MFD demonstrates new gear
Manila City Council got to see firsthand Manila Fire Department's new protective gear, which was purchased using general improvement grant funds that former Representative Wes Wagner was able to help the department get while he was in office.
Members of the Manila Fire Department demonstrated the equipment as Wagner presented the department a grant check for $20,000.
"We have a group of firemen that are volunteer that did not have the necessary gear to protect themselves when asked to protect us," Mayor Wayne Wagner said. "We asked Wes while he was in office to do everything he could to get us a grant. He was able to get us $20,000 worth of protective gear for our fire department."
Manila Fire Chief Tracey Reinhart along with fire department officers Glenn French, chaplain Ray Dill and Sonny Ray Dill were present as members Brandon Veach and Luke McLaughlin demonstrated the equipment.
"We added 12 guys last summer and we needed the gear to get them suited up so they can be protected when they go into a fire," Reinhart said. "We got them the boots, pants, jacket, protective hood, gloves and helmets. This is very important, it will hold up to 500 degrees. From the fire department's perspective we want to say thank you for putting your confidence in us and Wayne and Wes thank you for getting this grant so we can suit these guys up. This will keep them safe. These guys are so proud of the department we have. You guys are proud of us and we know that, but I wanted to point out the pride these guys have. The dress uniforms they have on are paid for out of their pockets because they are proud of this department."
Wes Wagner said the equipment was very important not only for safety but the city's fire rating. He said when he looked into getting grants he found that having good equipment helps improve the fire rating, which will help lower insurance.
"Our department is growing and I'm happy I was able to help them get the equipment they needed," Wagner said. "It is something that benefits the whole community."
Mayor Wagner said the fire department needs a new rescue truck, which costs almost $400,000. He said city could not afford one at this time but with the growth of the Manila Airport and the department there will be more grant opportunities available to help cover that cost. Wagner explained that as the Manila Airport grows the need for fire protection grows especially in the event of a plane crash. He said it all works together. The more the airport grows the more people will use it and the more funds will become available for Manila, which benefits the whole community.
Wagner said Rep. Wagner was also able to get the Manila Airport a grant to help build a new executive hangar and taxi way. That grant presentation will be held at next month's council meeting.
Wes Wagner said the Manila Pilot Association along with the city is also working on a plan to expand the airport's runway to 5,000 feet, which would open up even more grant opportunities for the city.
In other business the council unanimously voted to deny Gene Dobbins a variance to place a two RV hookup at Beauchamp and Highway 18B. Also in the meeting the council unanimously approved Jerry Shrable's plans to build two three bedroom, two bath homes to be located directly behind his shop on Highway 18 B/Lake Street. Mr. Shrable was set to begin construction on March 17 pending where to place sewer lines.
The council also unanimously approved ordinance 2015-03 which was read and then placed on second and third readings by title only. The ordinance is to comply with a new state law appointing district court clerk Brenda Watson as the person who will collect the district court fines assessed for Manila. Mayor Wagner said that is already being done but the new state law requires a formal ordinance.
Mayor Wagner informed the council the community center grant presentation will be at the council's next meeting but the center's new roof is already on.
The swimming pool party rental drawing will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, to allow everyone time to return from spring break and get their request submitted. Rental rates were raised to $200 and $350 to help cover the cost of lifeguards who have to work the parties. The admission for the water park/swimming pool was raised to $5 for ages 3-65 with seniors still getting free admission. The council will address rental prices of the Manila Airport Center at the next meeting.
The council unanimously accepted the resignation of city employee Rebecca Hartgraves before going into executive session to discuss personnel. Upon returning to open session the council passed unanimously resolution 2015-01 in support of Manila School District's endeavors to build a new high school. The council then voted unanimously to hire Cathy Huddleston to fill Hartgraves' position.
Mayor Wagner then presented the council with rates of the first 5,000 gallons of water for Caraway, Monette, Leachville and Manila. Caraway rate was 58.87, Monette 69.50, Leachville 44.30 and Manila 28.40. Mayor Wagner said with the water and sewer departments losing money it was time to raise rates but he wanted to remain the cheapest on Buffalo Island. He suggested raising the rates to $39 for the first 5,000 gallons. The council approved the rate increase unanimously and will revisit the issue next year to see if it has helped. The council also unanimously raised the water deposit to $100, new meters for new construction to $350 and $450 for a one inch line.