Leachville Council approves purchase of e-citation equipment
Leachville Chief of Police Joni Isebell addressed Mayor Rodney Robertson and council members at the April 16 meeting discussing equipment needed for E-citations. Chief Isebell said there is a matching grant to help with the cost of four computers, four scanners and other equipment needed. She explained officers would be able to scan licenses and will have needed information immediately. The city's part for the equipment would be $1,740.
The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase.
All council members, Ethel Hetler, Lisa Baldridge, Paul Wildy, Teresa Johnson, Richie Pace and Keith Evans, were present.
The council also voted to approve the police policy/procedure handbook Chief Isebell submitted for review.
Mayor Robertson said one of the part time officer's spouse, also a certified officer, is interested in working part time but an ordinance passed in 2015 prohibits hiring of relatives.
“I thought it only applied to full time,” Councilwoman Baldridge said.
Councilman Wildy said there must have been a reason for it to be passed.
Baldridge said the ordinance was passed so two employees would not be off at the same time for vacations or a death in the family.
Chief Isebell said she needs the help.
“He is a certified officer and would be dependable,” Mayor Robertson said.
Following a discussion, City Clerk Ruth Ann Keith said a resolution to amend the ordinance to exclude part time officers could be passed if the council wanted to make the change.
Councilman Evans made a motion to amend the ordinance to allow relatives to be hired part time in the police department only when needed.
The motion passed 4-2 with Wildy and Pace casting the no votes.
Pace had commented prior to the vote he felt the departments need to have a full time officer.
“We may need to hire someone that is not certified,” Pace said. “At one time Joni was not certified and someone gave her a chance.”
Robert Ballard, maintenance supervisor, thanked the council for having the playground equipment installed. He said the work is coming along well.
Fire Chief Drake Brown informed the council he had called the Arkansas Department of Rural Services about the grant he had applied for and should know the results by the end of the month or the first of May.
“I just wanted to give you a notice if we do get approved, you will have to act on it quickly," Brown said. “There is a lot of paper work involved in writing a grant. I wrote four before we got the first one for the substation. I also want to say our department (fire department) is enthusiastic and ready to go. We have some good folks serving.”
Councilman Wildy said the enthusiasm reflects well on the chief.
Mayor Robertson said the Melody Theater will have it first function this week as the Buffalo Island Central Drama Department will present a play on Friday and Saturday.
Resident Jackie Hawkins commended the city for the work done on the theater after last year's fire.
“It all looks good,” Hawkins said.
The council discussed having curtains made for the inside windows between the lobby and auditorium and measuring the stage curtains from the BIC Monette elementary stage to make sure they will fit.
“We appreciate the school's donation, but we do need to make sure the curtains will fit,” Mayor Robertson said.
He also said the city or the gymnasium committee cannot move forward with opening an account until the gymnasium is in the city's name. There will be a gymnasium committee meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Buffalo Island Central School has given the old gymnasium to the city of Leachville.
Wildy said he talked to BIC Superintendent Gaylon Taylor and he said the PA system and the scoreboard will stay in the gym. The Leachville High School State Championship trophy is in the case at the MAC in Monette. Mr. Taylor will have the secretary look up the utility bills.
“I will have the information by the Sunday meeting,” Wildy said. “He also said there may be some heating and air units that might be used in the gymnasium.”
Councilwoman Baldridge said the gymnasium has a lot of potential for many uses. She encouraged anyone interested to come to the meeting.
“We need a lot of help on this,” she said.
The council was informed of the newly formed Leachville Beautification Committee. They held the first meeting Monday, April 9. Dewayne and Ann Corneilson received the April Yard of the Month. The committee discussed planting flowers in pots on main street the afternoon after the cemetery clean up. They plan to have a booth at the Harvest Festival and a float in the Christmas parade. Yard of the month winners will be announced April through September. During Christmas they will award Christmas yard decoration winners.
Members of the committee are Marti Robertson, Lisa Baldridge, Patty Jackson, Marilyn Looney, Anna Beth Thomas, Karen Wallace, Candy Denny and Rita Wildy. The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 1, and the May Yard of the Month winner will be announced.
In other business:
*The council discussed several options to help with drainage and culverts.
*Councilwoman Baldridge announced the spring clean-up at the cemetery. She encouraged everyone who could to join the clean-up starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 19. She said some people may just want to come and clean up around their own family's plots and that is fine. There is $585 in donations. Flags and flowers will be placed for Memorial Day. They will meet at the old gymnasium and walk to the cemetery.
*The council discussed needed repairs to the sidewalk in front of city hall. Councilman Wildy asked about the sidewalk in front of the Methodist Church. The church is willing to help pay their part to get it fixed. Mayor Robertson said he would contact the state and see if it is the city's responsibility. He said there has to be a permit from the state for the sidewalk repair.
*Mayor Robertson introduced Ken Kennemore, candidate for Mississippi County Judge. He said he had been with the Quorum Court for 18 years and would like to see the county all work together as one. He said he is only a phone call away for anyone who would like to discuss issues.
*A citizen asked about placing a no u-turn sign in front of her home.
*A resident asked about removing a small culvert behind her home. She said it is stopped up and the water has no where to go. Mayor Robertson said he and Robert (Ballard) would come by and look at it.
*During the financial report the clerk gave the balances with the General Fund at $115,674.16; Street Fund $82,562.22; Melody Theater Fund total $29,915.98 ($9,194.70 fund and $20,721.18 refurbish balance); Employee Savings, $9,247.51; Fire Protection Fund, $15,686.63; ACT 833 Fund $13,086.71; Court Automation Fund, $6,336.22; Certificates of Deposit, Street Fund, $5,674.23; Cemetery Fund, 5,344.20; Fire Protection Fund, $10,377.85; Fire Department Discretionary Fund, 1,858.96; Leachville Festival Fund, $10,390.73; Cemetery Donations for clean-up $585; Meter Deposit Account, $13,400.95; Water Tower Debt Reserve Account, $29,564.89; Water and Sewer Revenue $68,864.46; Operation and Maintenance Account, $2,401.78; total water and sewer funds available $71.266.24.