Manila department heads are reappointed for 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Manila's newly elected Mayor Wayne Wagner presided over the first council meeting of the year on Monday night, Jan. 17. The three new council members, Dale Murphy, Tony Hawkins and Jason Baltimore, were welcomed by returning councilmen Larry "Whiz" Davis, Linda Donovan, and Donnie Wagner.

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner presides at the first meeting of the year. Pictured are City Attorney Wes Wagner, and new council members Dale Murphy, Tony Hawkins and Jason Baltimore. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

The council agreed to leave the regular meetings at the same time. Manila Council will continue to meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month.

Mayor Wagner recommended reappointments of Jackie Hill, police chief; Keith Bennett, fire chief; and Henry Ford, water superintendent. The council voted unanimously for all three to remain in their positions.

Mayor Wagner updated the council on the progress of the new maintenance facility building project.

Wagner said he and Superintendent Henry Ford would meet Tuesday with architects to discuss the municipal maintenance facility building project.

"We should have some final numbers by the February meeting," he said. "Everything has been approved. We had hoped to have it underway by now."

Keith Merritt of Brookland is the contractor for the project and Little and Associates is serving as the architect firm. The new building will be constructed behind the new fire station off Olympia Street.

Following the reading of Ordinance 2001-01, council voted unanimously to amend the 2010 budget to include all changes in expenditures.

Mayor Wagner explained the amendments are necessary due to transfers or unexpected expenditures throughout the year.

Mayor Wagner presented the proposed 2011 budget.

"It is almost identical to last year's budget," he said. "We do have a new police vehicle budget proposal included. It was also in the 2010 budget but it was not ordered.

The council unanimously approved Ordinance 2011-02, adopting the proposed 2011 budget.

Mayor Wagner recommended the hiring of the same City Judge, Shannon Langston, and Wes Wagner as city attorney at the same salaries.

Mayor Wagner said he will make sure the proper paperwork is filed due to the fact Wes Wagner is a relative of the Mayor and Councilman Donnie Wagner.

City clean up was discussed.

"Through the campaign I heard a lot about city clean up," Wagner said. "Henry and I got together and we are going to look at having the transfer station open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays and let the residents of Manila dispose of unwanted items and trash at no charge. We are not talking about contractors using it to dump a lot of scrap building material. We just want to start the process to help with clean-up."

The board did not express any objection to allowing Mayor Wagner and Ford look into hiring part-time help to man the transfer station during the new hours.

Councilman Wagner also suggested looking into sharing the city's backhoe and driver to help with the clean-up effort.

"That is a good idea," Mayor Wagner said. "Henry and I will look at this. If some people had access to a backhoe for 30 minutes or an hour a lot could be done."

Mayor Wagner said the city has to be careful about using city equipment on private property. He said they would look into making it available at a specified clean-up time.

Mayor Wagner announced the Manila City Court will be going to day court. Court will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

"Judge Langston has recommended going to a day court," Mayor Wagner said. "If it does not work, it can always be moved back."

Mayor Wagner said Judge Langston and Chief Hill have recommended the city pass an ordinance to add $20 additional charge on all tickets written in the city. The additional fee will be placed in a special account and can only be used to pay jail fees charged to the city.

"I will say we have the lowest court costs around," Mayor Wagner said. "The additional charge just catches us up with most of the other towns."

Wagner went on to explain to the new council members when the Manila court sends anyone to the county jail there is a $55 a day charge to the city.

Following the discussion, the council voted unanimously to pass Ordinance 2011-3 in favor of the additional $20 charge.

Councilman Davis said there are several security lights not burning throughout the town.

"We are being charged if they are on or not," he said. "I counted about seven."

The Mayor asked anyone to get a number off the pole or call in the location to city hall and they would make the electric company aware of the problem.

Councilman Baltimore said they will need to sit down and talk about a swimming pool or a water park.

Mayor Wagner said the city needs a game plan on the swimming pool. He had talked to Candy Thomas, who works with the city on preparing grant proposals, while he was at the Municipal League meetings. He said he hoped to have information for the February meeting.

Councilman Murphy asked about street repairs and requests.

"We usually do the work in the fall," Mayor Wagner said. "Looks like there will not be a lot of money for paving this year. We have done a good job building new streets but there are some streets we really need to work on."

"If anyone sees a pot hole that needs repair let me know," Henry Ford said.

Councilman Baltimore said he would like to make a presentation for a city website in February.

Mayor Wagner asked him to bring a proposal to the February meeting.

Mayor Wagner thanked the council for a productive first meeting.

"We have a lot to do this year," he said. "We had a good first meeting."

Attorney Wes Wagner thanked the council for the opportunity to serve the city.

"If you have any questions just call me," he said.

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