Manila council approves cell phone purchase

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Manila City Council members heard a request for the purchase of cell phones for the police department at the Monday, Feb. 26, meeting.

Police Chief James Skinner informed council members officers sometimes have to use their private cell phones for official business. He requested the council consider purchasing at least two phones, one for the day shift and one for the night shift, to be used by officers while on duty.

The council voted to allow Mayor Wayne Wagner and Chief Skinner to purchase a minimum of two phones for the police department to be used for official business only.

The swimming pool calendar for private party bookings will open at 8 a.m. Monday, April 9. The pool will be available for parties from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (except Wednesdays); and 10 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for morning parties. Rental fee is $250 for weekdays and $350 for Friday or Saturday. A $100 deposit will be required. If parties have to be canceled due to inclement weather, the deposit will be returned or it can be rescheduled. Pool rental can be made at city hall.

The pool is scheduled to open May 25. Regular hours will be from 1 to 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per person.

Also, young people who participate in the summer ball program can purchase a season pass for $40. Fees for the ball program is $40 and the season pass is $40; other passes are $50; and a family pass is $125.

Darrell Birmingham, park director, asked about a payment plan to help people who cannot afford the fee all at once.

Mayor Wagner said they will look at possibility coming up with a monthly plan throughout the season.

Birmingham said they are working on gathering information on a debit card system for the ball fields, pool and concession stands.

Chief Skinner informed the council he is working on a 90/10 grant to equip police vehicles with in-car scanners. He said it will be beneficial in transmitting accident reports, getting information at traffic stops, etc.

“With the system, there will be less human error,” he said. “We will know quickly if a driver has any warrants.”

It will cost approximately $3,600 per car for a total $22,000 to $23,000 to equip all six cars.

The council made a motion for Mayor Wagner, City Attorney Wes Wagner and Chief Skinner to pursue the grant with the city providing the 10 percent cost if received.

Code enforcement officer Tracey Reinhart presented blueprints sent by Tate Construction for the council to review. The proposed project is to build triplex apartments at the corner of Dewey and Parker Streets. The council will review the prints and discuss it at the next council meeting.

In other business:

*Mayor Wagner said city treasurer Cathy Huddleston will be attending a meeting in April and researching information on LOPFI, a retirement program for firefighters and police officers. She will gather information and report back to the council at a future meeting.

*Mayor Wagner asked Council members Wendell Poteet, Jason Baltimore and William Barnhart to get with Huddleston and go over items in the handbook including vacation/sick days, etc. The handbook is over 20 years old. It will be discussed at the next meeting.

*Water/sewer superintendent Henry Ford said new sewer lines are in. The project is not complete but the pipes are in and working. Ford said they have to fix yards and blacktop.

*Appointments for department heads were approved with Wes Wagner, city attorney; Shannon Langston, city judge; James Skinner, police chief; Henry Ford, maintenance superintendent; Darrell Birmingham, parks and recreation director; and Tracey Reinhart, fire chief.

*Council voted to hire a dog catcher/maintenance worker on a 30 day probation period.

*Code Enforcement Officer Reinhart said privilege license fees are due for all businesses. The fee is $25 and can be paid at city hall.

*Reinhart also said residents in the proposed annexation areas may stop by city hall for more information. City officials are looking into annexing to Poplar Corner on the north; South Highway 77 to the former Briley Store; to Buffalo Ditch to the west and Big Lake to the east.

*Reinhart also reported Dr. Michael Oldham's condominium project, approved by the council at a previous meeting, has had a site relocation and work will begin when weather permits. The original site for the condominiums was across from the Manila Fire Station. Due to the property being in a flood zone, the building site has been moved to a five acre plot behind Southern Bancorp on Highway 18.

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