Caraway Mayor offers State of the City address

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley delivered the State of the City address Thursday during the regular council meeting.

“In 2017 this city made some very important steps to rebuilding the city since the 2013 tornado," Mayor Riley said. "The city also developed a parks commission, took on policies to help and protect this town and said ‘Goodbye,’ to the old chiefs and ‘Hello,’ to the new ones. In the first quarter the city took on a new change to a policy in the city, a new cleanup policy was put in place to help keep our city clean."

Mayor Riley filled out a grant to resurface Tennessee Street, which was denied later by the Arkansas Development Commission. "Lexi Robinson was named Humanitarian of the Year, making her the youngest in the state to receive this award," Mayor Riley said. "Many volunteers came together also to help families with upgrades to their homes. The second quarter, the city dissolved the park commission and named a person as park director to get the ball season in order. Fire Chief Scott Browning retired leaving the chief position open. William Maulding was named later to replace Browning. The Chief also placed an ordinance banning pit bulls within the city and raising fees for people to pick up their dogs that were running loose and put in the dog pound. The city passed the police handbook and took pride in the fire and water department in lowering the city ISO’s rating to a four from a six. The city also proudly welcomed Lecil Harris, Hall of Fame Rodeo Clown, to the city for the annual Bucking of the Bulls event in the city’s rodeo arena.

"The third quarter was met with two purchases of two new police vehicles and the trading of three old vehicles. The city workers began placing new sidewalks in the city, starting on Waco Street the city sold property to Michael Oldham who in the future will build 30 apartments on this property. The city hired Neil’s flooring to rejuvenate the flooring in the senior citizen’s building. In the last quarter of the year, the city said goodbye to chief William Hicks and named Shannon Kelems as his predecessor. The city also hired two new officers. The city received a property on which the Masonic Lodge sits and will be sold in the last quarter to a company to be named later.

"The year 2018 the city still needs to focus on updating our infrastructure and to keep finding ways to entertain growth this year."

The council amended the 2017 budget due to going over budget in the general fund and street department. Mayor Riley said the general fund was due to purchases that had been made throughout the year and some insurance that was not in the budget but should have been.

In the street department the purchasing of a new backhoe and new salaries caused it to be over budget.

After long discussion, the council passed the 2018 budget, which under Arkansas law had to be passed before February.

The council also discussed the purchase of a cascade system for the fire department. Riley presented the council with two bids for the project. The first bid from Casco Industries for $36,555.84 and the second from Emergency Vehicle Specialist (EVS) for $23,485.59.

A cascade system is the equipment that fills air bottles for the fire department. According to Mayor Riley the city needs a system that will fill up 45-minute bottles, which is a capability they currently do not have. The current cascade system is down.

The council decided to accept the bid from EVS and pay $12,000 of the payment and borrow the remainder from a bank with the hopes of paying off the remainder by the end of the year.

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