Leachville Council works through long agenda

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leachville City Council, after hearing a recommendation from Police Chief Steve Lancaster, voted unanimously at the Monday, March 30, meeting, to extend part-time officer Allan Lasater to full time patrolman.

Chief Steve Lancaster shows Leachville Council members one of the newly purchased Samsung Tablet 4 10.0. The equipment was funded through a JAG grant. Along with a tablet for each vehicle, RAM vehicle mounts with wireless keyboards for each unit were purchased. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Chief Lancaster had requested adding 20 hours a week to Lasater's part-time officer job duties as animal control officer.

After a discussion and a short executive session, the council agreed they would rather not combine the two part-time duties. They decided it would be more beneficial to the police department and the city to have an additional officer. Having an additional officer will help the department in all areas of rotation and especially during the time when officers are taking vacation.

Chief Lancaster rescinded his original request and recommended Allan Lasater as full time officer. Patrolman Lasater will be joining Chief Lancaster, Lt. Chuck Brown, and Sgt. Mitchell Lasater in the department.

The council also agreed to follow the recommendation of Chief Lancaster for the completion of Patrolman Lasater's certification.

Chief Lancaster then gave the police department's financial review and talked about adding a K9 unit to the department.

"We do have a drug problem and the K9 unit would be a positive tool to utilitize," Chief Lancaster said.

He went on to say they will be accepting donations and fundraising to help with the cost. Mayor Ralph Wells, nembers of the police department, fire department and other citizens attended a demonstration by David Kelly, owner of Kelly's Premium K9's, in detecion, protection, and tracking, on Thursday.

"We have an interest from several people in the commnity," Chief Lancaster said. "It will probably be eight or nine months before it is finalized but I really think it will be an asset to the department and the community."

Chief Lancaster showed the council one of the Samsung Tablets purchased with a JAG (Justice Assistance Grant).

"We have already utilized it for photography evidence," Chief Lancaster said.

The Council approved the purchase of new uniforms for the police officers.

"We have a professional department and I think it is time to step up and look the part, especially when we have to be in court," Chief Lancaster said.

The Class B uniforms will be $185 per officer and the Class E, working unifiorms, are $90 to $100 per officer. The council approved purchased of both uniforms.

Council member Michael Webster asked if all officers have bullet proof vests.

"If it was me, I would rather have a bullet proof vest than a uniform," Webster said.

Lancaster said Patrolman Lasater does not have a vest. He said he would get on line and see if there is any assistance available for a vest.

Chief Lancaster also reported he had been in contact with a company in Ft. Smith about the lease/purchase of monitors, an alternative to jail time.

"Some violators need to be in jail, but the monitors might be good for others," Chief Lancaster said. "It might be cheaper than jail fees. I will have more information on it at the next meting."

Water and street department director Robert Ballard said they have been working on filling in pot holes in the streets caused by the winter weather.

"Robert has done a good job," Mayor Ralphh Wells said.

Concilman Webster asked them to check out the grills, playground equipment, and empty the trash cans on Friday at the park to get it ready for the citizens to use.

Fire Chief Mark Johnson informed the council the 1996 model truck is being looked at by mechanic Terry Routon but it may have serious problems with a transmission leak. He also said the van had been lettered and striped by Mustang Graffix at no charge. Johnson informed the council that he was talking to Lylerly Farms about the purchase of lighting and sirens from an old ambulance for the fire department.

He also asked about the basketball goals hanging out in the streets.

"If a fire truck hits one it will tear up the truck and the goal," Johnson said.

He asked the police to talk to homeowners about keepign them off the street.

Mayor Wells said there are 12 or 15 out there.

"I counted them after we received a complaint," Mayor Wells said. "I worry about younger kids getting run over."

Chief Lancaster said maybe the owners could move them back or lay it back in the yard when the kids are not playing.

City officials will need to make a decision on the future of their trash pick-up. Mayor Wells informed the council that Eddie Bolar, owner of Bolar's Sanitation, will be retiring the first of next month.

Mayor Wells said they had options of going with another company or leasing/purchasing a truck and taking care of their own.

"Monette, Lake City and Manila are all picking up their own," Mayor Wells said. "If it is feasable for them, it should be for us."

Mayor Wells said a representative from a Jonesboro company is coming to Leachville to talk about truck lease prices.

Wells informed the council that Bolar picked up the trash working eight hours one day and five the next. He said they would have to have a licenced CDL driver. He also said Bolar is willing to sell them his dumpters.

Councilman Webster asked Mayor Wells to get information on tipping fees from the county and fuel cost before they make a decision.

A homeowner asked the council to look over ordinances in place dealing with unkept property and homes. She asked if there was any action that can be taken. She said her neighbors trash blows over into her yard and she and her family have to clean it up every day.

"I am the new boy on the block but I want our town cleaned up," Mayor Wells said. "We can send notices out."

Chief Lancaster explained the citation and fining process through the court.

Ms. Keith said there is a file of notices sent in the past, along with forms. She suggested the council members go out into their wards and bring a list of properties needing attention to the mayor.

Another citizen asked about condemning property. He said there is a house across from him that is vacant and falling down. He said it is home for cats and coons.

"It is a health and a fire hazard," he said.

In other business:

*Mayor Wells informed the council Leachville's 100th birthday celebration plans are underway. It will be held in conjunction with the all class reunions. There will be a show at the Melody theater representing all classes. The Cave Dwellers will end the day of celebratio with their annual fireworks display. The committee has asked the council to decorate a 100th birthday float.

*The Buffalo Island Central millage vote will be held at Leachville City Hall on May 12.

*The council passed an ordinance naming Rebecca Clowers as official/primary person to collect fines set through the Leachville Court.

*City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith informed the council the city accounts, except for a small amount to cover the outstanding checks, have been transferred to First National Bank.

*The council voted to have police vehicles striped at a cost of $150 per unit.

*The council approved the registration fee and housing for Chuck Brown to represent the police and fire department at an upcoming workshop on May 19-21.

*The council approved the registration fee and housing for Clerk Ruth Ann Keith to attend a workshop in Ft. Smith. She said one of the classes will deal with wage and hour issues, along with other information topics to help the city.

*Fireman Drake Brown informed city officials the grant for a substation firehouse has been submitted and he was informed the city is eligible. He said they should hear if they will receive funding in May.

*A work meeting was set for April 13 to work on an employee handbook.

*Mayor Wells read a letter of recommendation from Betty Jo Eldried, Housing Authority Director, requesting the renewal of James Thomas to the board of commissions for a second five year term. The council voted unanimously in favor of the appointment.

*The City wide clean-up was set for April 24, 25 and 26, with hours 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Location of the dumpsters was not set. Councilman Webster said if any elderly citiszens needed help removing items, they can contact the Leachville Foundation and they will help.

*Epert Lambert addressed the council praising Water and Street Superintendent Robert Ballard for doing a "fantastic job." He said the city has good workers and the police department has good officers.

*Mayor Wells said Dr. John (Dr. Johnson) is leaving Leachville. He said he had been in touch with a representative form St. Bernards who assured him they would get a doctor to come to Leachville for a few days and a full time nurse practioner. He also said he is continuing to look at possible supermarkets.

*In the council comments Teresa Johnson said she had heard someone say she spent too much money. "Anything I vote to spend is for the betterment of all the community." Karen Wallace said she had had a complaint of dogs running loose on on/near Winchester Street. She said David (Rep. David Wallace) will have someone from the transportation department coming to Leachvile looking at the interesection of Highway 18 and Hwy. 119.

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