Monette Mayor gives State of the City address

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monette Mayor Jerry "Chub" Qualls gave the State of the City address at the Jan. 22 meeting. He listed many accomplishments for the year 2017 such as the sewer plant, opening of the Highway 18 bypass and the new school.

Wayne Menley, with Miller-Newell Engineers, and Eddie Dunigan, mayor of Black Oak, were at the meeting to discuss the possibility of Monette handling Black Oak's wastewater.

Menley said Monette has been talking about this possibility since around 2001 and the new sewer plant was built with Black Oak in mind. He said Black Oak is applying for grants and loans from USDA and what they need is a commitment letter from Monette to handle their sewage if they get the grants and loans. Menley said if the project gets funded then both sides would have to come up with an operating agreement. The agreement would detail the rates, how itís billed, and how it will operate.

Discussion followed and Alderman Tom Carroll made a motion to provide a letter of intent for Monette to handle Black Oakís wastewater. The motion was approved 4-1 with Alderman Kristian Nuckles casting the no vote.

Menley also updated the council on the sewer plant project. He said the start up would be Tuesday, Jan. 23. Menley said when the UV section is here next week then the wastewater can be turned loose to be processed. After that, the old sewer plant will be emptied into the new system and then the old plant can be demolished.

Mayor Qualls told the council the Arkansas Highway Department had asked if they could stockpile material on the parking lot between the fire station and the monument. He said it will be pea gravel and they would need to keep it there until May or June. Mayor Qualls said they wonít use the whole space, just an area in the middle.

Alderman Nuckles asked if they agreed to repair any damage they might cause and Mayor Qualls said he was sure they would. Alderman Nuckles said he has never seen them do anything in the timeline they propose and he doesnít see how it benefits the city by allowing them to put it on that lot. He said it will get into tornado season if it is left there in May and June.

Mayor Qualls took a poll on allowing them to use the lot and the concensus was not to allow them to use the lot. Alderman Brandon Decker suggested finding an alternate location for them such as Kiech Gin or the area in between the city shop and Monette Co-Op.

Alderman Uthoff said he would like to see the city do away with the green light on the traffic light and just let it be a 4-way flashing light. Alderman Carroll said he had called the highway department about repairing the traffic light and putting it back in correct working order and they said the contractor will be back in the area in the next month or so and would correct it. Adlerman Nuckles said they had said they would replace the sensors for the traffic light.

Alderman Decker said he and Dana McKuin had set up a Facebook page for the city but Facebook had shut it down. He said because they used a made up e-mail account Facebook had kicked it out because it wasnít a real person. Alderman Decker said his wife said she could set up a page under her email that would have its own passwords set and administrator thereby limiting access. He said he had also talked to Jill Sanders, teacher over the EAST program at BIC High School, and she is assigning several of her students to help develop the page for the city. He said they can create a nice site with graphics, pictures, etc. and she will get that to the council in the near future for approval.

Alderman Decker asked if there was a public meeting in the future to discuss growth in Monette. Recorder Carroll said there is a rezoning public meeting set for 6 p.m. Feb. 8, at city hall.

Alderman Nuckles said he had talked to Kay Watson Terrell about the property she has for sale in Monette. He said itís the property that has the building on it the city has rented for many years. Alderman Nuckles said he told her the city may not be able to pay it all in one year and may need to split it into two years and she indicated that would be fine. Alderman Carroll said that would allow room for expansion of the fire department and Alderman Nuckles said he thought it would be wise to purchase it. He said the city could pay for the lot and then borrow the money to build a building for the police department on it.

Alderman Mark Rolland made a motion to offer Terrell $24,000 for the lots and to split the cost into two years if necessary. The council voted unanimously to make the offer.

Alderman Nuckles asked the council if they thought the police department would be better suited on that parking lot. Alderman Decker said the council needs to sit down and talk about the ambulance service and the police, etc. Alderman Nuckles said he can find out if the ambulance service is willing to chip in on a building.

Mayor Qualls reported the city had received one bid on the 2009 Dodge police car and it was for $500. Alderman Decker made a motion to accept the bid of $500 for the 2009 Dodge police car. The motion passed with Alderman Nuckles abstaining.

Mayor Qualls said it is time to work on the water towers and he asked Recorder Vickki Carroll to read the minutes he had given the council from an earlier council meeting.

Recorder Carroll read the minutes outlining the approval and plans for starting with the newer water tower in January of 2018 at a cost of $51,500. Mayor Qualls said the price is still good but after talking with David Moore, water superintendent, he said the older water tower is in worse shape. He told the council they have a copy of the bid to complete the older water tower at a cost of $68,000 for the inside and the outside.

Following a discussion, Alderman Rolland made a motion to clean and paint the inside of the old water tank at a cost of $28,500 and to clean and paint the exterior of the aerator tank at a cost of $4,200 this year and see if the price of $51,500 can be locked in to clean and paint the inside of the newer water tower next year. The motion passed unanimously.

Recorder Carroll said she had given the council a list of certificate of deposit information for the Monette Memorial Cemetery. The council had said in the past they would like to move the large certificate of deposit to a local bank.

The council voted to close out the $10,937.29 and the $12,096.59 certificates of deposit at Centennial Bank and place it into the Monette Memorial Cemetery checking account at Centennial Bank; move the $229,173.70 certificate of deposit from Evolve Bank to Centennial Bank with $100,000 placed in a 12 month CD at 1.85 percent interest and the remaining $129,173.70 placed in a 24 month CD at 2.13 percent interest.

Recorder Carroll said she had given the council the cemetery land rental income for 2016 and 2017. Alderman Nuckles said it may be time to take some land out of being farmed to be used for graves. He said it will take time to let the ground settle and firm up. Alderman Rolland said there are still a lot of empty spaces left in the existing cemetery. Adlerman Carroll said he thought the council should wait two or three more years and then start letting the ground rest.

Alderman Decker said the location of the poles where the lights are on the intersection is still an issue. He suggested the arm on the lights be 12 or 15 feet instead of 3 feet and he believes that may help.

Alderman Carroll said it is better with the lights as it brings attention to the intersection. He suggested the lights be placed all the way out in both directions, come around both curves so that people can see as they are approaching Monette there is a bypass out there. Alderman Decker said he is going to get together with his engineer and a representative from Craighead Electric and they are going to talk over what should be done. He will bring it all back to the council for their input.

Alderman Decker said the park grant is due in August and he needs to get a park committee together because you have to have a committee in order to apply for the grant. Alderman Carroll asked if Alderman Decker has had anyone interested in working on a committee and Decker said hopefully if they volunteer, they will be interested enough to work because itís going to take a lot of work. He said he would like one of the EAST students to sit in on a park committee meeting and they will be able to help with any design or graphic elements that need to be done for the application.

Alderman Nuckles said the new playground equipment the city ordered is in. He said somene will have to be hired to set the supporting poles but after that the city workers can put it together.

The council set a working meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at City Hall.

Alderman Decker presented the city with a check for $5,155.57 from the Monette Youth Association for 30 percent of the gate collections for the 2017 ball season to be put into the park fund for maintenance. He announced sign ups for the summer season will be held Feb. 3 and 10.

Alderman Nuckles reported Alderman Bob Blankenship had called the county and they are going to place chat on the ditch side of North Reeves street over to the poles.

Alderman Nuckles said the ditch at the co-op needs something done to it.

Mayor Qualls said that Moore and Lamar had opened it up but left it like that.

Alderman Nuckles said that if a car goes off of the road into it, the car is in bad shape. Mayor Qualls said that Sam from the Co-op said to leave it open and Alderman Carroll said itís fine to leave it open but it needs to be tapered. Alderman Nuckles asked why not finish what they started and Mayor Qualls said due to due to weather and other things to do, they didnít finish it.

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