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— David Smith, a one-time Chief of the Gravette Volunteer Fire Department, was again named Chief at a meeting of the City Council Thursday night. He had formerly served several years as Chief.

Smith replaces Jeff Long who resigned as Chief, effective January 1, but whose resignation was made effective immediately, by Mayor Bill Howard. Howard then appointed Chuck Skaggs as interim chief.

The naming of Smith as Chief came after the Council held a 30-minute executive session followed a request by firefighter EMT Gairy Osburn to reinstate him to the fire department.

Osburn told the Council Skaggs terminated him October 16 after Skaggs was named interim Chief. Osburn said he was planning to seek the Chief position. Following the executive session the Council took no action.

In other business the Council approved the Benton County Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is consolidating the county to deal with natural and man-caused hazards and to facilitate applying for grants, etc.

The Council reversed an earlier temporary action and will now require the school district to pay building and inspection fees.Those fees will be used to help construct a sidewalk along East Main Street leading to the new high school. Completion of that project has been stymied by lack of funds.

The Council noted at present students are required to walk in weeds and grass along the narrow street toward the school.

The Council approved a contract with Steve Olds for care and maintenance of the Gravette animal shelter.

City Attorney Tom Smith questioned where the authority questioned where the authority came to charge a $1 fee on sanitation bills for clerical expenses. Roll Off Service contends the $1 constitutes a franchise fee.

It was pointed out a temporary increase in sanitation fees granted last year were to expire December 31. That increase was to offset full cost which have dropped substantially. The Council said the sanitation firm should be billed for overcharges from January 1 of this year.

The Council heard the Bank of Gravett is reviewing a service to handle utility bill payment transactions. This will be reviewed in the future.

A special meeting was scheduled on October 29 at 5:30 at City Hall to further review the City’s 2010 budget.

News, Pages 1 on 10/28/2009

Print Headline: Smith Returns As Fire Chief

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