Leachville fire and police departments receive donation
Alderman Rodney Robertson surprised the Fire and Police Departments with donations during the Jan. 16 Leachville City Council meeting. The checks written onbehalf of Robertson Brothers Furniture for $1,000 each were presented separately to the department.
Officer Brandon Womack shared plans to put the money toward new radios for the department. Tony Mix, fire chief, said he expected the funds to aid in the purchase of fixtures and finishing for the new substation restrooms.
Mayor Wells read his state of the city address to all present. Wells praised department supervisors and first responders for a job well done. He mentioned purchase of a new dump truck and mower for city use. Wells acknowledged work on the substation expected to give better access to the south and west part of the city along with newly annexed area.
The mayor also looked forward to the installation of regulation basketball courts along with hopes concerning sewer lines and the construction of a city water park.
Wells welcomed the newest members of the City Council, followed by a brief thank you to members of the Council for service to the city.
Ruth Ann Keith, city clerk, spoke with an employee of the Census Bureau concerning questions of a special census for the city of Leachville. Keith was told the census would not be beneficial if it could not be paid for within 10 years and did not find at least one third growth in citizenship. Leachville will not be responsible for the cost of a census set to begin next year. Keith was also told partial census were no longer performed, only full census are available.
Keith shared news concerning GIF grants as stated during a luncheon with the governor. It was said during the event no more GIF grants will be available. In the future, money will be designated to rural community grants strictly to be put toward funding fire departments.
Keith said, "We're going to have to work harder and find more ways to get funding for different projects we have."
Keith shared her findings while looking into retirement options for city employees. After speaking with Arkansas Public Employee Retirement System she found an option that entailed a 5 percent contribution by city employees to be met with 14.73 percent from the city. She shared plans to continue speaking with other agencies concerning more options.
Keith expressed a need for a city website. A website would make information available such as ordinances, phone numbers and other city information. The website may aid in lowering the volume of calls to city hall requesting information that may be found on a website.
Marilyn Looney stood during patron comments urging members of the community to enroll children in head start. Looney shared plans to expand, stating the extent of the expansion is dependent on the number of children accounted for in classrooms.
Robert Ballard, water and sewer manager, informed the Council of the need to rebuild two water pumps. Ballard was able to get a third pump previously thought to need repair work to operate again. The last repair to pumps cost an estimated $1,500 while a new pump is expected to cost about $2,900. The Council approved the two pumps be sent away and checked by Tencarva in Memphis.
The Council discussed options to include funds in the budget toward the purchase a new mower for city maintenance. The purchase of a mower for up to $6,100 was approved.
Fire Chief Mix and Drake Brown, captain, gave a report concerning the substation project. Mix said the funding for the substation will fall through following an announcement that no further GIF grants will be issued. The estimated cost of completing the substation, not including the parking lot, is $15,000. The Council agreed to provide $7,500 to match the funds available to the fire department.
Brandon Womack gave a report on police department activities.
Officer Zakk Crocker and canine officer Reno are enrolled in a two week canine training scheduled to begin Feb. 2 at Blue Streak Canine in Jonesboro. Womack shared Crocker did not mind traveling to and from Jonesboro saving the city the cost of room and meals should he attend a course held further away. The total fee for the two week training with Blue Streak is expected to be $1,000.
Womack requested an account be opened to fund future canine cost. The money would come from fines collected from uninsured vehicle tickets. Keith explained an account is already in use for fees collected and canine cost can be included in expenses paid by the account.
Mayor Wells informed the Council of the hiring of the new district attorney, Gina Knight.
A working budget meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in City Hall.
City Council agreed to continue scheduling monthly meetings on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m.
Alderman Ethel Hetler was selected to step in should the mayor be unable to fulfill duties due to absence or health.
The next Leachville City Council is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13.