Monette City Council
Monette City Council discussed funds set aside for the veterans monument at the Nov. 30 meeting. Mayor Chub Qualls told the council Larry Rolland, Monette American Legion member, could not be at the meeting but asked Mayor Qualls to bring up the subject.
Mayor Qualls said the late John Paul Masner will states Masner wanted to contribute to a physical monument for Veterans of Foreign Wars up to $50,000 and if at the time of Masner’s death, the monument has been completed or such amount is not needed for that purpose, he gives the unused portion to the American Legion Post at Monette to be used as determined by the governing body of that organization.
Mayor Qualls said that Rolland was concerned that this matter needed to be addressed since the monument project is paid for. He said Rolland’s concern is for upkeep of the monument and the monument site and he was not in favor of spending it on anything else.
Alderman Bob Blankenship asked about the sign the Veterans Park committee is considering and Mayor Qualls said Rolland does not want it spent for a sign.
Mayor Qualls said Henrietta Qualls, chairman of the Veterans Park committee, asked to come to this meeting but he told her to come to December’s council meeting.
Alderman Tom Carroll suggested the city pay the American Legion what is left in the account and then they can give the city a check for the same amount back and that way there is a paper trail. Alderman Blankenship said that frees up the American Legion to decide what to do with the money. Recorder Vickki Carroll said there is $33,081.26 in the account at this time. Alderman Blankenship suggested City Attorney Johnny Dunigan be consulted so he can advise the council on what should be done.
Philip Duffel, owner of Monette Feed and Hardware, said he is in need of more space and plans to build another building. He said keeping some lumber on hand had worked out better than he expected and he wants to make space to keep more and maybe more landscaping materials.
Duffel said he would like to build a 50’x60’ building and it will be offset the same way from the street to the front. He said he will be building on the property line and he knows he will need a permit to start construction, but he wanted to let the council know his plans.
Mayor Qualls said he will contact the planning commission about the matter.
Mayor Qualls told the council they all have a copy of the Greenway deed which deeds the portion of the parking lot by the veterans monument to the city. Recorder Carroll said it will have to be filed at the courthouse. Alderman Kristian Nuckles suggested the Greenway property deed and the Nettles property deed be combined. Alderman Carroll said to have the city attorney do it.
Recorder Carroll said the budget has been corrected since the last working meeting and the council has a copy in their packets.
Mayor Qualls said at the working meeting the council discussed cutting out building inspector Jerry Lamar's $4,800 annual salary for that job. Mayor Qualls said he is not for making it part of his job and taking away his pay for it.
Alderman Blankenship said he and Mayor Qualls had met with Lamar and he was not happy about the matter but he agreed to half of what he currently gets now which would be $2,400 per year.
Alderman Blankenship said he was against taking the pay away altogether because Lamar has to do continued education and earn certificates not to mention the extra stress.
It was decided to add it into the general fund budget.
Alderman Nuckles said he had looked at the sewer plant project and wondered what the city should do with the old sewer plant. Alderman Blankenship said it may have to be left alone because it would cost a lot to tear it down and haul it off.
Alderman Brandon Decker suggested checking with Jerry Lamar, sewer superintendent, and see what his plans and thoughts are about it.
Mayor Qualls informed the council the sanitation truck has been in the shop for over a week. He said the issue is with the ignition filter and it will cost around $4,000 for the filter alone. The total cost will be $6,500 and the city should have it back by Thursday morning.
Mayor Qualls commented a lot of the by pass traffic is turning onto north Reeves Street. Alderman Blankenship said the street is breaking off on the sides.
Alderman Nuckles said the poles obstructing the vision need to be moved and work done on the road bed. He said that if the work is not done to the road bed, it will just start breaking off again. Alderman Nuckles suggested getting the milling that was used on the parking lot and dump in there. Alderman Blankenship said anything that will pack down will work.
Alderman Carroll said the city had discussed not spraying ditches anymore when they got the tractor. They are supposed to be mowing them and that would help with the erosion.
Alderman Aaron Uthoff said the city could put up a sign to forbid large truck or tractor traffic on north Reeves Street.
Alderman Blankenship said he would talk to the county judge and see if he can help with the road. Alderman Mark Rolland asked if the state money to repave some of the roads will be available in 2019. Mayor Qualls said yes.
Mayor Qualls said it is time to discuss the water and sewer rate ordinances.
Alderman Carroll made a motion to roll forward for one year water ordinance number 2013-1 and the sewer ordinance number 2013-2 and the meter deposit until 2019. The motion passed unanimously.
Alderman Decker said he had been working on the issue of lighting on the by-pass. He said it is going to take some coordinating on the part of Entergy and Craighead Electric to see which areas belong to each one. Alderman Decker said to start with the city needs to focus on lighting the two intersections. He proposed putting four lights at the turn on Highway 18 and 139 north and four lights at the turn on Highway 18 and north Reeves. Alderman Decker said it will cost $10.50 per light to set it up, $7.50 for the service and $3.00 for the pole and it is all Craighead Electric. He plans to set up a meeting between Entergy and Craighead with maps and everyone get together and figure out the area.
Mayor Qualls said Chief Carmichael had called the City of Lepanto about selling the 2009 Dodge Charger police car but they never called him back so they must not be interested. He said that an advertisement would be run in a newspaper for bids on the car.
Mayor Qualls said the council had discussed combining Dana McKuin’s water clerk position and her cemetery position and the pay from $11.43 to $13.00 per hour.
Alderman Nuckles said that is not a raise. Discussion followed with Alderman Rolland making a motion to combine McKuin’s raise McKuin’s hourly rate to $13 per hour and to combine the cemetery job and water clerk job into one, to be paid out of the water and sewer fund, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and then the 5 percent raise on top of that. The council approved the motion unanimously.
Alderman Nuckles asked Recorder Carroll how long she had been working for the city and she said 21 years.
Alderman Nuckles made a motion to raise Carroll’s hourly rate to $16 as of Jan. 1, 2018, and then the 5 percent raise on top of that. The motions carried unanimously.
Alderman Nuckles said he had talked to Fire Chief David Clark and he is in favor of paying off the fire truck. Alderman Nuckles made a motion the fire department pay $5,000 and the city pay the balance of what is determined to be owed to the bank. The council agreed unanimously.
Alderman Carroll said he would like for the council to think about sewer on the by-pass for future growth. He said he had gotten with Wayne Menley, engineer. Cost estimates included one for $212,000 taking it toward the bypass and the existing lift station by Monette Manor. An estimate for $290,000 will take it all to Braden street and the lift station there. Alderman Carroll said it all doesn’t have to be done at one time.
Discussion followed. Alderman Blankenship said the city needs to run the main trunk lines. Alderman Decker said if someone talks to the people who own the land on the by-pass then they may decide to sell or develop. Alderman Carroll said the city has $100,000 sitting in the sanitation fund, which could be borrowed and repaid. Alderman Nuckles said the council needs to talk to the property owners on the by-pass to see what their thoughts are.
Alderman Decker said to open up the discussion to everyone and maybe run an ad about it.
In other business:
*The council voted to pay off an old sewer loan with USDA Rural Development in the amount of $8,500.
*The December meeting wll be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Buffalo Island Museum and a Christmas party will follow at 6 p.m.
*The council voted to purchase a large piece of playground equipment at a cost of $29,848.35.
*Alderman Nuckles discussed the old school house building at the city park. He said if the city doesn't use it or need it, he would like to see it torn down and eventually build a handicap accessible bathroom facility at the park.
*Councilmen said the wrought iron sign at the cemetery needs to be painted and the two wrought iron signs at the city park need to be painted also. Alderman Blankenship said the cemetery worker can do the painting.