New street named in Leachville

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cole and Karen Hawkins shared plans with the Leachville City Council on Monday, May 16, for new construction and the request to name a new road. The family and Council agreed that a name suggested by the Hawkins' grandchild was appropriate considering past activity and future plans for the area. The Council approved naming the new road Hawkins Lane.

Drake Brown shared that a matching grant for $15,000 has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Rural Services. A total of $30,000 is enough to begin Phase One of plans for the construction of a new substation. Brown explained that Phase One will consist of dirt work, plumbing and the pouring of a slab. When Phase One is completed, plans will begin to continue Phase Two.

Police Chief Marc Taylor suggested a change in cell phone plans. A contract ending in July for an estimated $315 a month will be replaced with a plan for a lower monthly bill. A representative of Verizon offered the option to upgrade the cell phones of four officers to smart phones with a monthly bill of about $197. iPads currently owned by the department are not necessary and will be disconnected.

With money saved by the new cellular plan the police department will purchase access to Leads Online for an upfront yearly fee of $1,188. Taylor said the investigative tool used to locate stolen property has been very effective in the past and is expected to save the department time, resources and money in the future.

Reno, the police department canine, began training May 16. The program is expected to be completed in two weeks at which time the Leachville Police Department will have a certified canine handler.

The Council heard the results of the 2014 water and sewer audit. It was suggested the city increase fees and form a committee to study comparison to other cities in the area. Currently the rate for 1,800 gallons is $12.95. The city may need to raise the rate while keeping the base amount to 1,800 gallons. Another option will be to lower the base amount from 1,800 to 1,000 gallons while the current rates remain the same.

The Council approved an increase of household garbage fees from $10.75 to $12.00. Director of Public Works Robert Ballard and Ruth Ann Keith, city clerk, explained the current fee will not be enough to support the department's fuel and maintenance expenses.

Mayor Ralph Wells suggested the city host a welcoming event for Dr. Walter Short, the newest member of the medical community to serve the city of Leachville. Anyone wishing to volunteer or provide supplies to the event may direct calls to city hall.

The Council accepted new members to the Leachville Housing Authority. Larry Brown will join the committee to replace Donna Barns. Brenda Metheny was also approved to fill an open position.

The Council voted to contribute to the Relay for Life to be held in Manila with a Survivors Sponsorship for $250.

Lisa Baldridge announced the formation of the Leachville Cemetery Committee. Members serving on the committee are Baldridge, Karen Wallace, Tommy Jo Kendrick and Amber McCoy. Donations are accepted and plans to meet goals are already beginning.

Make Leachville Cemetery Beautiful joined with Make Leachville Beautiful in a scheduled event for Saturday, May 21. Plans include raking leaves, trash pickup, cleaning areas around headstones, replacing flowers. The committee also enlisted the aid of Retired Sergeant Richard Griggs to locate and decorate veteran grave sites with flags. As Service Officer of the American Legion in Lepanto, Griggs places flags on veterans graves in five local cemeteries. Money donated to the cemetery fund will be used in the purchase of 275 flags to be stored at city hall. Griggs will place flags on graves one week before the Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays and he will return to remove them the following week.

The process to dispose of tires at what is thought to be an abandoned property will be looked into and dealt with as soon as possible.

Lisa Baldridge inquired about a recent construction interfering with the cemetery. The roof of the structure is overlapping cemetery land by a couple feet. Concerns of run off disrupting grave sights underneath have been expressed and the process to correct the problem will begin soon.

A meeting to continue work on the new employee handbook was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9.

The next Leachville City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 20.

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