Monette Council addresses jail fees

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Monette Mayor Chub Qualls, center, signs off on completion of the new city sewer system. Others pictured are, from left: Justin Ladd USDA-RD; Jerry Lamar, Monette sewer superintendent; Wayne Menley, Miller-Newell Engineers, Inc.; and Danny Rust, McCanahan Construction Company. (photo provided/Nan Snider)

Monette city officials addressed concerns over Craighead County jail fee report during their meeting Monday, March 26.

Police Chief Brian Carmichael held up a copy of the March 26 Jonesboro Sun with front page headline stating “Cities, county try to settle fee dispute.” The article listed outstanding jail fees for municipal prisoners housed in the Craighead County Detention Center.

“We have not been in any discussion about jail fees in over two years,” Carmichael said. “We always pay our fees every month on time. We are charged a $45 fee when they hold someone for a 24-hour period. None of our area police departments have been involved in special meetings to discuss this, even though we have had concerns over double billing. This needs to be cleared up.”

“We have not received any statement,” Mayor Chub Qualls said.

“They are not going to fix this, as they have nothing to gain by fixing it,” Alderman Tom Carroll said.

Emerson Ambulance Service owner Toby Emerson reviewed plans for construction of the new ambulance service building on 121 N. Edmonds Street. The building will be a 32x60' steel building with two bays, four bedrooms, two baths, and kitchen and meeting area. It is to be located on the west side of the current structure.

City Attorney Johnny Wayne Dunigan will be asked to draw up a 30-year contract with Emerson for use of city property lease, with an option to purchase. City plans are to upgrade the exterior of the old water and sewer storage building adjacent to the new ambulance service building.

Police Chief Carmichael passed out copies of proposed 30x50' floor plan for the new Police Department building on North Edmonds Street, next door to the Fire Department. The construction will be opened for bids on Tuesday, April 2.

“This building will allow security and growth, plus add a fourth office and a place for working meetings,” Carmichael said.

The council approved a maximum of $6,000 in funding to purchase three Toughbook 53 MKI computers and equipment for police cars, in order to make them E-Ticket operational.

Alderman Aaron Uthoff addressed public concerns regarding water contamination along Texie Street during construction at BIC schools.

“Any little jar can break something loose,” Tom Carroll said.

Mayor Qualls agreed to look into the situation.

Mayor Qualls estimated the cost to pave North Reeves Street at $11,113.05.

Alderman Brandon Decker reported on the ongoing work being done at the city park on Virginia Avenue. Plans are to add additional benches and picnic tables at the park.

The council has requested a meeting with state highway engineers to answer questions concerning completion of the Highway 18 project.

The council passed Ordinance #2018-1 regarding disposition of demolished structures; and providing penalties for violations; and other related matters.

Councilman Mark Rolland expressed concern about the new sewer plant dryers not drying sewage properly before transporting by truck.

“We need to have our engineers look at this problem," Rolland said. “Right now, it looks like raw sewage being dumped into the truck. The process is not working for some reason.”

“This is creating a big problem,” Mayor Qualls said. “I will ask our engineer Wayne Menley to come over and take a look at it this week.”

Funds of $2,500 were allocated for exterior improvements at the animal shelter, next door to the new sewer plant.    

Arkansas State Representative District #53 candidate Dr. Cole Peck and Craighead County Judge candidate Jeff Presley addressed the council during the meeting and listed their qualifications for the positions they are seeking, with a question and answer session following.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday, April 23.

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