Leachville to become a Purple Heart City

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Gregg Roll, Post 197 Commander, addressed the Leachville City Council about becoming a Purple Heart City. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Leachville City Council voted to take steps to proclaim Leachville as a Purple Heart City; approved end of year bonuses, authorized the police department to sell old guns, announced the Christmas parade date at the Oct. 15 regular meeting.

Mayor Rodney Robertson introduced Gregg Roll, commander of American Legion Post 197 in Manila, who invited Leachville to become a Purple Heart City.

“It is my pleasure and honor to be here,” Roll said. “Senator Dave Wallace was at the Manila council meeting when we held their Purple Heart Ceremony. He asked me to talk to you about becoming a Purple Heart City.”

Roll went on to talk about the Purple Heart, the oldest medal given. He explained to become a Purple Heart City, the council will need to pass a proclamation. Roll also said Mississippi County is a Purple Heart County and signs will be placed near Leachville.

“Veterans donated money in Manila to pay for the signs,” Roll said. “The signs are $44 each and are made by Preston Turner in Conway.”

Roll complimented Leachville on the beautiful veteran's monument/park on main street. He also recognized Senator Dave Wallace and Representative Johnny Rye for their support of veterans.

Roll said if Leachville city officials decide to become a Purple Heart City, Everett Evans, Arkansas Commander of the Military Order of Purple Heart, will be present for a ceremony and present the city a plaque.

A citizen attending the meeting said if the city decides to become a Purple Heart City, she would help pay for the signs.

Roll said the city will be joining national recognition along with other cities, counties, trails and more.

“It is a way to honor our veterans who were wounded,” Roll said. “I ask the council to consider the proclamation and make it happen for all of our veterans.”

Council members voted unanimously to take steps to make Leachville a Purple Heart City.

Council members present were Keith Evans, Richie Pace, Teresa Johnson, Lisa Baldridge and Ethel Helter.

Council members voted unanimously to give end of the year employee bonuses.

“I know the lawsuit puts us in a bind and we will not be able to make large purchases for a while, but we have some of the most dedicated, hardworking employees and if at all possible I would like to see them get at least the same amount as they got last year,” Councilman Evans said.

The council voted unanimously to give the same amount for the end of year bonus as last year. After a discussion, it was decided bonuses will be paid from the General Fund and if it becomes necessary, funds can be transferred from the employee savings fund. The money received for collecting utilities is put into the employee savings fund. Ruth Ann Keith, city treasurer, said it has built up to a little over $10,000.

Full time employees will receive $850; part-time employees (only one) $243.55; and firefighters $162.48.

Police Chief Joni Isebell addressed the council about selling old guns stored by the department and putting the money back into the police department.

The council voted 4-1, with Councilman Pace abstaining, to allow the guns to be sold and Mayor Robertson and Chief Isebell to work out the details.

Robert Ballard, water supervisor, discussed recent repairs on the waste water pump. He said he had to purchase a new pump and will have the old one repaired for a spare.

“I told him to keep everything up to date and in stock,” Mayor Robertson said.

In other business:

*Mayor Robertson said the roof at the Melody is still leaking and he will call the roofers again to return and check it out.

He said the BIC Drama drew a large turnout at the Melody with over 200 attending on Friday night and Sunday. “It was great for our kids and great for our community.”

*The council voted to transfer funds from the Harvest Festival account to the General Account to reimburse for Harvest Festival expenses paid out of the general fund. With the transfer, the harvest festival account will have a little over $2,000 remaining.

*The council voted to approve the county millage as is, 5 mills for maintenance and operation.

*The Christmas Parade will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26. Rain date will be Tuesday, Nov. 27.

*The trick-or-treat event for BIC elementary students will be held at the Adams Estate this year instead of main street. Five hundred bags of candy were prepared for the event.

*Maryln Looney, EOC representative from Leachville, informed the council the EOC is working on a plan to utilize the two mobile units, formerly housing the BIC pre-K on the Leachville and Monette campuses. The mobile home units will be used for Head Start programs for infants and toddlers. The buildings will be rented from the school. “We are trying to meet the needs of the county,” she said. “We need to let people know what is available. It is a large operation with federal and state funds available.”

*Rep. Johnny Rye spoke about efforts to improve the 911 system in the state. “We are trying to work out the waste and get one tower in each county,” he said. He went on to say a formula needs to be worked out on a state-wide method to help all counties. The amount charged for the system is presently divided by population. He would like to see at least 50 percent of the funds divided equally leaving 50 percent by population.

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