Caraway Council recognizes water and sewer department for achievement

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Caraway City Council members took a moment to share their appreciation to the Water and Sewer Departments for their hard work during the April 14 city council meeting. Caraway Water and Sewer has been selected over eight districts nominated to receive the Special Systems Recognition Award. The award will be presented on May 2 in a conference to be held in Hot Springs.

"This is recognition for the stuff that we do that you allow us to do," Water Superintendent Terry Couch said. "It's not an individual, it's the city, and we're tickled to get it."

The city of Caraway will continue participation in the recycling program. The city entered into a contract with Abilities Unlimited to accept and sort all recycling materials. The processing fees are expected to be with a grant provided by Legacy Landfill. In July or August reusable containers for collection will replace blue bags used in the past.

Mayor Barry Riley handed out direct deposit forms to members of the council. All city employees will be paid using direct deposit in the future.

Mayor Riley also announced that Caraway is in the process of becoming a drug free city.

"There is not an employee that I'm not afraid to have take a drug test." Riley said. "I know they're clean, but I think it's something we need to look at for the future."

All newly hired city employees will be required to take a drug test. A fee of $35 a year per employee will entail the implementation of a drug free policy, an employee meeting with announcement and signing of the new policy and at least one random test for all employees per quarter. The cost of testing for pre-employment and incident or injury on the job will be $44.

The council gave Mayor Riley the go ahead to take steps for drug testing of all city employees, including themselves.

"It won't hurt my feelings to start at this table." Alderman Bo James said.

Alderman Mitchell Tipton included, "I don't want to ask anyone to do something that I wouldn't do myself."

Mayor Riley will have a drug free work policy written to be presented to the Council for inclusion in the employee handbook. The funding is expected to be drawn from the general fund.

The Council heard and accepted the 2013 Legal Audit report results. All issues found have been addressed. Concerning the Park Commission, employee checks will be signed by the mayor and one other employee from now on. Umpires will be paid by check weekly rather than cash.

The Fire Department has its own tax ID number and will no longer use the city's tax ID number.

Rick Stevens, recorder/treasurer, has followed up on policy changes and is in the process of updating an asset list left from previous holdings.

The new fire truck is up and running. Mayor Riley told the Council it has been used a few times and is in good working condition. Most updates and changes to the fire truck have been completed for an estimated $12,235. The Council approved the purchase of new decals and an exhaust fan for about $3,000.

Alderman Marvin Browning voiced concerns on the worsening of potholes and asked about repairs. The Council discussed other areas in need of repair with Couch.

Couch suggested selling a truck no longer in use by the city for parts. All profit will be put toward the Department of Water and Sewer. The Council agreed. Couch will begin work and advertisement of the sale.

Following some discussion the Council agreed to move forward and take steps in the condemnation of buildings thought to be neglected on main street.

A request for an utility easement was made by a resident in a previous meeting. Following some discussion the Council agreed to look into what they could do. However, the owner of the property must be established prior to city involvement and the granting of an easement.

A speed study was conducted along with a review of the latest accident data in response to citizen concern for pedestrian safety on Highway 158 near Dollar General. A letter from the Highway Department was read aloud stating findings suggested no change be made to the posted speed.

Upcoming events:

The Fishing Rodeo is scheduled for May 7. New catfish, hybrid and regular blue gill were added April 15. The Fish and Game Commission will bring full size fish the week of the event.

The Caraway Volunteer Group will be hosting the first annual Hot Rods, Hoops and BBQ Festival from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, on main street. The venue will include a swap meet, three-on-three basketball tournament for two age groups and a barbecue festival. Fees for participation are $15 to enter a vehicle, $15 per basketball team and $5 per meat entered into the barbecue contest. The meat categories for judging are ribs, hamburgers and barbecued bologna. All proceeds will be invested in the Fourth of July celebrations and Christmas food baskets and toys.

Plans for Independence Day celebrations are underway. The Council approved a budget of $3,500 to be spent on the Fourth of July fireworks display.

Roger Williams, alderman, shared the addition of a 5k run. The Park Commission is working on activities to be held in the park.

A citizen requested the Council consider preventative steps and spraying for mosquitoes. Alderman Tipton shared citizens have approached him with similar concerns. Following some discussion for options and availability Mayor Riley agreed to look into possibilities that may suit distribution in the city.

The next Caraway City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at City Hall.

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