Manila City Council moves forward on highway widening
Members of Manila City Council approved two Ordinances at a special called meeting on Wednesday evening.
Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner read Ordinance 2014-03 and 2014-04.
Water and sewer utilities have to be moved before the Highway 18 expansion can be widened along Manila's bypass.
Ordinance 2014-03 allows the highway department to move the city utilities at a cost of $477,000 to be repaid using one half of the city's turnback funds (turnback funds are used for street paving). It should take about five years to repay the loan.
Mayor Wagner said the loan agreement is in the best interest of the city.
The next ordinance passed by the council approved the city's acceptance of the present Highway 18 south of Manila, main street and Highway 77 2-A. These areas will be bypassed when the new highway is completed. Wagner said the highway department will resurface the area once the four-lane is opened before the city takes over maintenance of the streets.
The council discussed the possibility of additional future annexing looking at areas to Tucker's Station to the south; Buffalo Ditch to the west; Big Lake to the east and Poplar Corner to the north.
Fire Chief Tracey Reinhart addressed the council recommending the approval of new firefighters Tony Crowell, John McGuire, Keith Shrable, Brandon Veach, James Skinner, Jared Camp, Ron Amick and Luke McLaughlin.
"Tony and Ron are being reinstated," Reinhart said. "Tony had to leave when he was with the State Police Department and Ron moved back to town. James and Jared, both police officers, are certified. With the new members we will have 21 certified firemen. Jim Thieme has plans to retire in June. With the new member we will be back to our original 25. These men have been very active and attended every meeting since the firemen voted to add them."
"We are volunteers but as I have told them we need to train as much as any full time department. We need to know how to use the equipment. We plan to get out in the community. I am proud of our department. Thank you for approving the new members. These guys will make you good firemen long after I'm gone," Reinhart said.
Following an executive session, the council voted to approve the hiring of Joe Chipman.
The council discussed season passes and family passes for the swimming pool.
After some discussion, Councilman Tony Hawkins suggested passes of $100 for 12 and under; $150 for 13 and over; and a family pass for $250.
"We can try it this year and see how it works out," Hawkins said. "If it doesn't work out we can change it next year."
The council presented a check to Revis Blaylock, Buffalo Island Relay for Life committee member, for $250 for advertising and a check for $428 raised at the second annual Relay Night at the Park held May 22.
Blaylock expressed her appreciation on behalf of the Buffalo Island Relay for Life.