Caraway Council approves rodeo arena contract
Caraway Mayor Barry Riley recognized Marvin Day, candidate for Craighead County Judge, at the Feb. 8 council meeting. Day spoke briefly introducing himself.
The council discussed the rodeo arena contract. Roger Bell had leased the arena for several years and had announced plans to discontinue management of the arena.
Merrett Emery was present to discuss the terms of the contract.
“I have talked to Council member Roger Williams and Roger Bell,” Emery said. “I want to go with plans for the arena as an asset for the city. I know I will have to spend money out of my pocket.”
He talked about plans to build restrooms and a concession stand.
“Roger Bell has done a great job with the arena and I appreciate all of the work he did to keep it up,” Emery said. “I would like to continue with improvements.”
The contract calls for $2,000 up front and the city to receive 10 percent of the admission gate. The council agreed the city will waive the $2,000 and the 10 percent if any event held is for charity.
It was also agreed Emery will take care of the mowing and upkeep of the property.
Councilman Roger Williams thanked Emery for taking on the responsibility of the rodeo arena.
Emery said he hoped to have events there for the community and surrounding area.
Terry Couch, water/sewer superintendent, addressed the council about raising the water deposits.
The city presently has an $80 water deposit.
Couch said last year the city lost $906.99.
“If our deposit had been $150, we would have only lost $171.76,” Couch said. “So far this year we have lost $392.65.”
Couch said when people move in for a short time and move out sometimes the $80 deposit does not take care of the bill left behind.
“Naturally, if people leave and are paid up, they will still receive their deposit back,” Couch pointed out. “I know $150 sounds high but we really need to do this.”
Couch also said they would work with the surrounding towns in an effort to collect water bill balances. Other towns can refuse services to people until their previous bills are paid.
Councilman Williams said it seems harsh but the city can't keep losing money.
The council passed a resolution, effective immediately, raising the water deposit.
Other council members present were John Boatman, Bo James, Marvin Browning, Jerry Martin and Mitchell Tipton.
Mayor Riley said the city will receive $224,600 in street aid funds from the one-half cent sales tax. He said plans will be to overlay Missouri Street and Cemetery Road.
“I thank the Street Aid Committee for the funds,” Mayor Riley said.
Mayor Riley also said the city has joined the Municipal League in litigation for opioids.
“This is provided at no cost to the city,” Mayor Riley said.
The Council voted to extend the warranty on the CAT for 36 months, 1,500 hours at a cost of $2,448.
Couch asked the council about lowering the cost of chat. He explained the city does not make any money, they just charge the cost and it has gone down.
“We have been charging $20 a bucket but our cost has gone down,” Couch said.
The council agreed to go down to $12.50 to cover the material.
Resident Terry Wicoff asked about clean-up.
He said his street is in need of clean-up and asked if any one had been fined or served. He said it has been over a year and he would like something done.
Mayor Riley said papers have been served.
He then asked about the house behind Jerry Berry's home.
“It was in the February minutes to sell the house to him with the stipulation it should be torn down in three months,” he said.
“That is our fault,” Mayor Riley said.
Couch said he is waiting for the city to knock it down and they have been busy with other projects but he would take care of it.
He also asked the city to update the webpage.
Resident Jerry Murphy then asked about the old heating and air business on main street. He asked city officials to start the process to condemn it and tear it down.
“I've been after it for three years,” he said. “You are going to have to do it.”
He said the owners are not going to clean it up and kids are going to get hurt.
Tipton asked about windows and gutters on the old dress factory. He also said there is a need for clean up around the area.
Councilman James reminded the council the annual road block for Make A Wish will be held on Feb. 16 at the intersection of Highway 158/135. He said the first year they raised $14,000; last year $13,500; and they hope to do as well this year.
“Make A Wish grants wishes to ill children,” he said. “The money we raise goes to a child in this area.”
He praised Riverside East Elementary for their fund-raising efforts and the Sheriff's Department and Caraway Police officers for all of their help in the project.