Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner opened the Dec. 17 meeting with a message of good things happening in the community. He discussed the progress of the new baseball field, the swimming pool project underway, beautification committee plans, clean-up efforts and more.
Mayor Wagner complimented the parade committee for a great parade.
"I have heard good comments on the parade and the lights along the highway," Councilman Jason Baltimore said.
Mayor Wagner said he has started on a 2013 budget and will be ready to approve the budget at the January meeting. He welcomed the council to stop by and review the budget and offer any suggestions.
Mayor Wagner informed the council the fire hydrants around town will be checked and some will need to be replaced.
"Once we get an estimate of the cost and how many will need to be replaced, I will get back with you," Wagner said.
Council members were asked to let Rebecca Hartgraves, city bookkeeper, to know about their insurance needs. They can make changes or sign up in January.
Mayor Wagner said they will meet on Jan. 17 in Little Rock while they are at the Municipal League meetings to look at colors, equipment, etc. for the swimming pool.
Fire Chief Keith Bennett addressed the council requesting the approved of a new fireman.
"On Oct. 25 we (the firemen) voted to approve Sonny Ray Dill as a member of the fire department," Chief Bennett said. "I would recommend and ask your permission to add him to the department. He has done a good job for us so far."
Council members voted unanimously to appoint Dill to the fire department.
All new firemen are placed on a one year probation period.
The department has 23 firemen as of now but will be losing one in February due to a move and one possible retirement.
Chief Bennett expressed the department's appreciation to the city's support of the fire department.
"We answered 135 calls this year," he said.
Mayor Wagner and the council expressed their appreciation to the fire department.
"We are discussing putting the police officer back on the fire department," Mayor Wagner said.
The council discussed at some point making city trash cans mandatory so the trucks can automatically pick up the cans, saving the worker's backs. The city has cans available that can be purchased at the city's cost of $60 or have $5 a month for a year placed on their water bill.
"Residents can purchase similar trash cans anywhere they want to but I don't think they will find them any cheaper," Mayor Wagner said.
"I would like to see the police crack down on littering," Councilman Baltimore said. "I hate seeing trash all along the streets."
Mayor Wagner said the beautification committee will meet and go through the park and the city to see where they want to start.
"Trees need to be out in February," Mayor Wagner said. "We are looking at placing 100 trees and shrubs in the new park area."
The council went into a short executive session. After the closed session, the council voted to give Officer Jarred Camp a $600 a year raise starting Jan. 1, 2013.
They also voted unanimously to give Rebecca Hartgraves, Susie Baker and Mayor Wagner a $20 a week raise, retroactive from Sept. 1, and give the Mayor the same bonuses as given to the department heads.
The next regular City Council meeting will be at 6:30 p.m.