Piggott Recognized as Purple Heart City

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Mayor Jim Poole (left) and Councilman Mike Cook accept the Purple Heart City recognition plaque from Everett Evans at Monday night's regular city council meeting.
TD photo/Tim Blair

The City of Piggott was recognized as a Purple Heart City at Monday night's city council meeting. During the regular monthly gathering at city hall, the council was also updated on a grant effort, discussed the purchase of a tanker truck for the fire department and proceeded with the lien process on a parcel of property on South Houston Avenue. Utilities director Brian Haley also shared good news for residents, noting the upcoming electric bill will reflect a credit.

With all members in attendance, along with city clerk Ramona Magee; city attorney Kimberly Dale, police chief Don Poole and Haley, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Poole.

The first order of business was to hear from Everett Evans, of Jonesboro, representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Evans is commander of the Northeast Arkansas Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which is comprised of only recipients of the medal. He was accompanied by his wife, Peggy, and Freddie Herren, another member of the NEARK chapter.

Earlier this year Councilman Mike Cook brought the program to the council's attention, and a proclamation was passed designating Piggott as a Purple Heart City. At Monday night's meeting the regional chapter recognized the city for the effort, and presented Cook and Mayor Poole with a plaque.

“We're a relatively small organization, there are only about 45,000 members nationwide,” Evans explained. He applauded the city for remembering those who were wounded in combat, and gave a brief history of the Purple Heart medal.

“We're glad Mike (Cook) brought this to our attention, and we were glad to pass the resolution. I know all of us support this effort,” Mayor Poole offered.

He indicated the city would be acquiring signs to be posted at the city limits noting the designation as a Purple Heart City, and extended a word of thanks to the chapter members for their dedication.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart was created by an act of Congress in 1958. Those wanting additional information may visit them online at www.purpleheart.org

Under old business Poole reported on efforts to secure grant funds to purchase additional police vehicles. He noted the USDA grant has been approved, and indicated some additional funds may also be earmarked for the need.

Under new business the council approved a proclamation setting Friday, Oct. 6, as Go Pink for a Cure Day in accordance with a request by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The breast cancer awareness event is being held statewide, and the governor requested all cities and municipalities in the state pass the resolution in support. The proclamation was approved on a vote of 4-0.

Haley, in his role as fire chief, then briefed council on the availability of a government surplus truck for the department. He indicated several 2009 Freightliner semi-trucks were being sold, all of which have low mileage.

“We've gotten trucks through the state before, and under the old plan we could keep them as long as we wanted, but they remained the property of the state,” he explained. “That's changed now, and under the new program after a year it belongs to us.”

He noted several regional communities have acquired the Freightliners, which were equipped with 2,500 gallon water tanks.

“It would serve as a brush truck, but also provide us with additional water for rural fires,” he added. “They have rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drives. There are actually more of the all-wheel drives because they're pretty tall, and not everyone has a place to park them. Luckily, our new station in the old Woodhall building has a tall door.”

Haley noted prices on the trucks ranged from $16,000 to $18,000, which included paint and lettering. He also indicated other accessories, such as lighting and a back-up camera, could be added for another $1,500 to $2,000.

“We have the funds available, and I think it would be money well spent,” he surmised.

Council members then voted to allow the purchase to proceed when an appropriate unit becomes available.

Councilmen also approved legislation to allow a lien to be placed on the property at 427 South Houston Avenue, setting in motion the condemnation process. Atty. Dale reported there was no response to attempts to contact the owner, and noted no one appeared at the public hearing held earlier in the afternoon. She indicated the lien amount was $5,048.27.

The council then voted by roll call 4-0 to allow the lien process to proceed.

Mayor Poole also reported on the problems with the well pump at Heritage Park, which had allowed the lake level to fall. He indicated the old pump had been installed improperly, and reported a new well had to be drilled.

“The new well is complete, and it's pumping now,” he concluded.

During his update on the MLWS, Haley shared some good news concerning rates for the current billing cycle.

“The bills that will go out tomorrow (Tuesday) will reflect a credit for the September period of just over two cents a kilowatt hour,” he explained. “In fact, the credit for the month is $66,253.”

Haley noted this was a savings of .02065, which is slightly lower than the credit extended to customers for the August billing period.

“A lot of factors go into calculating the fuel credit, and we never know how it's going to swing from month to month—but this is the second month in a row we've had over a two cent credit,” he offered.

Otherwise, he reported both the electric and water departments have been working on maintenance projects.

“We are stepping up effort to get the radio read water meters in, that's going to cut our meter reading by a couple of days a month when it's complete,” he added.

Prior to adjourning Mayor Poole also reminded council of the Lake Side Market event, set for Saturday, Oct. 7, at Heritage Park.

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