The Leachville City Council met on Monday, December 10, and reviewed the 2013 budget, and discussed a pending ordinance.
The council evaluated interest bearing accounts within the city verses interest on outstanding loans, in order to study the feasibility of paying off some loans early that have higher interest rates than current savings.
"We have done a great job of getting the debt down," said Alderman David Wallace. "Now it is time to go back and pay some things off with the possibility of lowering some fees."
City Treasurer Ruth Keith stated that some city loans were locked in for 30 years and could not be paid off early. Also the existing water and sewer fees cannot be lowered for 30 years.
"Is the city using money in those accounts that prevents bills from being lowered or paid off early?" said Tom Puckett.
"Yes, but those rates are set for 30 years," said Keith. "We had to borrow from the fund to work on streets and take care of city needs. After 2016 we can start paying off on the bottom end of the loan."
"I don't see how people can see daylight on this, if you'll keep borrowing money to fix streets and things," Puckett said.
"When the rates were set there was a shortage in the water funds," said Tommy Stone.
"The thing that hurts us is the variable expenses," said Keith. "We have worked to collect outstanding water bills."
"Everything that has been done has been done for the community as a whole," Mayor Spurlock said.
"If we didn't draw out of the fund, then come 2016 we could pay a large portion of the debt," said Wallace.
Mayor Spurlock and the council agreed to see what could be done with early pay-offs.
Police Chief Keith Evans reported fine monies turned over to the General Fund in November totaled $2,960.00. Twenty traffic citations were written and criminal arrest were listed at 10. A MPH Radar unit was purchased with the Jag Grant for $1,174.44 and an ID Maker at $1,730.18.
First Responder Teresa Johnson and Fire Chief Mark Johnson gave the Fire Department report, which listed responding to two structure fires and several First Responder calls. Larry's Pump Service will be conducting a pump test on equipment on December 20. The department reported a need of a place to park the rescue truck, with potential enlargement of fire department or an addition. No decisions were made at this time.
Discussion continued on Ordinance 2012-2, which establishes requirements for location and safety of manufactured homes within the city. Several Mobile Park owners and personal mobile home owners were present and took part in the discussion.
Mayor Spurlock explained that existing manufactured home owners and park owners would be grandfathered in and the new ordinance would not apply to them.
"No other mobile homes will be available for rent with this ordinance," Spurlock said.
Tom Puckett and Harold Posey both addressed the council about issues dealing with the potential passage on the new ordinance. Concerns about ownership of lot and ownership of mobile unit on lot, marketability of the small lots left after mobile home moved off and what would become of them. Lots would be to small to qualify for another owner to place a mobile home on due to new footage guidelines.
"There are a lot of gray areas here," said Alderman Bruce Wilson.
After further discussion, the council tabled the second reading of the proposed ordinance, until more information could be obtained.
The council reviewed bids from several brass, granite, urethane, and steel markers for the new "Welcome to Leachville Sign" being erected on Highway 18. Prices ranged from $823 to $5,000 each. After a lengthy discussion the council voted to purchase a 3x5 foot powder coated steel sign from Al Crenshaw for $823.00, who agreed to install it. The colors will be decided at a later date.
Buffalo Island Veterans Park Committee meeting on December 12. Committee Treasurer Marlyn Looney passed out minutes from the committee meeting held on December 10. Other committee members include Chairman Scott Adams, Mayor Sheila Spurlock, Karen Wallace, Kay Hultquist, Barbara Lloyd, and Joe Hultquist.
Looney reported that the committee had transferred all park property deeds to the City of Leachville. An independent fund will be maintained to meet additional needs of the park, as well as potential purchase of new monuments in the future. The charge for adding a name to the monument has been raised from $50 to $70.
The council approved the proposed 2013 city budget, after a lengthy discussion.
Nearly 700 old Melody Theater seats will be advertised for sale by sealed bids, with best offer by January 1, 2013. The buyer must agree to remove all of the seats after purchase.
Mayor Spurlock and the council expressed their appreciation to Alderman Wilson, for his faithful years of service.
"I have enjoyed working with this council, and feel we have made a lot of progress in balancing our budget and looking to the future of our city," said Wilson.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on January 14, 2013, at 7 p.m. at city hall.