Jerry Lamar to serve as building inspector
Monette City Council members came to an agreement concerning a new building inspector during the Nov. 23 meeting at City Hall. Jerry Lamar, currently the sewer superintendent, will continue his current duties as well as filling the position of city inspector. In order to be certified Lamar will need to complete at least six certificates online and two through the state. Internet certifications will cost about $69 each and $250 would cover the cost of membership to take the exam. Lamar was not told the price of the state courses, but was urged to schedule them as soon as possible as they fill quickly. Lamar asked the city to pay for the certifications, and suggested the position of building inspector be separate from the sewer department in case of any unforeseen changes in the future. Lamar also requested that the city pay half of the previous inspectors monthly pay while he works toward licensing and increase to full pay when certification is final.
Following an executive session the Council agreed to pay Lamar $200 a month immediately, as well as costs required for certifications and exams. Upon completion of certification, the pay will increase to $400 a month. Lamar will keep a ledger of inspections and report to a member of the Planning Commission as assigned by the Council.
Monette Police Chief Brian Carmichael requested that the Council exempt police officers from the recent changes in the handbook concerning vacation policy. Officers are allotted 15 annual vacation days. The current policy allows all city employees to sell five vacation days. Carmichael asks that police officers be given the option to sell any/all unused vacation days.
Since the changes have been made to the handbook it has come to the attention of the department that the new policy does not benefit police officers. Due to different circumstances involved in their scheduling and line of work, when one officer takes a vacation day the shift must be covered by another officer. This creates a buildup in overtime which is not the case for most other city employees. Carmichael asked that officers be allowed to sell any number of vacation days that remain unused. He went on to calculate the difference between buying and selling vacation days with overtime paid will save the city an estimated $4,000. The council agreed to exempt officers from the vacation policy for the year 2015 and discuss a separate policy for vacation for the police department during the next meeting.
The Council discussed the progress in possible funding for purchase of a new police vehicle. A new vehicle is expected to cost an estimated $26,000. After speaking with Senator David Burnett and Representative Dan Sullivan, Mayor Qualls informed the Council about his recent findings for grant money that was expected to be used toward the purchase. Applications will be sent within the week, but the money may not be available to buy the new vehicle before the end of the year. However, Mayor Qualls informed the Council that the city does have enough money in the budget to make the purchase before the year ends. After a few options and possibilities concerning vehicle types and equipment requirements were discussed, the Council requested that a price comparison of trucks, SUVs and cars be made available for further discussion at the December meeting.
Planning is still underway for the Veteran's Park on Main Street at the corner of Drew Street and Edmond Street. After a meeting at City Hall on Nov. 16, ideas on purchases and cost for the park are being accepted and will be taken into consideration. A decision is expected to be made during the Jan. 15 meeting at City Hall. Anyone interested is invited to attend.
The Craighead County Landfill is requesting that cities pay an additional $2 per ton in total waste charges in order to help cover the cost of recycling. In the past, the landfill has provided funding for blue bags, trucks and equipment to towns that qualify. Mayor Qualls spoke with the Council about a meeting he will be attending the afternoon of Nov. 24. The Council agreed that the city would consider opting out of the program if the additional charges are applied.
Mayor Qualls spoke with Wayne Milling, engineer, about progress on the new sewer plant. A meeting to discuss cost and decision with ADEQ is expected sometime in December.
Since the October City Council meeting, an agreement has been made for the boundaries of Carol Street, and Atlas Asphalt has scheduled the work to begin in December.
Brandon Decker will replace Bob Hurst as the City Council member to serve on the Cemetery Board for the next year.
Vickie Carol, recorder, and Mayor Qualls presented the Council with a budget to be reviewed before the next meeting.
Holiday plans are underway for the City of Monette. Despite a few technical problems all decorations are expected to be ready and lit Thanksgiving night. The Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 7. Parade lineup is scheduled for 5:30 to 6 p.m. and the parade will begin at 7 p.m.
The Council discussed Christmas bonuses and a pay raises. A motion was passed that the 2015 Christmas bonus will equal $500. Pay raises will be decided at the next meeting.
The next Monette City Council meeting will take place at the Buffalo Island Museum on Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. followed by Christmas dinner at City Hall.