Manila Council approves budget
Manila City Council approved the 2013 proposed budget, amended the 2012 budget, heard the state of the city address, and worked through other items on the agenda at the special called meeting on Wednesday.
All Council members, Larry "Whiz" Davis, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, Dale Murphy, Jason Baltimore, and Tony Hawkins, were present for the meeting.
Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner called the meeting to order presenting the resolution to amend the 2012 budget to comply with the exact expenditures for the year.
"Amending the budget is something we have to do each year," Mayor Wagner said. "It is impossible to know the exact amount that will come in or the exact expenses for the year."
The council voted unanimously to amend the budget. Amendments included $33,800 in the sanitation department; $21,200 in the parks and recreation (improvements for Building 100 and pool) expenditures; $30,700 water department; $22,000, swimming pool account for dirt work; $8,300 sewer department; $20,700 from the state to the fire pension; $2,700 transfer from Act 833 Fire Department.
"We have done a lot a lot of work in Manila over the last two years," Mayor Wagner said. "We have torn down 35 structures, hauled off tons of trash and much more and I want you to know we have more money in the bank than when we started. I hope we can say that at the end of next two years."
Mayor Wagner commended the council for a good year.
Mayor Wagner presented the 2013 proposed budget.
"This is an estimation of our expenditures," Mayor Wagner said. "We do not know how much we will have to spend on salaries for swimming pool personnel. We know we will need a manager, lifeguards, and concession workers. We can review the 2013 budget every quarter and amend it as needed along the way. We don't have to wait until the end of the year to make amendments."
Mayor Wagner said he had budgeted a little more in maintenance and operation as the city is finding a need for more repairs.
The board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed budget.
Mayor Wagner said they needed a job description for the pool/park manager at the February meeting.
Applications for the manager's position, lifeguards, and concession workers can be picked up at city hall. Anyone interested in acquiring their lifeguard certification can take the training in Paragould. If they are hired at the Manila pool, they can be reimbursed for the cost of their training.
Information on the positions and applications for work at the Manila water park/pool are available at city hall.
Mayor Wagner gave the State of City address saying Manila is in good shape.
"In the next two years during your terms, Highway 18 project will be completed from Rick Cherry's home to Jonesboro," Mayor Wagner said. "We hope that will be completed in the summer of 2015."
He said in the news on Wednesday the Big River Steel coming to Osceola will be a boost to the entire county. Jobs will be from 500 to 800 workers and it will take 1,500 to 2,000 jobs to build the plant. If all goes well the plant should be finished in 2015.
"We need to prepare our town for the opportunity this is giving us in Mississippi County," Mayor Wagner said.
He said the city of Manila has sold over 500 trash cans and have 80-plus on the waiting list. There should be 200 shipped Feb. 12.
"We have the pool/park project underway, medical facility expansion, Southworth expansion, and more," Mayor Wagner said. "We have to prepare streets and the sewer. There is no reason for us not to be successful. We need controlled growth. The state of the city is in super shape. Our books are open and anyone who wants to come in and look at them is welcome."
Mayor Wagner asked the council to consider regulating placement of mobile homes and work on a zoning map.
He asked the council to approve a 30 day moratorium on mobile homes until the council can decide on where they will be allowed.
This will not affect the mobile homes already in place.
Mayor Wagner said he is looking at ordinances in other towns and see what works well.
"What happens to the lots that are 50-feet wide," Councilman Hawkins asked?
"The council can give variances on individual cases," Mayor Wagner said. "We can address this if we work together. We may see a need to develop a mobile home park."
The council voted unanimously to the 30-day moratorium on the mobile home placement in the city until a zoning ordinance can be established.
Mayor Wagner also asked the council to consider zoning/regulations for placements of apartment complexes.
"Future apartment complexes will need to have ample parking spaces and be in areas zoned for apartments," Mayor Wagner said.
Mayor Wagner said he is planning to have a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, to meet with local contractors who might be planning on building apartments. This will give them a time to discuss the issue and look to the future.
The council voted unanimously to pass a 30-day moratorium on any building of apartments in the city of Manila.
In other business:
* Trash cans -- Mayor Wagner asked the council to be thinking about making the purchase and use of trash cans mandatory. He said 90 percent of the comments on the trash cans they have received have been favorable. He also pointed out using the trash can is not just for looks, it is for the protection of the city employees.
* Annexation -- Mayor Wagner said annexation in Manila has always been done on a volunteer basis. He said there is one pocket just off Highway 18 going onto Lake Street that has not been annexed. He said the council might consider annexation for this last house,
* Thank you -- Councilman Murphy thanked the business women for providing lunch at the county mayor's meeting held in Manila. Mayor Wagner said the city had received thank you notes from County Judge Randy Carney and John Ed Regenold, chairman of the Arkansas Highway Department.
* Building 100 -- The council discussed activities on the physical fitness complex, at Building 100, near the park. Mayor Wagner said there will be boot camp classes starting next week. A floor has been installed in one area for gymnastics, a batting cage from the school has been added, and the high school baseball team is already practicing. The building will be available for rent for private parties or other events. Manila youth teams will be able to schedule the building for practice at no charge.