The Monette City Council approved a $700 salary increase for the nine full time city employees and Mayor Chub Qualls at the regular council meeting held Monday, Jan. 16. A salary freeze was set for council members and the city clerk/treasurer.
The council discussed reimbursement for the Water Department secretary for local runs to the post office, etc.
"If we reimburse other employees to go to Jonesboro, we should reimburse someone to go to the post office," Alderman Dick Pace said. "How do you differentiate between them? We can address this with our upcoming policy handbook."
"If we pay one, we should pay all," Alderman Phillip Duffel said.
The council approved the 2012 City Budget after reviewing and discussing the detailed listings for each department.
Gene Wood, with Wood Software Inc. in Jonesboro, addressed the council concerning support software for the use of reading radio frequency water meters. Wood has 30 years experience as a computer programmer and his program has been used by the Monette Police Department since 1995.
Wood proposed a package for his company to read the radio frequency meters at a set fee per month, which would save the city an investment in other specialized computer programs ranging in cost of $25,000 or more.
"Software vendors talk with the world with interface," Wood said. "I would use an electronic I.D. unique with the meter. I would then transmit the data to the Water Department and they would decode it. I have been doing this for years and have never lost any data yet. There has been no security breach."
The council considered using the potential savings in computer software expenditures to convert the system to electronic water meters.
"Within three years we could get transitioned over, if we didn't have to buy meters," Alderman Tom Carroll said.
Mayor Chub Qualls reported work completed on the alley behind Nance and Stewart Streets.
The 1988 Nissan service truck has been traded for a more serviceable unit, at no cost.
Mayor Qualls reported that city employees were pricing equipment for sale and would be placing the items in front of city hall for viewing.
Owens Roofing and Repair will be repairing the entire roof at the old city hall, at a price ranging from $500 to $700, according to supplies needed.
Reports of clothes damaged in washing machines were reported. This happened during the time water lines were being backwashed. City Clerk Vickki Carroll reported a special white-clothes-only treatment could be picked up at city hall.
Fire Chief and Alderman Bob Blankenship proposed that funds from the $6,000 revenue received from Emerson Ambulance Service be used to purchase a new emergency siren for placement at the fire department.
"We will need $4,500 for the cost of the siren and installation," Blankenship said. "If and when the city has the funds, then the fund can be reimbursed. Century Siren Company out of Oklahoma City has been contacted about the purchase and installation."
The council unanimously approved the purchase and installation.
Blankenship reported an estimated 135,000 gallons of water was used to contain the fire damage at the Monette Co-Op last year. A strain was placed on the water system, and the council discussed need for potential reimbursement.
A request was made for a change in water pumps with regulation by use of butterfly valves. Alderman Carroll agreed to check out the situation and report at February meeting.
Blankenship reported the next fire department truck payment of $21,000 was due this month.
"Since the old water tower is listed as a historical marker, would there be any funding available to keep it in service?" Carroll said.
Mayor Qualls agreed to check into the possibility of securing funding for servicing the water tower.
An animal ordinance exception request from a resident east of Monette was denied. The request concerned allowing sheep to be kept inside the city limits for a school fair project.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at city hall.