Welcome to Leachville packets made by PEO

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
PEO members addressed the city council and presented welcome packages. The packages will be kept at city hall and given to new people moving into the community

Members of Chapter AC PEO addressed the Leachville City Council on Monday, Nov. 20, presenting the city with “Welcome to Leachville” packets.

The women compiled packets filled with addresses, businesses cards, business names, telephone numbers, information on the school, churches and other pertinent information to help newcomers. The packets are to be left at city hall to be distributed.

Mayor Rodney Robertson thanked the PEO for all they do in the community.

Police Chief Joni Isebell gave the department report. She congratulated Officer Kasey Shepard for graduating Friday from the police academy.

“It was agreed last year she would get a $1,500 raise when she completed the academy,” Chief Isebell said. “I didn't know if I needed to confirm it or if it is automatically done.”

City treasurer Ruth Ann Keith said it is in the budget and no action would be needed.

Chief Isebell completed her report informing the council she would have a policy for the police department ready for the council to review within a week. She requested a cage for one of the police vehicles saying she would get more information on the cost to present to the council.

Water/street/sewer superintendent Robert Ballard gave an update. He said the new animal control officer had finished school.

“He has picked up about 10 dogs and is giving warnings,” Ballard said. “The officer wants to start giving citations.”

The council agreed citations should be written for repeat violations. They will look at the present policy and go from there.

Fire Chief Drake Brown gave the fire department report.

“We applied for a GIF Grant but discovered the governor has done away with all GIF money,” Brown said.

He went on to say they are still interested in getting extrication equipment for grain bins at a cost of $2,590.

“It will be a huge asset to our department,” Brown said. “Some of our men have had training and I am sure more will train if we get the equipment. We are the only department in the area without the equipment. We hope we never have to use it, but we want to be prepared.”

He asked the purchase to be made from the equipment fund, if possible.

The council voted unanimously to purchase the equipment.

Brown went on to say the tanker truck will be in service soon.

“It will be like having a rolling fire hydrant,” he said. “It will be especially helpful when fighting rural fires where hydrants are far apart. I want to make you aware this tanker is not a firefighting truck.”

He asked council members to start thinking about a new firetruck as they work on the budget. The price of a new truck will run $238,000.

“We can get help from the FDA for about 35 percent of the cost up to $50,000,” he said. “It is something you need to be thinking about for the future. Our oldest truck, a 1988, is back in service but we never know how long it will last.”

Mayor and council thanked the firemen for all their work on the tanker saving the city a lot of money. Also, Mayor Robertson said the ISO rating had dropped from 7 to 6 which will save residents money on their insurance premiums.

Treasurer Keith said if anyone in Leachville gets a letter from their insurance saying it went up because of ISO they need to call city hall.

“One person I know said he got a letter saying his insurance went up due to ISO going up and when it was checked out, it was another Leachville, spelled differently and in another state, but it had to be corrected,” Keith said. “Our ISO is 6."

The council held a discussion on the renovations of the Melody Theater.

Mayor Robertson said now the completion date has been put off until the end of December and the company wants another $70,000 draw to finish what they are doing.

“The guy who signed the contract has not been back,” Mayor Robertson said.

Some of the council comments included, “they need a representative to come to the city council meeting,” “they should be farther along” and “it is not our fault they are behind.”

Finally, it was suggested by Councilman Keith Evans to have the city attorney look at the contract and talk to the company. All of the council voted unanimously to have Mayor Robertson contact the city attorney.

The council discussed the changing of the wards to more evenly distribute the population between the three wards. They talked about growth and making sure the city is in compliance with all regulations.

The city had a proposed map drawn up with three alternatives for moving the boundaries.

“It looks like we could get a more adequate count of the population if we waited until after the census,” Johnson said.

More discussion was held on the options.

It was decided to have Mayor Robertson contact the municipal league attorney to see if there would be a problem on the city waiting until after the census to change the ward boundaries.

Council discuss year end bonuses for full time and part time employees. They voted to increase year end bonuses from $600 to $700 for the 11 full time employees. The part-time employees will receive end of the year bonuses according to hours worked. The firefighters will each receive $150 year end bonus.

In other business:

*Mayor Robertson informed the council the tree in the lobby of city hall was donated by Randy and Marsha Jackson. He said volunteers decorated the tree.

*Keith gave the financial report with $25,775.68 total funds available.

*The council agreed to donate and put up two new handicapped signs at Arkansas Northeastern College. “We want to keep our college and our library,” Councilwoman Lisa Baldridge said.

*New council member Paul Wildy said it was his first meeting and he learned a lot and he is looking forward to serving the community.

*Councilman Evans talked about the need for a caution light at Highway 119 and Highway 18. He said in the past the state has not allowed the city to place a caution light even on Highway 119. He asked Representative Johnny Rye (who was present at the meeting) to check into it and see if there is any way to get a light at the intersection.

*Councilwoman Baldridge said she went out to the cemetery to remove the flags and said the high winds had messed up the flowers. “They were everywhere,” she said. She went on to say she is excited for the harvest festival and has started to work on next year's which will be held Saturday, Sept. 1.

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