Monette Police Department prepared to purchase new vehicle
Monette Police Chief Brian Carmichael presented options available for the purchase of a new police vehicle to the Monette City Council Jan. 25 in Monette City Hall.
The Council discussed the purchase of a new police vehicle with Chief Carmichael. Grants expected to aid in the purchase are still not available, but Mayor Jerry "Chub" Qualls assured the Council they would be receiving the funds. The Council agreed to put the grant money toward another vehicle when it becomes available. The funds to make a purchase without the grants were included in the 2016 budget.
Carmichael shared options and details for six vehicles. The final decision was made in the purchase of a 2016 Dodge Ram Crew Cab.
Mayor Qualls and Vickki Carrol, city treasurer, met with Rickey Carter with USDA Rural Development the afternoon of Jan. 25 to talk about the sewer project. A loan for the project will be for the amount of $1,397,000 and a grant will be $1,005,000. The total cost of the project will be $2,402,000. The project is expected to begin mid-summer 2016.
The Council also agreed to pay off loans through Rural Development for water and sewer totaling an estimated $31,500. The payoff will leave the city one loan for the water tower with a remaining balance of $309,000. The Council discussed looking into alternative options for the water tower loan.
Mayor Qualls gave a State of the City address stating three important projects to look forward to in the year 2016, including the sewer plant as previously discussed. The city is also looking forward to the construction of the new school to begin following the recently passed millage, as well as the Highway 18 and Highway 139 bypass. Mayor Qualls thanked the Council for their support and shared activities and achievements made in 2015.
Dick Pace shared the city was almost within budget for the year 2015 on every item. Following some discussion for future needs, the Council passed the budget for 2016.
The Council approved raises for full time city employees. All nine employees will receive an increase in pay of $1,200 per year. This will be the first raise given in a dollar amount rather than a percentage.
Elected officials received a 5.5 percent raise with the exclusion of aldermen.
The adoption of Resolution 2016-1 was approved by the Council. The cities of Craighead County have come to an agreement concerning the dispersal of fines collected from E-tickets. Beginning immediately, 95 percent of funds collected from tickets issued by state troopers will be given to the city in which issuance took place. The remaining five percent will go to the county for handling the money. The funds have been held, undistributed, for the last two years. It is unknown what will be done with the money collected during that time.
A meeting of the mayors of Craighead County to discuss the blue bag and recycling program set for Jan. 22 was rescheduled due to weather. In the past, blue recycling bags have been paid for by the Craighead County Landfill at 15 cents a bag. The landfill is now asking that the cities find a way to pay for the bags. All mayors of Craighhead County will meet to discuss and decide what will be done should they continue to participate in the program. Alderman Brandon Decker asked about options for those who wish to continue to recycle should Monette opt out of the program. Mayor Qualls said he would look into it at the meeting rescheduled for Jan. 28.
Mayor Qualls requested the use of the northeast corner at the intersection of Highway 139 and Highway 18 on behalf of the Veteran's Park Committee. The Council agreed there were many benefits to the change in location and agreed to allow the park location to be changed.
Alderman Aaron Uthoff inquired about a possibility of a stop light placed at the new bypass. Mayor Qualls said that as of now there were no plans to install a light and one would not be placed until a study was done.