Construction of Monette sewer treatment plant begins

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Monette City Council heard news during the Jan. 23 meeting of construction to begin on the sewer treatment plant.

Mayor Jerry "Chub" Qualls met with Ricky Carter and Wayne Menley of Miller Newell Engineers to discuss progress on the sewer treatment plant project. Qualls reported the work on sewer treatment construction was set to begin Jan. 23. Work is scheduled for four days a week, Monday through Thursday, 10 hours a day.

It was suggested once pumps are up and running, Jerry Lamar be placed on standby should an emergency arise Friday through Sunday, during the time workers are not expected to be present.

The road leading to the sewer treatment site has been widened in order to accommodate needs for construction.

Mayor Qualls gave his State of the City Address acknowledging progress made in the last year and looking forward to milestones in 2017.

Accomplishments of 2016 for the City of Monette included:

*Payment of two loans for a total of $32,000.

*Purchase of a new police vehicle.

*Golf carts approved within city limits.

*Payment of debt for a sanitation truck.

*Veterans Park monument selection.

*Repairs to the building housing the police department.

*Successful Night out at the Park.

*A large anonymous donation in support of multiple city departments and projects.

*New water meters purchased and installed.

*Savings of more than $200,000 on loans for the new sewer treatment plant.

Future plans for the city:

*Beginning the new sewer treatment plant in January.

*Completion of the bypass.

*500 plus names to be etched on the monument scheduled to be dedicated on Memorial Day.

*New school construction will begin.

"I am starting my 11th year of service as mayor," Qualls said, "I look forward to working with all of you."

During discussion revolving around city employee pay increases from 3-5 percent, Alderman Bob Hurst requested details on the amount each employee makes. The request was made in order to determine the dollar amount of a percentage raise. Concerns of a percentage raise across the board may create an unintended gap between the higher and lower paid employees were mentioned and a decision for pay increases was tabled until more information could be provided at the February meeting.

Alderman Hurst asked if any information was available for the council to consider adjusting the mayor's position from part time to full. Looking forward, Hurst said, the change may generate more interest in the future and increase the number of mayoral candidates.

The 2017 budget was approved as presented.

The Fire Department has completed training on a property recently purchased by the city. A plan to clear the property to prepare for a parking lot to support city functions and veteran park visitation was set into motion. The city backhoe will be used in demolition and a roll away dumpster will be used to remove debris.

A Dodge truck similar to the new police truck is being ordered for use by the city. Five thousand dollars per year has been set aside for the last three years in anticipation of the purchase. The oldest city vehicle will be auctioned off with plans to set a minimum bid of $500.

Shawn Nance of the City Planning Commission spoke with the Council about land offered to the city by a Mr. Blankenship. Blankenship made it clear he would give the property under the condition it be used as a park. Blankenship spoke with Nance about his concern for residents with children living on the north side of Monette needing a place of recreation without crossing dangerous traffic.

Nance mentioned two adjacent properties for sale near the intersection of Stewart and Carol Street should the city wish to build a larger park. The listings, totaling an estimated $14,000, may provide room for a larger park and the possibility of a water themed area in the future.

Alderman Aaron Uthoff, Kristian Nuckles and Mark Rolland will serve on a committee to look into options concerning a park to be made available to residents north of the highway.

Following discussion concerning the need to offer an incentive involving water and sewer to promote new development, three alderman agreed to form a committee to work with the planning commission in order to provide a plan for contractors interested in future construction. Bob Hurst, Brandon Decker and Tom Carroll will serve on the committee and present findings within the next few months.

Mayor Qualls shared plans to look into a request made concerning the cleaning of Highway 18 south of Reeve Street. Cleaning has been completed North of Reeve Street, however the southern end is still in question.

Aaron Uhtoff was chosen to replace Vickki Carroll on the Planning Commission.

Alderman Kristian Nuckles will replace Bob Hurst on the Monette Memorial Cemetery Committee.

"I enjoyed the meeting tonight." Alderman Hurst said, "I do believe we really attempted to get some things accomplished for the betterment of the city."

The next Monette City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27.

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