GRAVETTE -- Bo Roberts and Wilma Fladager, representing Care and Share, attended the May committee of the whole meeting and presented a check for $50,000 to the Gravette Historical Museum Commission. John Mitchael, museum commission member, was present to accept the donation which is to help with the restoration of the old home economics building.
Karen Benson, the library supervisor, reported the library is seeing increases in patrons, items checked out, ebook usage and computer usage. She said the library website now features a community calendar where area clubs and organizations can add events. The new computer system is now in use and patrons can search the library's holdings and sign up for email and text notifications.
Teen Tuesday Maker Space, a summer program, begins June 5. The first project will be to construct two Little Free Libraries, one to be placed by the Hiwasse Community Center and the other by the Gravette swimming pool and splash park. Finally, Benson announced that the library will receive a $1,500 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for the children's summer reading program.
Tim Dewitt, streets and parks department supervisor, reported the final walkthrough of the Hiwasse Community Building has been conducted and the building is ready for use. Three busloads of third graders have visited the Hiwasse park and gave good feedback on the playground equipment. Chip and seal work on streets in the Hiwasse area will be done in mid to late June and work at the Gravette pool will soon be complete.
Police chief Chuck Skaggs reported Braxton Handle is the police department's new investigator and several new cases are being processed. He also reported a $30,000 scam had been foiled and the money returned to an area couple because of the department's early involvement in the investigation.
Fire chief Lonnie Mullen reported 343 calls year-to-date, 269 EMS calls and 83 fire calls. Gravette fire department has given aid to other departments 163 times. Current turnout time is 1.26 minutes.
Building inspector David Keck reported he is working on getting bids for the civic center renovation.
Council members discussed three bids received on new Type 1 ambulances with Ford F450 4x4 chassis. All are remountable boxes with a 30-year life. Chief Mullen recommends accepting the low bid of $175,905 from Demers. All three local banks submitted loan proposals with five year options, and Mullen recommends using Bank of Gravett which has the best interest rate.
Mayor Kurt Maddox reported Benton County is looking at bidding out ambulance service, but Gravette is not interested since they would have to lose local services and would have no guarantee on a hub location. Chief Mullen reported the city receives $35,000 annually for calls to Decatur, and Decatur is happy with the service and can't do better elsewhere.
Water and sewer tap connection fees were discussed. Corey Reardon, water and sewer department supervisor, submitted a list of fees from area towns and reported the city currently has no tap fees but spends almost $400 on each new meter. He recommends establishing a property assessment fee for new subdivision developments and will write up a sample ordinance for consideration.
Reardon recommends the purchase of a new John Deere 35G compact excavator. He would trade a 2012 John Deere tractor with a trade-in value of $25,000. Purchase price after trade-in would be $17,876. A smaller unit will be more easily transported and will be usable in smaller spaces. A new trailer will be needed at an estimated cost of $4,000 to $5,000. A vote on the purchase of the excavator will be on the agenda for the May 24 council meeting.
An ordinance establishing an increase in ambulance fees was discussed. Mayor Maddox explained the increase is necessary to continue the current level of services. Gravette's fees are currently lower than all others in the area. Council member Melissa Burnett recommended using the national average as the upper limit on fees. Signature pages will be added and the ordinance will be on the agenda for the May council meeting.
Ordinances for rezoning of land owned by Lewis Ryan at 402 Second Avenue S.W. and a lot split and lot line adjustment for property owned by George and Marianne Robinson at 2201 Limekiln Road were discussed. A vote on the Ryan rezoning will be on the agenda for the May council meeting. The Robinson lot split was referred to the planning commission for further discussion.
Carl Rabey, city finance director, reported April was "a pretty average month." Sales tax was off during the month but finances are tracking very close to budget. A loss in the street department was due to dirtwork done by JD's Dirtwork, and a loss in the water department was due to several audit fees. Expenses for asbestos abatement, rock and concrete work on the new ramp more than satisfy the local match portion of the home economics building grant.
Mayor Maddox reported the grand opening and open house for the Hiwasse community building and park will be held Thursday, May 31, at 5:30 p.m.
Council member Burnett asked about correcting the protruding extensions on the Main Street project and Mayor Maddox replied that the contractor is scheduled to make that correction and repair some cracks in the sidewalk before Gravette Day.
General News on 05/16/2018
Print Headline: Museum commission accepts $50,000 Care and Share donation