Monette Council discusses sanitation fee reduction

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Monette City Council members discussed the possibility of a one time reduction in sanitation fees during the Feb. 27 meeting. Residential sanitation fees will lower from $11 before taxes to $7 before taxes beginning the next billing cycle. Fees will remain at that level until March 1 of 2018 at which time the Council will reconvene to decide charges.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael presented updates to the Monette Police Department policy and procedure manual for approval by the Council. Carmichael explained the current handbook, adopted in 2001, originated from the Criminal Justice Institute and is outdated. The Arkansas Association Chiefs of Policy recently hired a firm from Massachusetts to go over critical policies and procedures and results were made available to every agency in Arkansas.

Using the findings of the Massachusetts firm as a reference, Lake City, Caraway and Monette Police Chiefs came together to create a policy manual for use in all three departments. Carmichael explained all three department handbooks will be exactly the same due to tendencies to back up each other. Using the same procedure manual will reduce confusion between departments in any situation.

The new manual contains new procedures that may apply to the local departments, eliminating any deemed unnecessary. The decision was tabled until the March Council meeting in order to give aldermen more time to look over the document.

Alan Gann spoke with the Council about the possibility of closing off an alley behind his property for use as a yard. Gann explained the alley is no longer open throughout the length of the area. Until recently, any vehicles driving through the alley would exit through a neighbor's driveway.

Mayor Jerry "Chub" Qualls pointed out there is nothing showing the alley belongs to the city.

After looking at a map, the Council agreed the land was not city property. Owners of property on either side of the area under consideration were directed to come to an agreement of their own volition. No action was taken due to lack of documentation showing the property did belong to the city of Monette.

Monette City Council established 2017 city salary increases. All full time city employees, with the exception of police, received a 3 percent increase. Police received a 4 percent increase. The recorder treasurer received an increase of $200, and the mayor received an additional $500.

The Council scheduled a working committee meeting at 7 p.m. March 13 to look into changes to employee pay schedules and raises in time to implement them in the budget for 2018.

Mayor Qualls read a letter to the Council from Wayne Minley, engineer, on the sewer project. In the letter, Minley informed the Council two large de-watering wells have been installed on the site to keep ground water level.

"My suggestion to you is to go out there and look at it," Qualls said, "I was impressed."

Alderman Brandon Decker brought up a contract for Entergy has not been established. Decker suggested a call needed to be placed from the city before construction on the line can be built for the site. Decker urged a contract be established sooner than later to avoid fluctuations in cost.

A house acquired by the city in the fall of 2016 and used for training by the fire department will be torn down as soon as the gas line to the house is capped off. The property will be cleared and prepared for use as parking for local venues and events as needed.

The Veteran's Park Committee provided bids for sidewalk work at the new park. The City Council approved a bid submitted by RGL Construction for $3,150.

Monette Youth Association was approved to retain funds from the gate fees collected to spend on repairs.

The Council approved a change in pay for animal control from $100 per week to $35 per dog.

Monette City Council meetings are scheduled the fourth Monday of each month at Monette City Hall.

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