Manila Council amends 2011 budget
Manila Council members reviewed and accepted changes to the 2011 budget at the Monday, Feb. 27, meeting, adopting 2012-01 Ordinance.
Adjustments for the 2011 budget included: $44,700 in the Administrative Department for additional insurance and salaries; $93,200 fire department for a new fire truck; $15,500 police department computer system and new vehicle; $8,000 animal control; money transfers out of general account to utilities accounts to pay for Jim Berry building in the amount of $8,300, sanitation $17,700; parks and recreation $9,400 for renovations to sports complex, and sewer expansion $1,100. Mayor Wagner said adjustments for the water department are being made each time due to the purchase of garbage cans.
"Once we sell them the money goes back in the water department," Mayor Wagner said. "We sold the first 100 and ordered another 100 and have sold 33 of those in two weeks."
Council members voted unanimously to amend the 2011 budget as presented.
All council members, Larry "Whiz" Davis, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, Dale Murphy, Jason Baltimore, and Tony Hawkins, were present.
The board then voted 6-0 to accept Ordinance 2012-02, the 2012 budget, as presented to the council by Mayor Wagner.
"Basically it is the same as 2011," Mayor Wagner said. "There is less than five percent difference anywhere."
The board welcomed Elroy Brown with the Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas who spoke to the council about making city parks tobacco free.
Brown expressed his appreciation to the council for allowing him to speak to them about making the city park tobacco free.
"The cities of Gosnell, Blytheville, Luxora, and Osceola have adopted tobacco free parks," Brown said. "I talked with Leachville last week and I will be going to Wilson and Joiner. Manila is part of Mississippi County. I have been working with state leaders. We are not going away."
Brown shared statistics on the health issues of smoking.
"If you adopt a tobacco free park, we will provide signs," he said. "The majority of people will obey the law."
Mayor Wagner asked if a designated smoking area outside the park was established could Manila still be considered a smoke free park. He also asked about possible grants for smoke free zones.
He discussed the possibility of grant money for the purchase of a golf cart to help senior citizens or people with health problems to go from their vehicles to the park.
"We could put SOS signs on the golf cart," Wagner said.
Dale Murphy said it would also take care of the littering problem of cigarette butts all over the park.
Baltimore pointed out there is no smoking inside the ball park due to league rules.
"If it becomes a smoke free park, it will take pressure off the park directors and coaches," Mayor Wagner said. "The council will discuss it at the next council meeting and get back with you."
Manila homeowners Mr. and Mrs. Randy Fleeman addressed the council about a variance to build a two car garage addition on their home.
Mayor Wagner said they had visited the property and the garage will not affect traffic flow or neighbors. The city owns the property next to their property and the Fleemans have maintained it for years.
The council voted unanimously to grant the variance.
Mayor Wagner asked the council to consider the ward redistricting map as presented.
"I know this is a population thing but I checked and the number of voters are still the same," Councilman Murphy said.
"The law doesn't say voters, it reads population," Mayor Wagner said.
The proposed redistricting is:
Ward 1 will begin at the intersection of Boston Street and West Lake Street. That area north of Lake Street, West of Boston Street, to the intersection of Olympia Street and Boston Street, then North of Olympia Street, to the intersection of Olympia and Highway 18 then north of North Highway 18.
Ward 2 will be east of Boston Street, from Lake Street to Highway 18, south of Lake Street, north of Highway 18.
Ward 3 will be South of Highway 18 to the intersection of Highway 18 and West Olympia Street, then south of West Olympia to the intersection of West Olympia and Boston Street, then West of Boston Street to the intersection of south Boston and Highway 18 and then that area south of Highway 18.
"I think the guy did a good job (with the map)," Councilman Baltimore said. "I would like to put the map out there for feed back. I don't see anyway we could do a better job than this but I would like to hear from the public."
"Whoever plans to run may need to know about the changes," Councilman Murphy said.
Councilman Baltimore suggested a special meeting next week.
"I've talked to election people and people in Little Rock and I've been told we don't have to do it," Councilman Hawkins said. "The way it is drawn out is a good way if we ever do it. The timing, for my part, is what I don't like."
Mayor Wagner pointed out Ward 1 is larger than Ward 2 and Ward 3 combined.
Councilman Wagner said it doesn't keep anyone from voting.
Mayor Wagner said he did not have a problem with a special meeting before voting for final passage.
The ordinance was read in its entirety the first time.
A meeting was set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at city hall for the purpose of discussing and reading the ordinance a third time on the proposed ward redistricting.
Manila Chief of Police Jackie Hill showed metal signs used to show where level 4 sex offenders reside.
"We get information on sex offenders and they have 10 days to register with us or they go back to jail," Chief Hill said.
Hill said they are supervising five sex offenders in the city limits and there are several outside of the city limits monitored by the count.
"We are aware of them also and keep an eye on all of them," Chief Hill said.
Mayor Wagner gave a state of the city address.
"The city is financially in sound condition," he said. "The high gas prices facing us is a concern. We also are looking at having to move our utilities. The cost for that is unknown."
He talked about the city development including new construction, a new clinic on the drawing board, a new Dollar General.
"All of this is good but with development comes expenses to the city," Mayor Wagner said. "Working together, we have accomplished a lot including the Jim Berry shop; batting cages in building 100; new West Mississippi County Senior Center with 50-60 attending every day; new hangar buildings are completed; we are applying for a grant for a new terminal building at the airport, and clean-up has gone well taking down 15 old houses and two businesses."
He said Fire Chief Keith Bennett and Chief Hill are looking at the storm sirens making sure they are up and working.
Mayor Wagner asked the council to spend time riding around in their wards to see what needs to be done, if street lights are working, etc.
"With the pool/park project going on I need your help on what needs to be done," he said.
The community center has a new heating and air system.
"I think the web page and the big screen at the community center are big deals for the community," he said. "All and all we have had a good year and I hope you see it the same way. I am going to Little Rock to meet with architects about drawings for the pool."
The council discussed possible street work for the year depending on funds.
The council went into executive session but took no action.