Leachville receives park grant

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Leachville received a $15,000 grant for their park. Pictured are, from left Senator David Burnett, James Keith of Leachville, Ruth Ann Keith, Leachville City Clerk, and Governor Asa Hutchinson and members of the Rural Community Grant Program team.

Leachville City Council congratulated City Clerk Ruth Anne Keith on her successful bid for a park grant. Keith traveled to Little Rock Oct. 13 to accept a check on behalf of the city of Leachville. The $15,000 grant awarded the city from the Rural Community Grant Program will be used to fund concrete work necessary for basketball courts in the city park.

The city is preparing to take bids to lay concrete for the courts. The Council agreed to the necessity of two full sized basketball courts. The Council is also asking for a warranty or guarantee of future repair, should the need arise. Further information will be provided for specifications on the bids.

Keith encouraged the Board to send a representative to Little Rock in order to make a statement in support of a proposed splash pad for the city. A local presence to express the need for the project would be an opportunity to display initiative, explained Keith, and encourage a favorable interest in funding.

The Council agreed to request the presence of Nancy Sills to speak on behalf of the community.

Marc Taylor, Leachville Police Chief, informed the board of a resignation. The department is currently short one officer prompting Taylor to suggest an interview with an unnamed individual. Mayor Ralph Wells also mentioned a prospect for interview. The Board agreed to consider the hiring of another officer in the near future.

The Board was assured by Taylor the academy has kennels for K-9 units. Reno, the Leachville canine, may be housed there while Zakk Crocker completes training.

Taylor informed the Board the average salary of unlicensed, unranked officers in the area is higher than the salary of Leachville officers. Taylor then made the request for pay increases for himself and the remaining full time officer in order to bring the salary to a more competitive range. The Board agreed to look into changing salaries and take them into consideration while writing the budget for the year 2017.

The Board approved the estimated $440 repair necessary to update the departments LIDAR detector used to monitor vehicle speed. The device is no longer under warranty, but Taylor explained the repair is worth the cost. The price to replace the device would be much higher than the cost of repair with new devices priced at an estimated $6,000.

The board approved the purchase of a chemical pump for the water department. Robert Ballard, director of public works, informed the board the current pump is aging and a back up is always a good idea should an emergency arise.

The following corrections were made to ordinance 2016-1. Keith explained she had corrected a misprint in the original ordinance. The Council decided changing a one time fee of $75 to $100 was necessary to first time customers for water service. The first reading of the revised ordinance was heard, and a second reading is scheduled for the November monthly meeting.

The Council agreed to enter into a contract with I-Tech. An upfront fee of about $2,000 will be paid followed by an estimated $1,300 a month. The three year contract includes licensed and insured internet security for all city departments. Maintenance for the network and city equipment is included in the agreement.

An application for the cost estimation of conducting a special census will be submitted by the city in order to decide if an additional census is possible at this time. The next scheduled census will take place in 2020.

The Council discussed the future need for expansion of the city cemetery. Most land surrounding the cemetery is unavailable for purchase in the near future. The aldermen will continue to look into possibilities for growth.

The Council requested a quote concerning lighting and lettering on the Melody Theater. The quote will include specs concerning the cleaning of lettering along with LED lights to replace the neon currently illuminating the building.

Year end bonuses are expected to be issued to city employees during a working meeting Nov. 23 at 11:30 a.m. in City Hall. The bonuses will be the same as 2015.

A litter pickup organized by The Leachville Foundation was set for 8 a.m. Oct. 22. All supplies were funded and made available by the foundation for volunteers to clean up around town.

The Christmas parade is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28. Line up is scheduled from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Judging will begin at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments and pictures with Santa Claus will be held at the Melody Theater afterward.

The morning of Friday Oct. 28 school children will begin trick or treat at City Hall at 8 a.m.

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