Manila still searching for pool site

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

David Hopkins, engineer with Landmark Engineering Firm, was at the Manila City Council meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 21, to discuss possible sites for swimming pool construction.

David Hopkins, engineeer, shows a map of the airport and park grounds.

Hopkins presented a map showing a master 20-year plan developed in 2006 for the Manila Airport showing non-aviation and aviation areas. He pointed out one proposed site for the swimming pool/park complex along Davis Street is narrow. The area is 3,000 feet long and only 500 feet wide. Hopkins said it was not the ideal area for a recreational area.

Councilman Tony Hawkins asked about the 18 acres west of Southworth.

"Can we see if we can accumulate more land there, maybe a land swap," Hawkins asked.

The council had previously discussed placing the pool on at least 40 acres giving room for growth for walking trails, ball park, etc.

Councilman Donnie Wagner suggested giving the Mayor a week so he can look into finding possible sites.

Hopkins said the council needed to pick the best site for the project. He said his company would need to know by Christmas so they can start site work, take soil samples, work on infrastructure, etc. The site contract will need to go ahead of the pool contract.

Mayor Wagner said he had asked for a cost comparison to place the therapeutic pool and the seasonal pool at separate locations. He asked about placing the therapeutic pool between the airport center and the nursing home where it would be convenient for senior citizens and get maximum use.

A site meeting date was set for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, to allow Mayor Wagner look at options available.

A guest, Earl Jackson, asked if anyone with a comment or question will be allowed to speak. Mayor Wagner said guests will be able to discuss pool sites and encouraged all interested citizens to attend the meetings.

"We welcome citizens to all of our council meetings," Mayor Wagner said.

Representatives from SculpNet Web Site Development, Inc. met with the council discussing any changes and additions to the Manila City website. The site is up and running. The Council reviewed the pages making suggestions about links, photos, sizes, calendar of events, etc. There is a suggestion page allowing citizens to submit their comments. Councilman Jason Baltimore said he could make some of the changes.

To log on to the new Manila website persons may go to

The council agreed to purchase software for the program for one of the computers at city hall so changes and updates can be made. They also will look into hiring a person an hour or two a week.

Mayor Wagner and the council agreed they want people to be informed. Mayor Wagner said he would like to see the city's website with links to the school page, Town Crier, Manila alumni page, adding pictures of current events, etc.

The council voted, in lieu of salary increases, to give employees year end bonuses of $1,000 for Chief of Police Jackie Hill and Water Superintendent Henry Ford; full time employees $800; Brenda Watson $500; and part-time employees $300. Mayor Wagner said one employee would be pro-rated since he has not been full time long enough for the full bonus.

"We do the bonuses in lieu of salary increases," Mayor Wagner said. "If we had a lot of money I would give all our volunteer fireman and volunteer police officers bonuses. I hope they know how much we appreciate what they do."

Chief Keith Bennett addressed the council informing them of the runs (112) for the year. He said the grant resolution the council voted to allow him to pursue was put on hold until spring.

Mayor Wagner explained they found out only one GIF grant can be granted per year per city and Manila had filed for a grant for a sewer extension for a new medical facility. The Fire Department can file for the grant in the spring.

The council accepted the recommendation of Chief Bennett and the firefighters to place Bradley Dillon as a new firefighter.

"He will be a good one," Bennett said. "He received a unanimous vote by members of the fire department."

In other business:

*Mayor Wagner said trash cans the council approved to purchase went up to $68 with shipping. They are in the process of contacting other companies to see if the trash cans can be purchased for $60. Residents will be allowed to purchase the trash cans at cost with a one time payment or have $5 a month for a year placed on their water bill.

*Mayor Wagner said the budget comparison from last year had been reviewed. He said the city has been informed the cost of insurance will go up $85 per person per month in January and the increase will have to be budgeted for in 2012. Councilman Dale Murphy said overall it looked like the year's budget was well on track.

*Mayor Wagner said the auditors suggested the city pass an ordinance disclosing the Mayor and City Attorney are father and son. The Mayor and City attorney are elected positions but no one filed for the office of city attorney and Manila attorney Wes Wager was appointed by the city Council. The council passed the ordinance unanimously.

*The council voted unanimously to cap the number of vacation days employees can sell back up to 10 days and there will be no carry over days.

*Mayor Wagner said he would increase the proposed operating budget for 2012 by 3 percent.

*The council passed a resolution to accept the Dennis Farmer building, not the property, for the cost of the appraisal. The city will remove the building off the property. Council discussed several options for use of the building.

*Mayor Wagner commended Donna Jackson for the work she did in the successful Veterans Day program.

*He also commended Councilwoman Linda Donovan for the work she did for the senior citizens site. Donovan said they are averaging 50 seniors a day so far.

"We need to appreciate those senior citizens," Donovan said.

*The Christmas parade and Lions Club pancake supper will be held Saturday, Dec. 3. The pancake supper will begin at 5 p.m. and the parade starts at 6 p.m. Mayor Wagner said the Manila junior and senior cheerleaders will be the grand marshals this year.

*The council discussed city inspectors. Mayor Wagner said he had called Little Rock about requirements and city inspectors are not required. The gas and electric companies do their own inspections. The city does have a plumbing inspector. The state will provide a plumbing inspector if requested. Mayor Wagner informed the council if they wanted inspectors, he would need to put it in the 2012 budget and a committee will need to be appointed to come up with a job description.

*Wagner said he had the numbers from the Manila voting precincts and they are not equal with 21 A-B with 800 voters and the other two precincts with 240 and 280. Wagner said the law reads rezoning should be done after each census. Manila should have 900 to 1,100 residents in each precinct.

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