New alderman sworn in to Monette City Council

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Newly appointed Council member Bob Blankenship (right) is sworn in by Monette Mayor Jerry "Chub" Qualls. (Town Crier photo/Tiffany Gadberry)

Monette City Council welcomed a new alderman, Bob Blankenship, sworn in at the March 27 monthly meeting.

Due to recent health complications, Alderman Bob Hurst submitted a resignation letter to the Council. In the letter Hurst recommended Blankenship as a qualified replacement.

During a special meeting held March 13, the Council temporarily shifted dog catching responsibilities to employees of other departments. The action was taken in response to the resignation of Bill Benham.

City employees present at the meeting expressed discomfort with the additional responsibility due to lack of training and time necessary for existing duties. Following some discussion employees agreed to temporarily fill the vacancy until someone is hired permanently.

Currently the dog pound can not be accessed due to construction. The Council agreed to house any dog caught during the estimated month at other facilities in the area.

The Council agreed to adjust pay to anyone responsible for the voluntary capture of a dog from $35 to $50 per dog. Mayor Jerry Chub Qualls was given the authority to fill the vacant position. Along with dog catching, the position will entail helping garbage collection and various other duties.

Delbert Clayton was moved to Sanitation Superintendent and a raise to $15 per hour.

The Council agreed to pay $2,200 to Mike Huffman to tear down and haul debris in the removal of the Nettleton house. The city, having an account with the Craighead County landfill, will pay dumping fees for debris.

The council will begin looking into options for turning the property into a parking lot for various use by the city.

The council discussed accepting 200 loads of asphalt to be removed from the Buffalo Island High School gymnasium in preparation for construction of new school campus. The Council agreed to take the asphalt only if it is ground. Mayor Qualls offered to speak with the contractor for more details concerning plans for the removal.

The veterans monument is expected to be ready in time for Memorial Day. Names have been received and approved. Engraving is expected to begin right away.

Kevin Bond gave the Council an update concerning a 2017 Ford Explorer Interceptor recently purchased for the Monette Police Department. The new vehicle was purchased using funds issued to the city by the GIF grant awarded late 2016. An adjustment to color of vehicle decals will be made and returned to begin use immediately.

The decision to accept the 2014/2015 Division of Legislative audit was tabled until all Council members receive and review the documents.

Alderman Kristian Nuckles inquired about a tornado siren to the west of town being out of order. Mayor Qualls shared it will need to be replaced. All others have been tested and are in working order.

The Council discussed concerns for an overall update of the city park. Among plans for improvement the Council discussed checking water available to the area, tennis court improvements, more seating for parents, equipment for younger children and cleaning of the play area.

Alderman Brandon Decker suggested pavilion updates, specifically concerning birds and messes among the tables.

Mayor Qualls suggested looking into matching grants toward recent donations to aid in the improvements.

Alderman Mark Rolland asked that an alley be filled in and leveled to prevent vehicles from driving into yards in an attempt to avoid deep ruts.

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