Monette Council addresses development

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Monette City Council discussed planning and development for the city, received a council resignation, and approved a policeman's pay increase at the meeting held Monday, April 15.

Brian Thompson, with East Arkansas Planning and Development District, addressed the council concerning their desire to develop a community and economic development strategy.

Thompson reviewed procedures for engaging everyone in the community in strategy planning, quality of life, transportation and land use, housing, timeliness, top 10 economic development strategies, and the future beyond 2013.

"We want to look at the future of our town and how we want it to grow, Mayor Chub Qualls said.

Members of the Monette Planning Commission were in attendance.

After a short executive session the council approved a raise of $2,000 for policeman Kevin Bond, who has completed his certification program.

Alderman Joyce Read announced her retirement from the council, and expressed her plans to move to Memphis soon.

"You have certainly been good to our city," Mayor Qualls said. "We appreciate all you have done through the years and will certainly miss you."

Mayor Qualls announced he had been contacted by John O'Brian, of Frolic Footwear, concerning the sale of their former plant in Monette.

"I have had two or three people contact me about wanting to purchase the property," Qualls said. "No set price has been given. We are interested in the property but are concerned about the cost. Frolic has given their Jonesboro property to the City of Jonesboro."

The council was not interested in assuming responsibility for Highway 18, 139 inside the city limits, and Mayor Qualls notified the Arkansas Highway Department of their decision.

Mayor Qualls reported the storage cabinets in the Water Department had been installed.

Only three people were in attendance for the open forum to discuss the proposed city sales tax, which was held at 6 p.m. preceding the council meeting. The sales tax recommendation will be placed on the election ballot for May 14.

The council discussed unsightly property conditions on the Robert Fry property on Highway 18, west of the city.

"This problem has gone on too long," Alderman Shawn Nance said. "The problem continues to exist."

"When it ceases to be a construction zone it needs to be fixed," Alderman Tom Carroll said.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael was instructed to deliver a letter to Fry from the city concerning improvements and ordinance regulations. Carmichael was asked to report back at the May meeting.

Mayor Qualls reported water lines on Alena Street are complete, and plans are to set the water meter on April 16.

Councilmen were asked to contact City Recorder Vickki Carroll if they plan to attend the Arkansas Municipal League Convention in Hot Springs.

The council voted to raise the city's return check fee from $10 to $25, effective immediately.

City Attorney Johnny Dunigan was asked by the Monette Cemetery Board to draw up an ordinance amending cemetery rules requiring two signatures on new deeds, ratifying former deeds from 2012, and any deeds signed prior to that.

Alderman Phillip Duffel reported on his continued study of the Sanitation Department and potential need for increases.

"We have the cheapest sanitation rates around," Duffel said. "Some are $15 a month. Tipping fees increase all the time."

"I think we need to wait until after the sales tax vote to make any changes," Alderman Tom Carroll said. "It will take us six months to receive money from the tax increase, if it passes."

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at city hall.

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