Monette Council OKs fine ordinance, tables solid waste ordinance

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Monette city council worked through a busy agenda consisting of new ordinances, completion of sports park construction, and repairs to the Buffalo Island Museum at the regular city council meeting held Monday, Sept. 27.

Mayor Chub Qualls reviewed proposed Ordinance 2010-4 to levy and collect $20 with existing fines to incarcerated city prisoners to defray the $45 per day cost of imprisonment.

An emergency was declared and rules were suspended to pass the ordinance on all three readings.

Mayor Qualls reviewed proposed Ordinance 2010-5 regarding the solid waste management system, which provides for the collection of garbage and refuse, inspection of premises, fixing fees for such services, and penalties for violation.

"We have nine customers in the newly annexed areas that are delinquent on their sanitation bills," Qualls said. "This new ordinance will revise the 1954 ordinance that was started for garbage collection rates and such and make it possible for us to enforce collection of the past due fees."

After a lengthy discussion the council voted to table the proposed ordinance until the October meeting.

Previous fencing and lighting situations have been completed at the tennis courts and ball park. Trees were trimmed to provide adequate lighting.

The sewer skimmer project has been advertised, and bids will be opened Oct. 6.

Two versions of a sports park project were received from Gene Vance Construction Solutions.

"The original bid was $167,445," Qualls said. "That was more than we could afford at this time. Gene made $27,479 worth of changes to bring the bid down to $139,966. By changing the construction to a wood frame building he got it down to $129,500. That is what we were hoping for."

"We can get a loan and complete the project now and get our money back from the original grant to pay for it," Qualls said. "We will be able to get the approval from the state to make the changes."

"The life of a wood frame building is not going to be as good as the original plans," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "The block building added $10,000 and I think we need to stay with it."

"A steel frame is more durable than a wood frame," Alderman Perry Wood said. "This is a public building and will take a lot of wear and tear."

"The Monette Youth Association has $9,000 in its Maintenance Fund, which has been put aside from 10 percent of the gate proceeds," Alderman Billy Watson said. "This is an optional fund, and the city has control of the money."

"If we don't get it right on the front end of construction, you may have to kiss that $9,000 goodbye when things have to be repaired," Carroll said.

"We are also going to need a sewer grinder, and that would be another $5,000," Wood said.

"We need to finish this up right, even if we have to take it out of our pocket right now," Carroll said. "We would just end up paying it later down the way. We will have to add handicapped access also. We don't need to get in a hurry and end up jeopardizing the durability of the building."

"We will still need to finish the bleachers, covers, concrete pads and the dug-out tops," Qualls said. "There are some things we can't skimp on for sure, and they have to be done right."

"The structure needs to stay as secure as possible," Carroll said.

"It is pay now or pay later," Watson said. "We would just have to repair it later."

"I would like for us to work with the first bid," Wood said. "Changes inside we can work with, but the exterior needs to be sound."

"Let's do the best we can do with what we have, even if we have to add $10,000 more," Alderman Dick Pace said. "We can pay for the grinder out of the Maintenance Fund and have a one-year loan on the other. A loan of $85,000 would work and then we will get back $73,000 from the parks grant. This looks doable."

"We have rental signs on the fences, an ongoing brick project, and I think we would have even more interest when people see progress made," Watson said.

"We would need to let Gene (Vance) know," Qualls said.

"This will all be based on the MYA sticking together," Watson said. "They are all volunteers. We have had some ongoing problems and these will need to be straightened out."

"The MYA bickering and backbiting has got to stop," Alderman Bob Blankenship said. "The city has to stop it, so we can all work together on this."

"We will be looking at the city to pay for this, not the MYA," Pace said. "If the MYA comes through then that would sure be a plus."

"In the long run the city is accountable," Wood said. "Any variation will be controlled by the city."

Alderman Tom Carroll moved the city use $144,000 to do the construction, installation and operational hook-ups for water and sewer, plus the sewer grinder and use a line of credit of $90,000 with Liberty Bank. Watson seconded the motion. The council voted 4-0 to proceed with completion of the sports park project, with Alderman Pace abstaining.

Mayor Qualls discussed a request from Heath Sanders to use the old city landfill for BIC students who are studying animal husbandry. The school needs a place for the students to raise sheep and goats. Sanders is willing to raise funds for development of the property for that use.

"The property is currently grown up and is limited as to its use," Qualls said. "We could lease part of it or all of it."

"I think they can have all of it they want," Wood said.

"Edna May Way could possibly open up down there, from the north side," Qualls said. "We will have to look at it."

"Right now it is just sitting there growing up," Blankenship said. "This would keep the kids active. They have an agriculture instructor that is working hard and I think we should help on this."

"They could build it up and then set posts, but they can't dig in it due to environmental issues," Carroll said. "They can find a way to work that out."

The council agreed to open the discussion on this project with the BIC Administration.

The council discussed repair of the Buffalo Island Museum roof.

Qualls announced they had received a $5,270.95 Rural Development grant, and the museum currently has $4,679.85 in the treasury. The total cost for repair will be $11,500.

"The city will have to come up with $2,000 to get the job done," Qualls said. "They need to keep $500 in their treasury in case of an emergency."

"The roof has to be fixed," Alderman Joyce Read said. "The museum has done good to come up with that much money in the first place."

"It is either fix it, or lose what we have," Wood said.

The council voted unanimously to offset the $2,000 in expenses from city funds.

Qualls reported 42 customers had their water shut off with the new collection requirements, on Sept. 21, and all but two came in and paid before the end of the day. The new requirements and enforcement were deemed a success.

An area-wide yard sale will be held Oct. 2, followed by a fall clean up.

The Monette Christmas Parade is set for Dec. 2.

The next council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, at city hall.

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