Leachville Council approves technology upgrade
Leachville council approved technology upgrade, heard a report on the Melody Theater renovation progress, hired a police officer, and voted to move forward with grant applications at the regular Monday, July 17, meeting.
Police Chief Joni Isebell introduced Jim Bryant with iTech. Bryant made a presentation on the system needed for body camera storage.
Bryant explained what is needed to ensure a secure system and the storage capacity needed for the police department's body cams.
The body cams were purchased several months ago but the system was not large enough to store the data. The body cameras were taken out of use until the system could be upgraded to meet the needs.
Bryant said the new computer includes on and off-site back up.
“If the system fails for any reason, there is a backup,” Bryant said.
He went on to explain the system saying he is confident in it.
iTech presently has a contract with the city of Leachville. The new system will cost $175 a month extra which includes service calls.
Following a discussion with the council, Bryant said, “Based on the security you need, I went with this option."
Ruth Ann Keith, clerk/bookkeeper, said, "iTech has worked hard for us to get the city state secured.
“If anything was to happen, if city hall was blown away, we could go to another building and continue making payroll, paying taxes, or sending out water bills without having to start from scratch. The auditors look for this. We need to secure our state and public information.”
The board voted unanimously to accept iTech's proposal for the new system at the additional cost.
Chief Isebell than introduced Terry Byrd, Jr., a new full time police officer.
“He has 18 years of experience,” she said. “He is certified and he plans to move to Leachville.”
With the hiring of Byrd, Leachville will have three full time officers and four part-time officers.
Following an executive session, the council voted to hire Byrd at a salary of $31,000 a year with a one year probation.
Interim Mayor Lisa Baldridge read a letter from Steve Lancaster requesting to buy the Crown Victoria formerly used by the K9 officer. He offered $1,200. He said he had assumed the duties of constable for Neal Township.
Chief Isebell said the vehicle was not in use by the department.
The council voted unanimously to sell the vehicle to Lancaster.
Council members present included Rodney Robertson, Teresa Johnson, Keith Evans and Ethel Hetler.
Robert Ballard with the street/water department informed the council he had a water pump to go down and needs to be replaced. He said he took the pump to see if it can be repaired.
“We have to keep a backup on hand at all times,” Ballard said.
The council voted unanimously to purchase a new pump for $2,800.
Ballard said the basketball court work at the park is almost finished.
Evans thanked Ballard and his crew for cleaning up after the July 4th fireworks.
Johnson presented a $500 donation to the Fire Discretionary Fund from Tim Adams Trucking.
Moba Lee Miller, chairman for the Melody Theater committee, gave an update on renovations. Committee members are Rick and Sheila Collier, Mark and Becky Thrasher and Brandon Snider.
She said the committee has met and picked out carpet, paint, tile, and burgundy chairs.
She talked about the colors and how it will all blend in.
Miller presented a completion list from the contractors. Plans are to be finished by the end of September.
The council talked with Doug Masters about lighting and the sound system. Masters is familiar with the theater and knows what the theater needs.
The council agreed to have Masters bring an estimate for the lighting and sound system.
Several of the council members said they want a good sound system for the theater.
A discussion was held on the lighting.
Miller said the theater will need items such as popcorn maker, cash register, money box, hot dog cooker and warmer.
She said people are calling wanting to get back in the theater.
“We are having to start from scratch,” she said.
The large painting of the original Melody Theater is being cleaned and will be returned to the lobby of the theater. It is one of the few items, including the antique candy counter, that was salvageable.
Robertson said he would furnish the furniture needed in the dressing rooms.
Miller asked if the city could fill in an area at the back double doors because water stands and it is muddy.
Keith said $150 had been donated in memory of Mayor Ralph Wells to be used when and where it is needed at the Melody.
Miller went on to say Buffalo Island Central teacher Jill Sanders and her students will be making posters with the upcoming shows to be displayed. Also, one window will be used for a brag window featuring citizens from Monette and Leachville. It will be changed often.
Miller said she has enjoyed working with the company.
“They have worked well with us,” she said. “I have been a volunteer for almost 20 years at the theater. I want to thank Doug Masters. He has done a lot for the city and the theater.
Councilwoman Johnson asked about the handbook. Keith said it has to be approved by the city attorney and the Municipal League and then it will come back to the council for approval.
The council then voted to move forward with the playground grant applications discussed in the public meeting held prior to the council meeting.
Once the estimate is completed on the pavilion project the board will decide to apply or not to the Arkansas Parks and Tourism for the matching grant.