The Monette City Council accepted the resignation of city employee and discussed upcoming budget concerns at the regular council meeting held Monday, Nov. 22.
The council accepted the resignation of Ray Wycoff, effective Dec. 1. Wycoff has been with the city for 14 years. Plans are to accept applications to fill his position.
The council discussed expenses involved in garbage pick-up and the feasibility of hiring an independent contractor to take over the operation.
"We don't really know where we stand with sanitation, as we do not get a true picture of the money in that account," Alderman Perry Wood said.
Money collected for sanitation fees comes into the water office and is periodically deposited into designated accounts. City Clerk Vickki Carroll gave a current update on Sanitation Department funds.
"Our Sanitation Department has kept the Water Department afloat for years," Alderman Tom Carroll said.
"We are needing a new truck to make our runs," Qualls said. "We are the only town except Jonesboro and Bay in all of Craighead County that does its own pick-up."
"Bill (Benham) spends 80 percent of his time on the garbage truck, along with Ray (Wycoff)," Mayor Chub Qualls said. "Only one man is paid out of the Sanitation Department. Now we have to consider buying a truck."
"I have been told that Deadman Sanitation has not gone up on their rates for five years and they give five percent of their collections back to the city," Qualls said. "After I put a pencil to it, it looks like it might be cheaper for us to use a contractor than do it ourselves."
"The logic is not there," Carroll said. "The Sanitation Department is keeping it all going. I had rather us keep our own sanitation if there is any way we can afford it."
"Tom (Carroll) has a valid point," Alderman Perry Wood said. "The money from that department has been shifted over to other things. We fixed the Water and Sewer Departments with the Sanitation funds. I think we need to look at this closer."
"We haven't had a truck payment in three years," Alderman Dicky Pace said. "We still have a situation here."
The council voted to form a Sanitation Department Study Committee to consider the feasibility of continuing with present pick-up policy or to use an independent contractor. Aldermen Wood, Carroll and Billy Watson will serve on the committee.
Mayor Qualls announced the 2011 City Budget would be ready for approval at the December meeting. The council reviewed the 2010 budget.
"It looks like we are going to operate in a deficit again this year," Wood said. "Where is the money for the future to cover all this? We have addressed this before and now we are done."
"We need to look at new income, at growth as well as sales tax increases," Watson said.
"We haven't fixed it yet," Wood said.
"I think we have," Pace said. "It is going to take us three years to get back to zero, according to our plan."
"We are going to have a loss without the Rural Water income," Wood said.
"Rural Water was not even in our income considerations when we worked on our plan for increases," Watson said.
"They were not even counted as income," Pace said. "In three years we will be O.K."
Mayor Qualls reported the Buffalo Island Museum roof project was completed and paid for.
City Christmas decorations have been completed and official holiday lighting was set for Thanksgiving at 6 p.m.
The city Christmas Parade will be held Monday, Dec. 6, beginning at 7 p.m. Flagger Street will be blocked adjacent to the museum and library for serving hot beverages during the parade.
City Hall will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving, and Friday, Dec. 24, and Monday, Dec.27, for Christmas. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec.13, at city hall. The council voted to hold council meetings on the third Monday due to conflicts with Alderman Bob Blankenship attending Quorum Court meetings on the fourth Monday.
Alderman Carroll announced the Gene Vance Company would dig footing this week and start construction of the new concession stand and bathrooms at the Monette Ballpark Complex.
"We sure appreciate you doing all the leg work on this," Alderman Billy Watson said.
"There is 200 amp service for the concession stand, and Entergy will mount a meter on the transformer when it gets to that point," Carroll said.
The council approved a request from Craighead County Emergency Services to pay 75 cents for each call to 911, as part of a reimbursement solution.
The council voted to approve the appointment of Skip Layne as Monette Housing Authority Commissioner for another five-year term of office. Layne has served for 16 years. There are no term limits.
The council declared an emergency and passed Ordinance 2010-5, regulating solid waste management system guidelines, on the second and third readings.