Leachville Council hears sewer expansion update

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Wayne Menley with Miller-Newell Engineers updated the Leachville Council on the proposed sewer expansion project. Menley is pictured talking to Rep. Johnny Rye at the Leachville meeting. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Wayne Menley, president of Miller-Newell Engineers, updated the Leachville City Council on the proposed sewer expansion project. The city has applied for grants and loans to expand the waste lines to the newly annexed area out to Highway 18.

Menley said his company had started a year ago in July filing applications to USDA Rural Development for the expansion.

“We had applied for $465,000 as part of the funding,” he said. “We have done an environmental study which is required. He said they had been turned down by Delta Regional Authority for funding. Leachville Industrial Development Commission has committed $150,000 toward the project and we have submitted this information.”

Menley said everything has been submitted. It has been revised about three times and the engineer report has been approved. He said once all of the information is submitted, a determination will be made for either a loan or a grant. The city will have to submit all of the debts on the present wastewater system and recent financial statements before any final decisions are made.

He went on to say the city will receive a letter of conditions.

“Right now USDA does not have funding until October,” he said. “We still need to go through the process and if approved when they get funding you will get it.”

If there is no funding approved, they will continue to look at other options.

City treasurer Ruth Ann Keith said she has been working on separating the wastewater and water accounts.

“They want each (water and sewer) to stand on its own,” Menley said.

Following a discussion by the council, Menley said it is very unlikely the city will get a 75 percent grant for the project.

“The most we see are 45 percent grants; 55 percent loans,” he said. “Your rates are too low for grants.”

Councilman Rodney Robertson asked Menley if the proposed system would be sufficient to provide good service.

Menley said it would and explained how the pressure system would be installed with individual pumps.

“It will serve you unless you have a major industry with 1,000 jobs come in,” he said. “Yes, this will handle the expanded system to the Craighead line. The pumping stations will be maintained by the city.”

Interim Mayor Lisa Baldridge thanked Menley for updating them on the project.

Police Chief Joni Isebell gave a report on the fines collected in May and June.

Chief Isebell reported the body cameras will not be used until a secure storage is installed. She said the city will need to install a separate computer just for the body cams. She said it takes a lot of memory for the tapes. The estimated cost is $2,500.

Councilman Teresa Johnson said that is a small price to pay for what the cameras are used for.

The council discussed the back-up costs and asked the clerk to get an estimate.

The council was in agreement to move forward with getting everything in order for the body cams.

Councilman Keith Evans said he had received questions about the telephone number to contact the police.

“Calls are still coming in to the 6713 number,” Evans said.

Chief Isebell said for an emergency, call 911. To talk to an officer call 658-2243. She said Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. ask the dispatch to speak to a Leachville officer or leave your name or number for a call back. After 4 p.m. and on weekends calls will automatically go to dispatch and put the caller in touch with an officer.

Evans asked the chief if the officers are turning in time sheets to her.

“I am working on it,” Chief Isebell said.

Robert Ballard, water superintendent, said thanks to the city attorney they now have a rental trash truck and they are getting a new transmission in the city's truck.

Robertson commended the city employees for their work.

“I know it was a lot of extra work collecting the trash without the truck,” Robertson said. “We appreciate all of you.”

Ballard said all of the city employees would like to take a vacation day on Monday before the Fourth of July on Tuesday. He said all of the workers have the time. All of the trash would be picked up on Wednesday.

The council had no objections and voted unanimously to allow the employees to use a vacation day on Monday, July 3.

Ballard then asked how to handle work done on new development.

He was told to have the city attorney draw up a contract, including the legal fees, parts and supplies, and to collect half of the money up front, making sure they are aware it could cost more or less and the final bill will be adjusted.

Mayor Baldridge asked Ballard to let his crew know how much the city appreciates all of their extra work.

In other business:

*Keith gave the financial report with a final total funds available of $50,188.76.

*A working meeting was set for the council to work on a handbook for Monday, June 26.

*Mayor Baldridge updated the council on the upcoming Harvest Festival. She said the spaghetti supper raised $1,051. The next fundraiser will be a family nite bingo. It will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, July 10, at the Community Center. A hot dog, drink and bingo card will be $5. Extra cards will be 50 cents each.

*Councilman Johnson announced the July 4 fireworks will be at the city park at 9:11. There will be activities before the fireworks.

*All trash will be picked up on July 5. City employees will be off on Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4.

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