Riverside Superintendent addresses Caraway Council

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Riverside Superintendent Jeff Priest speaks at the Caraway City Council meeting. Also pictured is Councilman Marvin Browning.

Riverside School District Superintendent Jeff Priest addressed the Caraway City Council at the April 13 meeting. Mr. Priest informed the council and guests of the upcoming auction at the old Riverside East Elementary School. The auction will be held starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 27.

The old cafeteria and East elementary building will be torn down during the summer months. The buildings will be open on Friday for any interested persons to go through. The items will be auctioned by room and the buyers will have a week to remove everything they want from the rooms.

Mr. Priest said everything from the light fixtures to the contents can be removed.

Money from the auction will be used to move the playground equipment nearer to the new facility. The concrete pads, if they are in good shape once the buildings are removed, will be turned into six outside basketball courts.

"I realize May 27 is Memorial Day weekend but with everything happening, it was the best day for the auction," Priest said.

Priest also talked about the pre-kindergarten classes on the East campus and the need for interested parents to register their three and four year olds in the next two weeks.

"We (the school district) provide the housing but Crowley's Ridge Cooperative is over the program," he said. "There are 20 slots on each campus, Lake City and Caraway. As of right now, there are only four students registered on the East campus. We did have two more applications picked up."

He stressed the importance of parents applying by May 1. Priest said he feels the kids are out there and people may not realize they need to apply now. It will be too late if parents wait until the new school year.

"I need your help getting this information out," Priest said. "I have no control on the pre-school program. It is important. Principal Brandi Wallace has applications in the office on the East campus. We are trying to get the word out every way we can."

Priest also said there are more qualifying factors than just income, such as low birth weight. He encouraged parents who do not think they will qualify due to income to apply. They may qualify under other guidelines. Pre-k is open to three and four-year-olds.

Mr. Priest said if the community has any questions about the school, they should feel free to call him.

Mayor Barry Riley introduced an ordinance to dissolve the park commission. Riley said many of the members had resigned and he felt it was time to dissolve the park commission, established by an ordinance in 1963, and allow the city to take responsibility of the park.

Councilman Roger Williams asked if he had talked to members of the park commission and Mayor Riley said he had.

Councilman Bo James asked about the money in the park account.

Mayor Riley said it would remain in the park account and be used for the park. There is a little over $11,000 in the fund.

Council passed the ordinance unanimously and approved Lisa Anderson, water clerk, and Mayor Riley to disburse checks for the park expenses.

Mayor Riley informed the council that Caleb Waugh has been working as park director scheduling games, getting umpires, etc. He asked the council about pay for the work he is doing.

The council did not express objections to paying him for his work but asked the mayor to talk to Waugh about the duties and how many hours it will take through the season.

The council and visitors discussed the dog problem in Caraway. Mayor Riley said he is sure most of them had seen the dog attack on the news. The city has a vicious dog ordinance in place but Riley said he has attorneys working on an ordinance to deal with pit bulls.

The council discussed regulations for fences, chains, registering, and other options dealing with pit bulls.

Terry Couch, water superintendent, said he walks the streets and he knows the dangers. He said even if pit bulls are on a chain, they can break a chain or come out of collar.

"Even if they are in the house with the storm door closed, they can get out," Couch said. "I'm not afraid to take on most dogs but I am a pit bull."

Several visitors made comments on the dog issue in Caraway.

Mayor Riley said as soon as the ordinance is ready, he would present it to the council.

The council also discussed, but no action was taken, on raising the fee for retrieving dogs at the pound, having pet owners register their animals at city hall with proof of shots.

One citizen said he was having a problem with dogs constantly barking. He asked if there is a noise ordinance against it.

In other business:

*Equipment repairs were discussed during the financial review. Water superintendent Couch informed the council most of the repair bill went to replace a bucket pump. The bucket pumps were purchased with grant money and the city is required to have a reserve in the shop at all times. The other expenses were for supplies for the water plant and water meters.

*The council passed a resolution to condemn a building on the corner of New York and Missouri Streets.

*The council voted to order fireworks for the Fourth of July celebration at a cost of $3,500.

*Mayor Riley said the fire department said goodbye to Chief Scott Browning with a dinner on March 31. Browning retired due to medical reasons. William Maulding replaced Browning as the new fire chief.

*The council discussed needs of a new city sidewalk near the Methodist Church. The city employees will look into replacing it.

*Picking on Main Street, a time for people to gather, enjoy music and refreshments, will resume for the season at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month.

*Councilman Roger Williams said the annual car show and barbecue contest will be held on main street on April 22.

*The annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held Saturday and it is sponsored by Ronnie Hurst and Kenny Weathers.

*A resident who addressed the council said he had been served and was in court about tires on his property. He sells the used tires and he asked why he was served and not others who have piles of old tires. Mayor Riley assured him others had been or will be served. Councilman James asked him about putting up a privacy fence. He said if he could afford he would.

*Councilman Mitchell Tipton asked about repairs needed at the factory building on main street, saying the windows need to be fixed. The occupant is paying rent and he feels the city needs to take care of the repairs.

*New flooring for the senior citizen/community building was discussed. Tipton said the tile is coming up.

*Chief of Police Pete Hicks informed the council he and other area chiefs in the county have worked on a policy/procedure book for the police departments. He asked the council to review it for approval at a later date.

*The next regular council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 11.

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