Monette Council approves manual

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In the absence of the mayor, Monette City Recorder Vickki Carroll presided at the Aug. 28 council meeting.

Recorder Carroll discussed the need to pass a resolution adopting the police policy and procedure manual.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael said the manual had been brought up to the council several months ago. “Everyone worked very hard on the manual," he said. “It is for small police departments and doesn’t have things in it that pertains to larger police forces.”

Carroll read Resolution 2017-1, a resolution adopting the police policy and procedures manual of the Monette Police Department. The resolution was approved unanimously.

Council members present were Bob Blankenship, Tom Carroll, Brandon Decker, Kristian Nuckles, Mark Rolland and Aaron Uthoff.

Recorder Carroll read a statement from Mayor Jerry “Chub” Qualls informing the council 87 new names have been added to the Veterans Monument. Mayor Qualls allowed the Arkansas Highway Department to park their equipment on the paved lot by the monument.

Recorder Carroll said Mayor Qualls had spoken to Brad Smithee, engineer for the by-pass project, and he agreed to put more chat on the lot if needed once they move their equipment and put the lot back in good shape when done with the paving.

Alderman Decker said there have been big trucks parking on the lot and he thinks a sign should be put up that can be seen from both directions to reflect there is no parking on the lot.

Someone suggested it might be good to put a sign in the middle of the lot but Alderman Blankenship said he is afraid visitors to the monument might back over the sign. Jerry Lamar said he could try to put a sign in a barrel of concrete until the city can get a fixed sign.

Recorder Carroll read a statement from Mayor Qualls updating the council on work at the cemetery. The building at the cemetery has had new screws put in the roof, paneling taken down and replaced at the bottom, and a drainage ditch has been dug out on the back side where water cannot run into the building. Weed eating has been completed, spraying is almost done around the markers and the mowing continues to look a lot better, Qualls wrote.

Alderman Blankenship said it will just take some time to get it in good shape. Alderman Nuckles asked Lamar if the cemetery water has been installed.

Lamar said it will be a month or two before he has time to do it.

Alderman Decker asked when the city is going to start mowing the ball park. He said Matt Rolland wants to know because he is giving up the work there.

Alderman Nuckles said he didn’t know but he thinks the city should take care of the ball park. Alderman Blankenship said maybe Bobby can mow the ball park and he will talk to Mayor Qualls about it.

Mayor Qualls also wrote the work on Highway 18 and Highway 139 north should be complete by now and the target date to be done was Friday, Aug. 25. Alderman Nuckles said they have not done the crosswalks at the school and the traffic light. He also said when the engineers met with the council they said there were around 40 aprons to be done and he does not see where they have done that many aprons.

Alderman Rolland agreed and said the aprons they have done are small and don’t look like they are compacted. Alderman Nuckles said Mayor Qualls needs to check on this.

Alderman Uthoff said in front of the school, close to Pat Bader’s house, the road has some wobbles in it.

Alderman Blankenship said he is concerned about Reeves Street as it is taking a hard hit from the big truck traffic and now farming traffic as well.

Discussion was held about making the road closed to truck traffic. Alderman Carroll said it would be good to use the road beside the Baptist Church. Alderman Blankenship said that’s a gravel road but could be used. Alderman Carroll said he will talk to the project engineer tomorrow about keeping the big trucks off Reeves Street.

Recorder Carroll read Mayor Qualls’s notes concerning a house and duplex Jim Goodman is building. The duplex rezoning had to be submitted to a paper for 30 days, and then a public meeting date has been set for Aug. 30. The planning commission will make a recommendation and then the council will vote on the issue.

Alderman Carroll said Goodman has started on the house because it didn’t have to be rezoned.

Dana McKuin announced the public meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. Aug. 30.

Monette Night at the Park will be held from 6-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18.

The council had a copy of the 2012-5 Unsightly and Unsanitary Ordinance. Recorder Carroll noted Amendment 2 is included with the Ordinance regarding changing the penalty section of the original ordinance.

Chief Carmichael said the ordinance currently states that the judge can impose a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $500 per offense. Currently the judge issues a $35 fine and $25 court costs. Chief Carmichael said it is sometimes less expensive to just pay the fine than it is to clean up the property. With Amendment 2 the cost will be $100 for the first offense, if no action taken within 10 days it will cost $250 and after another 10 days it will be $500. Chief Carmichael said judges seem to be following other cities ordinances pretty closely that have the same scale.

Alderman Nuckles asked how it was decided who has unsightly and unsanitary property.

Chief Carmichael said he receives a list and he sends a letter along with a copy of the ordinance and a note about what exactly the issue is with the property.

When asked about the response, Chief Carmichael said it normally works.

Alderman Nuckles asked if Chief Carmichael has found out anything about the Baker house that has a tree on it. Chief Carmichael said word has been sent to the owner of the property. He said the city can clean the property and put a lien on it.

Alderman Nuckles asked how it is decided who gets a letter. Chief Carmichael said he receives a list of unsightly properties.

The council unanimously approved the amendment.

Alderman Nuckles asked about the fireworks ordinance the council had discussed. Recorder Carroll said she would check into it for the next meeting.

Alderman Nuckles said he has brought it up before but still feels strongly the city needs a drug testing policy including pre-employment test and random tests throughout the year.

He said he does not think anyone is on drugs but it is a good policy to have. He said the employee handbook needs to be checked to see if the city has a drug testing policy. Recorder Carroll said she would check the handbook and on a drug testing program through the Arkansas Municipal League.

Alderman Decker said the company he works for automatically drug tests on any accident with a fine. Alderman Rolland said any wreck where the employee has a CDL license is also automatically drug tested.

The council discussed work needed to be done in two alleys in town.

Alderman Blankenship asked if there is any money in the 2017 budget to purchase tools.

The city needs to buy a good welder. Alderman Blankenship said Bobby Shirley who is working for the city is taking items home at night to weld and he doesn’t want to do that. Shirley could do the work during work hours if the city had the equipment.

Blankenship said he would like to get a good gas welder, jack, and some other tools for Shirley to work with. He said Shirley has cleaned up the shop. Alderman Blankenship is concerned about the tools going missing and said the city may have to put in cameras. He said someone needs to make a list of what is needed with the cost.

Discussion followed about how much money to allot.

The council agreed to purchase, up to $3,500, what is needed along with a gas welder. The purchase is to be overseen by Mayor Qualls and Alderman Blankenship with the cost to be split between Street, Sanitation, and Water and Sewer.

Council discussed starting work on the 2018 budget. It was agreed to get input from department heads.

Alderman Blankenship would like to see sirens put into the budget.

Chief Carmichael was asked about the department's radar detectors. He said the detectors are 19 years old.

It was decided to have a working meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, to discuss employee drug testing, commissioners and the 2018 budget.

Alderman Nuckles said the city needs a credit card to order things because it can be much cheaper that way.

Carroll said she would call the Municipal League for recommendations and check with Centennial Bank as well.

Carroll said there is an issue with a water bill that is still due after a family moved out of town.

Dana McKuin, water clerk, said they owe over $900 to the city. She said when they moved to Caraway the city would not let them turn the water on because they still owed Monette. However, since that time the Riverside School has become involved because they have children who attend. McKuin said they can only pay part of the bill and requested the city to forgive the rest. She said their water is currently on in Caraway because the water superintendent refuses to turn them off and leave them without service.

McKuin spoke with Tim Short, water and sewer auditor, and he said the city would have to vote to write off a portion of the bill and it should not be done by just McKuin or the mayor.

Alderman Blankenship said the city attorney needs to send a letter to the City of Caraway with a copy to Mr. Couch, Caraway water superintendent, with an itemized bill and that the city expects to be paid in full.

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