Manila council sworn in
Members of the Manila City Council were sworn in before the first meeting of the year was called to order on Jan. 21.
Justice of the Peace Michael White conducted the ceremony as Larry "Whiz" Davis, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, Dale Murphy, Jason Baltimore, and Tony Hawkins took the oath of office.
The board approved unanimously Mayor Wagner's recommendation to reappoint Jackie Hill as chief of police; Henry Ford, water superintendent; Keith Bennett, fire chief; Shannon Langston, judge; and Wes Wagner, city attorney.
Mayor Wagner distributed a copy of a grant proposal application to the Arkansas Highway Department for the council members to review.
"The city attorney is not here tonight as he is delivering the grant application," Mayor Wagner said.
Mayor Wagner invited all council members to join the Mississippi County Mayor's meeting on Tuesday at the Manila Depot Center. Manila hosted the event and the guest speaker was John Ed Regenold, chair of the Arkansas Highway Commission.
Mayor Wagner updated the council on the trash can sales since a letter was sent out to all residents.
"We have sold out of trash cans and have 50 on waiting list," Mayor Wagner said. "Henry ordered 200 more. We have sold 568 on volunteer basis. At least 90 percent of the comments we have heard at city hall have been positive. We are delivering trash cans unless citizens just want to pick them up."
Superintendent Ford said he was told the next delivery will be in March. He is hoping it will be sooner.
The trash can prices will go up a couple dollars but the cost to the residents will remain $60 cash or $5 for a month for one year added to the water bills.
Mayor Wagner said Ford had been in contact with a company to do fire hydrant maintenance.
"These guys do maintenance on every fire hydrant," Ford said. "When he gets through all of the hydrants will be easy to open and close. All the leaks will be corrected."
Mayor Wagner said this can be done without shutting off the water.
"We will wait until warmer weather to have the work done but I wanted you aware of that upcoming project," Mayor Wagner said.
Mayor Wagner commended the beautification committee. Councilwoman Linda Donovan is serving as liaison between the committee and the city.
Mayor Wagner said the city will loan $1,000 for start up money so the trees can be put in the ground in a timely matter.
People can call city hall to donate a tree in honor or in memory of a loved one. City hall employees are taking up a collection to purchase a tree in the memory of Lowell Polston longtime owner of Pro Hardware who recently passed away.
Data will be kept with a listing of who purchased the trees and their location.
Mayor Wagner said they talked to a man with the Forestry Department while in Little Rock and he said he will be glad to come to Manila and do a presentation.
"We have found a good price for trees in Harrisburg," Mayor Wagner said. "The trees need to be in the ground before March 1. They are five to six inches in diameter and will cost about $100 to $110 each."
Mayor Wagner said the committee is looking at holly bushes and crepe myrtles, checking on magnolias, and more. White flags have been placed around the park for bushes, trees, etc.
"We have a lot of good things going on with the swimming pool project, Highway 18 widening, a new medical office being built, and a new bank being built," Mayor Wagner said. "Henry (Henry Ford, water superintendent) will be busy this summer. There will be water lines to move and a lot of work but we will deal with it. We are looking at grants to help with sewer projects."
Ford said if Manila has water lines on the highway right of way, then the city will be responsible for moving them.
In other business:
*Mayor Wagner read a letter from the First United Pentecostal Church thanking the city council and the county judge on the improvement project assisting in tearing down an old house. Mayor Wagner expressed his appreciation to County Judge Randy Carney for working with the city.
* Councilman Hawkins asked what the city is going to do with old police vehicles. Mayor Wagner said it was his understanding the city will take closed bids to sell them.
*Mayor Wagner said while in Little Rock they applied for a number to qualify the police and fire departments to purchase supplies from the military surplus warehouse. He said they will receive a list of items available.
*A special meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, to adopt the proposed budget, amend the 2012 budget, have the State of the City address, and other business.