Manila City Council welcomed Janella Caraway to the May 21 meeting. Ms. Caraway signed the deed for land where the new swimming pool/water park will be located on the corner of Davis and Lake Streets.
"One year from this weekend, we will be holding a dedication service at the new pool," Mayor Wagner said. "We are proud of what it will do for our community."
Mayor Wagner said the money in the old swimming pool account was used to purchase the land. He informed the council a meeting will be held with the architects on June 21 and bids should follow shortly.
"They have assured us the pool will be ready to open this time next year," Mayor Wagner said.
"I've been to the Paragould pool and the fence they put up really makes the property look good," Councilman Jason Baltimore said.
Mayor Wagner said he would talk to local businesses to see what a fence would cost. They also discussed landscaping at the park, sidewalks, parking, etc.
"There is not a lot we can do about the landscaping until fall," Mayor Wagner said.
Prior to the meeting, several council members met at the old pool house at the city park. They discussed turning the old pool house into offices for the future pool/park manager.
They have enough glass windows and doors to place on the side facing the park. Mayor Wagner said there are no leaks in the building and the concrete is good. The plumbing works in both bathrooms and it would make a good meeting area with room for a small kitchenette area and a nice office.
Mayor Wagner said the building could also be used by the youth association for sign-ups, team parties, etc.
The council decided to go forward and take bids on the renovation needed to convert the pool house into an office/meeting facility.
Mayor Wagner said the city is still having problems with drainage.
"We are still having problems with residents putting limbs, trash, leaves and debris in the ditches," Wagner said. "It is working our crew to death as it is happening every month."
He asked the council to be thinking of ways to correct the problem.
The council went into executive session to discuss personnel.
Following the executive session, Mayor Wagner recommended hiring Brandon Harper as police officer.
"Chief Jackie Hill recommended Mr. Harper, and I confer," Mayor Wagner said. "He will be replacing Todd Emison who has been gone almost a year."
"I don't think we would be able to get anyone with better credentials," Councilman Larry "Whiz" Davis said.
Councilmen Davis, Jason Baltimore, Dale Murphy, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, voted yes and Councilman Tony Hawkins abstained from voting.
Harper will start work June 1.
In other business:
*Mayor Wagner informed the council the highway department will be moving utilities along Highway 18. The Manila City sign located near Vada Adkins' house will have to be removed. The highway department has offered the city $8,000 for the sign. Mayor Wagner suggested accepting the offer and putting a new sign farther west. The council voted 6-0 to accept the offer.
*Mayor Wagner informed the council the air conditioner on the north side of city hall has gone out. It is close to 20 years old. The council agreed to take bids on replacing the unit.
*Mayor Wagner informed the council he had received notice the municipal health insurance will be going down. This will save the city approximately $90 per person.
*Councilman Hawkins asked about the city having some dead trees removed from the country club. Mayor Wagner said they will need to mark the trees they want removed.
*Water and sewer superintendent Henry Ford said the city had purchased 300 trash cans and had 11 left. He reported 43 percent paid $60 cash and 57 percent purchased the cans by having $5 a month for one year put on their water bill. He said the city is looking at getting tilters for the truck which will help the workers. More cans will be ordered.
*Councilman Baltimore reminded council members to let him know if they want events added to the city's web page. People should let Susie Baker (city hall office) know and she will contact Baltimore.
*Councilman Wagner suggested getting the word out to area teenagers to start getting their lifeguard certifications. The city will need at least eight to 10 life guards trained when the pool opens. Mayor Wagner said he would check to see where they can go for training.
*The board agreed to change the June meeting to Monday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m. This will give the council time to meet with the architects during the Municipal League and have more information on the final plans of the swimming pool project.