Rector and Piggott City Councils Meet

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Both the Piggott and Rector city councils met in the past week, as the Piggott alderman gathered for a special meeting and the Rector alderman held their regular meeting.

Rector

BY RON KEMP

Times-Democrat News Staff

After several months of consideration and negotiations, the Rector City Council voted Monday night to sell the former National Guard Armory to the local school district for $10,000.

Voting for the measure were aldermen Lark Sigsby, David Romine and Ryan Lawrence. Alderman Iva Fahr cast a negative vote.

The approval came after Lawrence earlier made a motion to sell the facility through sealed bids. That motion failed for lack of a second.

As part of the motion passed by the council, the Rector School District will be required to pay for any legal fees or closing costs incurred in finalizing the sale.

Prior to the vote, city attorney Kimberly Dale said the council basically had three options -- sell the armory to the school, donate to the school or open up the sale for sealed bids.

Dale also said the sale will require a formal resolution and ordinance on the part of the council. She said the resolution should include justification for selling the property for less than the appraised value.

Discussion on that matter primarily revolved around the benefits from development of the armory as a facility for use as an athletic fieldhouse, band practice area and other school and community activities. It was noted the school has the resources to renovate the armory property and maintain it in the future.

Alderman Romine said he agrees the school represents the "lifeblood of the community" and is important to the overall future of Rector. Alderman Sigsby said development of the armory facility by the school also will increase the value and use of the adjacent Memorial Park.

The Rector School Board, at its June meeting, voted to offer $10,000 for purchase of the armory. There was some subsequent discussion concerning the city's possible donation of the facility to the school.

In a related matter, the council voted unanimously to offer a building just south of the main armory facility to the Clay County Task Force for lease for $1 and other considerations for a term of 99 years. The lease is dependent upon the organization's continued existence and operation.

Jeffrey Wolfenbarger, president of the rescue organization, said he will secure a legal resolution for the council to approve at a future meeting.

Street Work

The council approved using approximately $87,000 from the existing street fund for additional asphalt work this summer.

The decision came after city superintendent Todd Watson reviewed major street work that will be accomplished soon through a grant received from the state Highway and Transportation Department. Plans already are in place for streets to be resurfaced through the $250,000 grant.

The council agreed to use existing city funds for projects on Karen, Idlewild and Stewart streets. The city also will spend approximately $40,000 to resurface the parking lot adjacent to Rector Public Library.

Watson said the city recently applied for the second round of state grants for an additional $250,000. Anticipated approval for that project will be forthcoming in a future fiscal year. The city already has outlined prospective streets for resurfacing at that time.

Fire Station Repairs

Fire chief Huston Bowden said he is in the process of obtaining information for repairing a pumper and the main station on Highway 49 after one of the volunteer firemen hit the building when responding to a recent fire.

Bowden said the city's cost will be at least $6,000 due to deductibles on the vehicle and the building. The department is looking at possible changes to the station as it provides additional space for training and equipment -- and that may be a factor in how the repairs and expansion are conducted.

The chief said the department currently is "debt free" and is looking at several grant options for improvements to the service going forward.

Water Rates

Marvin Gatewood spoke during the opening public comment portion of the meeting, citing concerns he has with the method in which city water bills are computed.

He showed the council several examples of bills at his residence. His contention is that bills should not be "rounded up" to the nearest thousand-gallon categories, but should be charged on a per-gallon basis.

As an example, he said, he was charged for 4,000 gallons of water when he used only 3,300.

"I don't want to pay for anything that I am not getting," he said. Gatewood said changing the way the billing is done would make the situation "more ethical" for water users in the city.

The council said they will look at the issue being raised by Gatewood.

Other Business

In other business, the council:

--Heard resident John Spicer request that a portion of Maple Street (platted but never developed) be closed near a home he owns in the area; he was instructed to seek legal assistance on the matter and then bring it back to the council.

--Reviewed ordinances 360 and 362 related to the operation of large trucks within the city limits; the council will consider changes in the fine portions of the ordinances in a future meeting. It also was discussed that more signs concerning the operation of trucks be placed on city streets.

--Heard Watson note that a meeting will be held Aug. 4 to discuss possible funding assistance for repainting the city's water tower.

--Authorized the expenditure of $1,000 per project with an outside contractor for replacing up to 12 fire hydrants in the city.

--Noted there is no objection to the Rector Community Center committee's naming the facility's multi-purpose area the Crockett Room in recognition of the family's contributions.

--Heard routine reports from the police, street, water, code enforcement and community center departments.

--Noted the next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12.

Piggott

BY TIM BLAIR

Times-Democrat News Staff

Members of the Piggott City Council met in special session during the noon hour Monday, Aug. 1, accepting the low bid on two separate projects for the water and sewer department.

With all members in attendance, along with City Clerk Ramona Magee and Utilities Director Brian Haley, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Poole.

The aldermen then considered the bids, and recommendation from the city's engineering firm.

The first bids to be reviewed were for re-working the lift station on Johnson Street. Based on the recommendation, the council voted to accept the bid of $63,000 from GCE, Inc., of Paragould. The measure also allows Poole and Magee to enter into a contract with the firm for the bid amount.

Council then reviewed the bids on the painting project involving the water storage tank in the industrial park, located south of the former Darling building.

Low bid on this project was submitted by Maguire Iron Company, Sioux Falls, S.D., in the amount of $168,900. Council voted 4-0 to accept the bid, and allow the city representatives to enter into an agreement with the firm.

Haley also reported he had met with officials with the cell phone carrier Verizon, which has antenna on the tower. He noted they planned to bring a temporary antenna system to the city, to be used during the time the tower is being painted.

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