Manila City Council tours new hangar

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner and council members were invited to the Manila Municipal Airport on Monday, June 20, to tour the new executive hangar and hold the June city council meeting in the terminal building. Members of the Pilots Association hosted the tour and provided sandwiches.

Greg Smith opened the hangar, presently housing four airplanes, for a tour of the facility.

The Pilots Association at the Manila Municipal Airport welcomed city officials for a tour of the newly completed executive hangar prior to the June meeting held in the meeting room of the new terminal building. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

"We are proud of the new hangar," Smith said. "When we were making plans on the project we were looking to future needs. It will house several small aircraft, but if in the future we need space for a larger plane there is space. It is equipped with a restroom and full shower, kitchenette and office space. In my opinion, we have the finest airport in Northeast Arkansas."

Other members of the Pilots Association shared comments made by visiting pilots.

"I look at the airport as the face of the franchise," Smith said. "This terminal building is the first thing visitors see when they fly into Manila."

Smith said the improvements at the airport are largely funded by the aviation fuel tax.

Mayor Wagner commended the people before them who provided the land to support the airport.

Smith said the hangars are 100 percent full.

"It is good and we want to thank you all for your support of the airport," Smith said.

"It is no secret we are proud of our airport," Mayor Wagner said.

All council members, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, Wendell Poteet, Steven Milligan, Dale Murphy and Jason Baltimore, were present.

Mayor Wagner updated the council on the work along Highway 18 by-pass informing them all of the utilities have been moved, checked and verified.

The swimming pool and park had a great start for the summer. The pool had the largest weekend ever. The baseball tournament last weekend at the park drew a large crowd. Wagner said most nights are booked for private parties at the water park.

"We are going to try to have three tournaments next year to raise money for the park and benefit the city," Baltimore said.

Mayor Wagner said plans are to place a spotlight on the t-ball field and five on the soccer fields.

Wagner and Darrell Birmingham (park and recreation manager) met and discussed having soccer games on Saturday mornings so games could be scheduled with towns which also play on Saturdays. The council had no objections.

Mayor Wagner suggested waiving the building permit fees for construction of the new high school as long as the contractors pass the savings on to the school.

"I have a problem charging the school," Mayor Wagner said.

Councilman Wagner asked about using the fees to help repair the sewer in the area.

"It makes sense not to charge the school," Councilman Milligan said. "It shows we are behind the new school."

There is a sewer line cave-in on Davis Street near the school. Mayor Wagner said it will need to be repaired in July and repaving of the street done before school starts in the fall.

"Once paving bids are accepted, the street near the school will need to be our first paving project," Mayor Wagner said.

The council had no objection to the purchase of a ditch mower, recommended by Henry Ford, city utilities supervisor. Ford said the $3,000 is a good price on used equipment, and it will work well for what the city needs.

City Attorney Wes Wagner spoke with the Municipal League about door to door solicitation in the city.

"If we have an old ordinance on the books prohibiting door to door solicitation, it would be unconstitutional," Attorney Wagner said.

He checked the minutes and solicitors must check in with the police department and must stop at sunset.

"We can't stop them, but we can make sure they meet the requirements," Attorney Wagner said.

Councilman Poteet asked about placing "no solicitation" signs.

"That is your right," Attorney Wagner said. "It is your property."

Residents do not have to open the door and they can feel free to call city hall and Chief Skinner will come out and make sure the solicitors have met the requirements.

"We can't stop commerce but we do have private property rights," Councilman Milligan said.

The council discussed bonuses for city employees. It was decided to give $1,000 to department heads Henry Ford and Chief of Police James Skinner and $800 for full time employees. Part-time employees will be pro-rated.

"As the city grows there will be more to do," Mayor Wagner said. "We have good employees."

Councilman Poteet, also a member of the Lions Club, asked about maintenance on the park pavilions.

"I know the Lions Club built them," he said. "They are need of repair. Do we need to make the repairs?"

Mayor Wagner said the the city will make the repairs.

Chief Skinner said Officer Chris Hill, who recently had surgery, should be released to go back to work in July.

Cathy Huddleston, city treasurer, gave an update on sewer, water and garbage income and expenses for 2015. She also gave options for rate increases for the council to consider.

"I was told at a meeting the rates we have now in Manila would not qualify for any grants for water or sewer improvements," Huddleston said.

Councilman Wagner said he would like to see increases done in steps.

"We can look at the option to raise the rates with an increase each Jan. 1 for a certain number of years," Mayor Wagner said.

The council was in agreement with all of the sewer expenses and rising costs they will have to look at raising rates.

"I know we have to do something," Councilman Poteet said. "Let's table this and go over the information we have and look at all of our options."

Mayor Wagner said the council needs to be in agreement on the final decision.

"I just want everyone to understand why we may not be able to pave a street," Mayor Wagner said. "I think under the budget we have, we have done a good job.

"We want you all to be comfortable with the decision."

Councilman Milligan asked if they could leave the cost of the first 1,000 gallons the same for people who do not use much and may be on fixed incomes.

Huddleston said it could be done that way. She said she can calculate any proposed changes the council would like to review.

The next regular scheduled council meeting will be oMonday, July 25.

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