Monette Council discusses police vehicle

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Monette City Council in its regular meeting Monday, April 27 discussed the city's need for a new police vehicle.

Council members reviewed bids for a new Dodge Charger and a new Ford car as well as possibly getting a used vehicle. Mayor Chub Qualls explained to the council that one police vehicle is in bad shape and is in the shop now getting $1,300 worth of repairs.

"We have some funds budgeted for a new police car and we have applied for a grant but have not heard from that yet," Mayor Qualls said. "We had talked about getting a new police vehicle and staring a rotation schedule."

Council members asked Monette Officer Kevin Bond which vehicle the department preferred, he said the new Ford with Eco boost and all wheel drive because in the past Chargers have not handled well on ice. Mayor Qualls told the council about 15 used police cars the city of Jonesboro is getting rid of and asked if that is something city would like to look into.

"If we can afford a new car I would rather see us buy new instead of buy someone else's used headache," Alderman Larry Bibb said.

Alderman Dick Pace looked at the city's budget and said there is $10,000 budgeted for a new police vehicle but that would be coming out of the general fund and would take all the extra money there. The city would not be able to make any other major purchases out of the general fund.

Mayor Qualls suggested the city use the $10,000 as a down payment for a new police vehicle and pay the rest out over three years. The cost of a new vehicle would be about $25,000 but does not include lights, console or other police gear.

Alderman Tom Carroll suggested the police department get a total cost amount for the vehicle they prefer with all the options and equipment included to present to the council next month. All agreed the department needs a new police car but wanted to be cautious with the city's funds. The council voted to table the matter until its next meeting to allow the department to get together an itemized list and total cost.

In other business Mayor Qualls informed the council that Landon Barrett, who is building new homes in Monette, would like the city to reimburse him for some of the expense of running new water lines. The Council discussed the matter but decided against reimbursing Barrett at this time. With the city looking at the expense of a new police vehicle and new sewer plant the council felt like they could not spend those funds now.

Mayor Qualls also told the council the city participated in the auction of the blue bag trucks. They were able to buy back the city's 2008 recycling truck for $5,100 and was reimbursed for that amount. So the city was able to keep the truck at no actual cost. He said the three items sold by sealed bid brought in $1,236, which will be used to pay for the repairs of the police car.

Mayor Qualls also discussed with the council the cost of E-911 calls. He said originally the city of Jonesboro had agreed to pay 75 percent of those calls with Craighead County and smaller cities paying the remaining 25 percent. He said that worked out to Monette paying six percent of the 25 percent remaining cost.

"That was about $16,000 a year split between the smaller towns so we paid about $1,500 of that," Qualls said. "The county now says they are paying too much and says we need to pay six percent of 100 percent of the cost instead of six percent of 25 percent of the cost. For us that would be about $600 a month or $8,200 a year and we can not do that. I will keep you informed as to what the county decides. I will not agree to something we can not afford."

The council discussed and approved the employee handbook as it has been reviewed and revised. The Mayor also informed the council that the city had received a letter from the Craighead County Election Commission explaining they had not properly billed cities in the county for some municipal and school elections. The city of Monette as well as others would be receiving a bill for those costs within the next two weeks.

Monette City wide clean sweep is the week of May 4.

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