Leachville City Council appoints new city park committee and members

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A six member park committee was approved by the Leachville City Council during the Feb. 20 meeting. Following discussion concerning the state of disrepair, the Council agreed to eliminate previous caretakers of the park in favor of the committee taking on responsibilities. Members of the committee were chosen and will return to report to the City Council during the March meeting with information concerning elected positions as well as bylaws.

Members selected to serve on the Leachville Park Committee are Bryan Dawson, Mark Thrasher, Drake Brown, Kristy Penix, Tommy Jo Kendrick and Casey Shepard.

The Leachville Harvest Festival Committee was granted permission through resolution 2017-3 to apply for an advertising grant through the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for the upcoming Harvest Festival. The city will pay the total cost of advertising in utilizing a billboard, posters, radio ads and newspaper ads for an estimated $3,310. The grant is designed to reimburse the city around $2,482, two thirds of the total amount invested.

Alderman Lisa Baldridge shared information concerning events to be held at the Leachville Harvest Festival. Baldridge announced plans of live entertainment featuring Buddy Jewel. More information will be made available as plans come together for the event.

A bid for concrete work for basketball courts in the Leachville City Park was submitted by Big Lake Concrete Finishers Inc. of Manila. The bid cited $28,000 for two 50'x84' turnkey courts. The Council accepted the bid with the stipulation Bill Yarbro, owner, submit a few more specifics in the quote and present a document in contract form.

Robert Ballard, water and sewer superintendent, spoke with the Council on plans to purchase a new dump truck. The lease for the dump truck currently servicing the city will expire late March or early April. Workers have expressed the need for a larger truck. Ballard found a 2017 MAC dump truck for sale by River City Garbage expected to better fulfill needs of the city. The driver of the vehicle under consideration was unable to attend the meeting due to illness. He offered to contact Ballard to schedule another time to bring the vehicle for the Council's consideration as soon as his health improves.

Council members also discussed the need for a backup generator for city use. Ballard estimated $600 would be enough to purchase a good generator and will begin looking into the purchase.

A decision concerning the collection fees and bonds by officers of the Leachville City Police Department was tabled until more information can be collected. The Council planned to make a more informed decision during the March meeting.

The Council heard an update from Drake Brown on the new firehouse substation construction. Electric work is finished and work on plumbing and gas was expected to be completed Thursday, Feb. 23. Brown gave a tentative move in time for late March.

Rick Carmack with the highway department spoke with Brown about the need for culverts to be topped with concrete in order to release final permits. Brown assured the Council the work was underway.

Officer Brandon Womack shared an estimate for painting a police vehicle needed for use with the k-9, Reno.

Ruth Anne Keith, city clerk, reminded the Council the repair was approved prior to changes made within the Police Department in 2016.

Following the report on Police Department activity, the Council shared appreciation for work displayed within the department.

"I'm telling you all right now, I've looked it over and it's not just traffic stops," Alderman Keith Evans said, "They are doing a tremendously good job on narcotics and breaking and entering and stuff. So, I take my hat off to them."

"We do appreciate the work you do," Alderman Theresa Johnson included.

Ordinance 2017-1 was accepted following the suspension of a second and third reading. The ordinance concerning a conflict of interest policy for members and officials was necessary to submit an application to the USDA funding the extension of the sewer system was approved following the suspension of two readings.

Mid-day hours for water department collections were discussed. City employee lunch breaks were arranged in an attempt to facilitate customers using lunch breaks between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to pay utility bills.

Leachville resident Marilyn Looney spoke to encourage residents to vote in a special election concerning a millage increase to build a new county courthouse.

Complaints of dogs in town without a leash or owner present were addressed. The Police Department assured members of the council of efforts to enforce current ordinances and asked for support in complaints expected to arise.

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