Manila Council approves appointment of new fire chief

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Mollie Baltimore, marketing specialist with Hospital Wing, addressed the Manila City Council.

Manila City Council approved the appointment of a new fire chief, discussed entering a membership program with Hospital Wing for city employees, and set a spring clean-up date at the Monday, March 17, meeting.

The council discussed annexing the country club (golf course) into the city limits. The city owns the property.

Mayor Wayne Wagner said the city has no intentions of changing or interfering with the day to day operation of the golf course. The only reason the city officials would consider annexing the property is if it would be helpful in applying for grants or receiving any type of funding for improvements. Mayor Wagner said he would meet with representatives in Little Rock to see if it would make a difference.

Mollie Baltimore, marketing specialist with Hospital Wing, addressed the council about a membership for employees. Hospital Wing is a 501C-3 not-for-profit medical air transport service with five bases that operate 24 hours a day. She said Hospital Wing will bill insurance for services but with the membership, patients will not owe any additional charges. She said the average ride is $20,000 and many insurance policies will pay about half.

Membership for the city employees would be at a reduced rate of $20 a year and can cover employees and firefighters.

Mayor Wagner said they would discuss options including paying for all employees or offering the membership to them at partial payment, etc.

Councilman Tony Hawkins said it is reasonable price and good for the employees to have.

Hospital Wing has direct alliances with The Elvis Presley Trauma Center (The Med); Methodist-LeBonheur Healthcare; Baptist Healthcare Systems; St. Francis Hospitals in Memphis and Crittenden Regional Medical Center in West Memphis.

Council asked if Hospital Wing and Air-Evac, another air transport service in the area, were interchangeable and how it is decided which one is called in an emergency.

Baltimore said they are not interchangeable. She said it could be beneficial to have a membership with both services.

Council agreed to talk to a representative from Air-Evac to see if they had a group membership-type offer.

Chief Jackie Hill said he would be glad to pay $40 a year to have a membership with both companies.

The Council set the spring cleanup date as April 15 through May 15.

"We have had a bad winter and we have a lot of limbs down," Mayor Wagner said. "If we need to extend the date after May 15 we will look into it then. We can help senior citizens or others with large limbs they can't handle. They can call City Hall and we will try to help them if possible. Anyone with old houses or mobile homes they want to get rid of, we will try to help them, also."

During the clean-up time there will be no charge at the transfer station which will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays until 3 p.m. unless arrangements are made to stay open later.

"We need to post a sign at the transfer station with a telephone number for people to call if no one is there on Wednesdays or Saturdays," Alderman Hawkins said. "That would keep someone from having to be there all the time."

The council received a letter of resignation from Fire Chief Keith Bennett. Mayor Wagner said he will be staying on as firefighter but is stepping down from the chief's position.

"He has done a great job and we appreciate it," Alderman Dale Murphy said.

The council voted to accept his resignation and approved the fire department's recommendation for Tracey Reinhart to serve as chief.

In other business:

*Renaming one of the Dewey Streets was tabled until the next meeting giving Alderman Jason Baltimore and Chief Hill time to coordinate any street changes with the 911 emergency coordinator.

*Mayor Wagner said he will meet with highway department representatives and work on funding to move the water and sewer at the proposed four-lane highway along Manila's by-pass area. The cost to the city for moving the water and sewer will be $600,000.

*The council discussed the drawing for dates to rent the swimming pool for private parties. Residents can call city hall starting March 24 to place their name for the drawing but must be present at the Community Center Saturday, April 5, for the drawing. Doors will open at 8 a.m. (Anyone who has not registered for the drawing can do so on Saturday) and the drawing will be held at 9 a.m. Dates will be reserved by names drawn and a $100 deposit will be required. Sunday and Wednesday evenings will be reserved for church organization activities.

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