Leachville Council discusses new radios

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Leachville Chief of Police Steve Lancaster and Nathan Johnson with Grace Communications/Radios addressed the city council at the Sept. 21 meeting with information on a new communication system.

Leachville Chief of Police Steve Lancaster and Nathan Johnson with Grace Communications/ Radios addressed the city council at the September meeting.

Chief Lancaster explained to the city officials the problem the police and fire departments are having with the city's present system.

With Mississippi County upgrading its system, Leachville cannot be in radio contact with neighboring departments or towns.

"We are set apart," Chief Lancaster said. "Our system worked great but it will not work with the newer systems."

He went on to say the new system would benefit Leachville's police department, fire department and city utility departments.

Johnson distributed an itemized list of equipment including setting up two repeaters. He discussed three financing options, talked about the equipment features, capability for future growth, etc.

"Our system has been in place for over 20 years," Chief Lancaster said. "It has served us well but when the county went to its new system, we are unable to communicate. Now I am asking you to help me try to make this happen. We need this communication system."

Mayor Ralph Wells said this is needed for Leachville.

"We need a system for our officers to be able to communicate with the county," Wells said.

"I understand we have to do this, but it is very expensive," Councilman Michael Webster said. "It is equal to purchasing three police vehicles."

The equipment includes 46 mobile hand-held radios and six stationary units.

It was suggested the cost would be divided between the departments that will be utilizing the system.

"I don't think there are objections, we need to know what the exact cost will be before we make a decision," Mayor Wells said.

Councilwoman Ethel Hetler said the council is not turning it down, they just want to work out all of the details.

It was decided to table the decision for a couple of weeks and call a special meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 to discuss it further.

A visitor, Chris Morgan, asked about a fundraiser to help with the expense.

Chief Lancaster also discussed with the council two non-paid reserve officers. Lancaster said they are certified and will work under the supervision of the full time officers.

Mayor Wells asked about insurance.

City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith said she had checked on the workman's compensation insurance and they would be covered but she has not checked on the vehicle insurance.

"I am not objecting," Councilman Tommy Stone said. "As long as they are covered I don't have a problem. I appreciate the help, but we want to make sure they are covered by our insurance."

City utility superintendent Robert Ballard gave his report to the council.

He requested placing a fire hydrant on south main.

"There is a real need for the fire hydrant," he said. "If the city can pay the $3,600 to run a line under the highway, I can do the rest."

The council voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the cost of running the line.

Ballard said it will help with the lowering of the fire rating for the city.

Ballard also discussed the purchase of a new mower for the cemetery.

"Can we look at a mower that would also pick up the grass," Councilwoman Lisa Baldridge asked?

Fire Chief Richie Pace addressed the council said they have two firemen stepping down and one retiring. He requested approval from the council to bring Donnie Ford on as a volunteer fireman.

He also requested purchasing a pressure tool to test the fire hydrants which could help lower the fire rating even more.

"We should not have any problems with the pressure," Ballard said.

Pace said the fire department will be taking the truck to the elementary school during October Fire Prevention Week. He requested purchasing items such as bracelets to give to the children. No object was voiced by the council.

In other business:

*Drake Brown updated the council saying the grant for a substation is at a stand still but he will continue his efforts.

*JoAnn Carden with the Leachville Foundation requested allowing the group to apply for a grant to landscape and light the Leachville City Sign. The council informed her the city did not own the property around the sign and she would need to talk to the owners.

*Councilman Webster suggested members of the council who can meet every Monday night for a working meeting to work on a handbook. The meetings will start on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.

*The council voted unanimously to pass a resolution acknowledging the late Bobby Looney served over 20 years on the Leachville Fire Department. Apparently seven years of written records were apparently destroyed.

*The council approved a library resolution to support an outdoor book return.

*Chris Morgan asked the council about adding speed bumps, more signs or additional patrol in the area around his home where traffic comes off the gravel too fast. He said he will help do whatever to make it safer for the children in the area. He said he does not want anyone to get hurt. Leachville officer Chuck Brown said he would talk to the chief and they would do some extra patrol in the area.

*Marilyn Looney, member of the executive EOC board member, said EOC has a house for sale on Crews Street priced reasonably. The buyer has to be indigent. She said it needs a new roof and buyers would have to be able to finance it. It could be a good, safe home for someone. "If you know of anyone interested, have them see me," Ms. Looney said.

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