Caraway council hears from St. Francis Levee District

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Caraway Council

Rob Rash, of the St. Francis Levee District, talked to the Caraway City Council Thursday, June 12, about the Levee District purchasing the land they use in Caraway and constructing a new building on that land.

"We had a problem with the weather and the building we lease from the city was pretty much destroyed," Rash said. "It was our plan to build a new shop on that land a year from now in our new budget year, which starts July 1, 2015. We did not have insurance on the building but did the contents. I will be honest with you, one of the main reasons we located in Caraway was because of our foreman Bo James. We want to stay here but we are weighing our options. The new building is going to cost us $42,000 just for the shell. So we are looking at making a $50,000 investment."

Rash said the St. Francis Levee District is currently operating off the back of a flat bed trailer and will have to build a shop within the next two months. Rash asked the council if the city would consider selling the Levee District the land, which it currently has leased at $1 a year for 99 years, and invest the insurance money from the building that was destroyed in a new shop with the understanding that the St. Francis Levee District will fully reimburse the city the insurance funds next year. Bo James abstained from all discussion and voting on the entire matter since he works for the St. Francis Levee District it would be a conflict of interest.

"They have always helped us during storms, snow and ice and everything else," Terry Couch, of the water and sewer department, said. "We don't even have to ask, they are just there to help. I have seen them break blades and equipment helping us. They have been outstanding to this community."

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley and council members echoed Couch's remarks by saying the St. Francis Levee District has a huge investment in Caraway and provides an invaluable service to the community. There was a lengthy discussion of what would be a reasonable price on the 2.3 acres of land the Levee District is asking to purchase and several motions were made but retracted. It was Alderman Roger Williams that made the motion to sell the St. Francis Levee District 2.3 acres of land for $3,000 along with investing the approximate $12,000 in insurance funds in a new shop with the understanding that money would be reimbursed. The motion passed 4-0 with James abstaining from vote. Rash will present the motion to the St. Francis Levee District board Tuesday, June 17.

In other business the council:

* unanimously agreed to appoint Brian Crews and Tim Dawson to the park commission as well as accepted the resignation of a park commission member.

* unanimously agreed to appropriate $800 to the park commission for concession stand roof repair.

* approved a motion for fire department parking lot repairs but latter retracted that motion and agreed to look at other options.

Mayor Riley said he is sad to see Cleffie Gipson retire from the Senior Citizen Center and hopes that St. Bernard's will find someone good to take her place. He also told Terry Couch how much the city appreciates his and other city employees' work.

The Caraway Council discusses a selling price for 2.3 acres of land the St. Francis Levee District is interested in purchasing. (Town Crier photo/Christie Zolman)

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