at the ball park. Trusses have been donated for the concession stand, which will reduce the overall cost of construction.
The council went into executive session to discuss hiring. After reconvening the council voted to hire water clerk Dana McKuin as a full time employee at her current pay rate, effective immediately.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, July 26, at city hall.