Leachville Council talks equipment purchases, annexation
The Leachville City Council voted to purchase a new police vehicle, new tractor for the street department, new side mower for the street department and an aerator for the water department during its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 13.
All the new equipment purchases were included in this year's budget and all will be purchased on five year lease purchase agreements. In his report to the board Police Chief Keith Evans presented the council with two bids for a new police truck. One bid for 23,474, which did not include a tool box, and a bid for 24,769 that did include a built in tool box. Police lieutenant Chuck Brown said the box included in the higher bid would be plastic and would not protect the department's weapons or emergency gear.
The Council agreed to purchase the truck without a tool box for $23,474 and set aside the $1,295 difference in the bids to allow the department purchase a better tool box for the new truck.
Evans also said that since the city's warrants have been entered into the state system the department is having to make several late night trips to pick up prisoners including a 2 a.m. trip to Little Rock. The police department does not have a credit card to pay for gas on trips back from picking up prisoners, which has caused some officers to pay out of their own pockets. The council unanimously approved each officer having a gas card for emergency uses such as middle of night trips and each officer will be responsible for keeping up with their receipts.
In the street department report public works director Dickie Colburn told the council the city's dump truck is having brake issues that he hopes a $400 booster will repair. The council also reviewed a bid it received last month for $50,000 to purchase a New Holland tractor for the street department. The council unanimously approved a motion to purchase the tractor, trade in two old tractors and use the money from the trade in to purchase a side mower for the street department.
City Clerk Ruth Keith presented the council with two quotes for lease purchase agreements. Heritage Bank in Leachville quoted four percent interest with a payment over $900 a month. First National Bank in Leachville quoted a 3.75 percent interest rate with a cheaper payment. The council agreed to go with First National Bank for the five year lease purchase agreements for both the tractor and police vehicle.
The council also agreed to purchase a new aerator for the water department at $79,000. The piece of equipment was included in the budget and will also have to be purchased on a five year lease purchase agreement.
Keith did get a quote of 4 percent from Heritage Bank but had not yet gotten a quote from First National Bank. The council voted unanimously to go with the bank that had the cheapest interest rate regardless of which bank it was.
In other business the council unanimously agreed to revise the area for proposed annexation. The city obtained a legal description of both going a quarter mile and half mile to section lines. After looking at the maps the council voted to revise the proposed annexation area to a quarter of a mile. The area will now be on N 49 (Wildy Road) across from the Leachville turnoff on Highway 18 to the curve, down Highway 18 to the county line and a quarter of a mile on each side of Highway 18. The area also includes county road N 17 to Buffalo Ditch and South on County Road N 17 to W 314. The council also voted to proceed with getting the cost of a survey. To get the annexation on the primary election ballot it will need to be submitted to the county by March 6.
The council also approved the hire of three firemen that completed their probation and two that are starting their probation period. That will bring the department up to its full 25 members. Alderman David Wallace asked what had come of the two retired firemen that were having trouble getting their pension due to lack of documentation of their exact retirement date. Mayor Sheila Spurlock said it stayed the same despite Mrs. Keith's and others efforts to get those benefits reinstated.
"I think we are obligated to fight for the firefighters that have protected us," Wallace said. "I think we should ask Chris (Jester), our attorney, to write a letter and include witness statements to take a more official approach to this."
The council agreed unanimously to have the city attorney to write a letter to the state board and include witness statements from those that could verify how long the two firemen actually worked to see if the city can help get benefits for those two families.
Mayor Spurlock said the city has a good working 2014 budget and two very important things it's working on this year.
"One is annexation," Spurlock said. "Two is city clean-up. We need your help with that. I ask each of you to make note of any property you see that needs to be condemned or cleaned up as you drive around town. Bring those suggestions to us and lets get started getting some of these places torn down."
Spurlock told the council several property owners have already been served and the city will need to proceed with getting some of those condemned in the future. She said it might be possible to get the county to come in and tear down some of the city's condemned houses and buildings.
During the meeting the council agreed to change its meeting day to the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of City Hall.
Before the council adjourned the board was asked by city employees to look into getting a retirement plan for those in the water, street and administrative offices. Mayor Spurlock said she would look into it and see what options were available.