MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
FORREST CITY CITY COUNCIL
FORREST CITY, ARKANSAS
January 5, 2016
The City Council of Forrest City, Arkansas, met in regular session on January 5, 2016. Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Alderman Williams offered prayer after which the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The following answered roll call: Mayor Bryant, Clerk Cochran, Attorney Cline, and City Council members: Williams, Echols, Hollowell, Breeding, Fields, Capps, and Oswalt. Alderman Twillie came in at 6:03 p.m.
Alderman Fields made a motion to approve the minutes of December 15, 2015 regular meeting. Motion second by Alderman Echols. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Re-Organization of the City Council
Mayor Bryant stated re-organizing the city council is an annual event. He said there were only two committees in 2015, budget and personnel.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to leave the committees the same as 2015. Second by Alderman Fields. Alderman Echols questioned the absences of a budget chairman. Mayor Bryant stated it is up to each committee to elect their chairperson. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion that the city council would continue to meet the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6:00 p.m. Roll Call: All Ayes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
The budget committee did not meet due to lack of quorum.
DEPARTMENT HEADS REPORTS
Mr. Gaines reported during the holidays everything went very well and he will continue to work hard to keep everything up. Alderman Echols stated in reference to the civic center rate increase proposal, she asked Mr. Gaines if he had the information for the changes. Mr. Gaines stated he would get the information. Alderman Capps asked if the changes were the decision of the civic center commission. Mayor Bryant stated it was.
Code Enforcement Officer Muqtasid gave an update on four new businesses opened. New construction: Powerhouse Warehouse is completed and Barrow Hill Road Motel is 75% completed.
Forrest City Housing Authority is still under renovation. Alderman Fields stated Broadway and Grant Streets condemned building were being cleaned-up. She asked Ms. Muqtasid if she stopped the clean-up. Ms. Muqtasid stated ADEQ stopped the clean-up process because the building has asbestos and the contractors are not qualified.
Alderman Capps asked about the burned out house on Arkansas Street and how many days does the owner have to fix it before it goes on the condemnation list. Ms. Muqtasid stated she normally gives about 90-days.
Chief Ruffin reported for the month of December; there were 125 medical assists, 32 fires, 7-service calls, 5-good intent calls, 7-hazardous calls, 32-false alarm calls, which made a total of 208 incident count; total for the year 2015 – 1382.
Alderman Capps stated he still has concerns with the fire sub-station. He asked Chief Ruffin if he had any documentation on the inspections on the station. Chief Ruffin stated that Assistant Chief Renigar did the inspections, but there is a book at the station with all information in it.
January 5, 2016 Minutes cont.
Park & Recreation
Recreation Director Kenneth Taylor gave a handout on the overall calendar events and maintenance and repair for the year 2015 for both the Southside Pool and the Larry Bryant Multi-Purpose Center
Chief Lee gave handouts and reported that there were: one opening in dispatch, three openings in patrol, three graduated from the police academy, and three currently in the police academy. He stated all equipment is operational and still waiting on the new police cars to arrive.
Activities for the month of December included two aggravated robberies – one at Sonic and the arrest was made. One at Family Dollar, the case is still open.
Chief Lee asked permission from the mayor and council to approve the purchase of Tasers. Chief Lee stated he did some research on the Tasers; he said they are less lethal and an alternative to lethal force.
Mayor Bryant stated the Tasers could be purchased from bond money.
Public Works Director Rooks thanked the council for the new leaf vacuum and two new crew trucks and there is other equipment that is scheduled to be delivered this month.
Mr. Murdock presented the city council with a monthly report for the Forrest City Water Utility on different articles: a list of 22-months of accomplishments and some projects for the coming year.
Alderman Breeding asked Mr. Murdock about an invoice in the bills from R & R Handyman Service from Marianna Arkansas for a camera system. Alderman Breeding asked who authorized the purchase and why does city water need a $4,000 security system.
Mr. Murdock stated he felt the necessity of the cameras because of all the money that is handled on a daily basis. He stated there is a need to have video activity of anyone that handles money. Mr. Murdock stated he had received five different quotes and this individual was recommended by the mayor because it was the least and best quote.
Alderman Breeding stated his argument is not the necessity to have the cameras; it is the cost of the system.
Mayor Bryant stated he authorized the purchase not only for the inside of the facility but to cover the outside as well. Then Mayor Bryant reminded Alderman Breeding how the council approved a contract that cost over $30,000 for a camera system at the police department.
Mayor Bryant also stated Mr. Murdock started with higher quotes, he sent Mr. Murdock back until he found a more reasonable one.
Alderman Williams commended Mayor Bryant on his decision making, because he thought the city water already had a camera system in place.
Mayor Bryant stated that plant #2 pumping station needs a new roof, he said the pictures are in the package. He invited the council to go by a look at the station; it is dilapidated and the roof is falling in.
2016 Budget Resolution
Mayor Bryant stated a decision need to be made, payroll is going out this week. He stated the council could vote on the resolution with the $0.50 rate increase for raises and if there are any changes, council can make those changes before the deadline.
January 5, 20l6 Minutes cont.
Alderman Echols stated her recommendation would be to adopt the 2015 budget with the $0.50 per hour increase for all employees. Motion was second by Alderman Williams.
Alderman Fields stated that Mrs. Lynch sent a letter to the council stating if there were any questions or concerns to please let her know in advance. Alderman Fields then asked if there
was anything specific in the budget that is keeping the budget from being passed; what is the problem?
Alderman Echols stated there are several things that needed to be considered. She stated the budget committee received a package on December 22, 2015 that reflected significant pay increases for three employees; she feels that the committee should be allowed time to go over the information then report back to the city council.
Mayor Bryant stated the council could vote on the $0.50 raise across the board, not the total budget because the 2015 budget was passed from the 2014 budget; he said there is things in the budget that is not needed and things that are needed that is not in the 2015 budget.
Alderman Breeding stated before the council starts passing out raises, he said the council needs to deal with what Mrs. Lynch sent them in her letter about a revenue shortage of about $400,000.
Alderman Breeding stated the city could give the raises later and retro the pay like it has been done in the past.
Alderman Echols withdrew her motion until the next city council meeting.
Civic Center Rate Changes
Mayor Bryant stated each council member should have a letter in their package for the civic center rate changes, which should have been done March 2015 but it was missed. Alderman Williams made a motion to adopt the civic center rate changes. Second by Alderman Fields.
Alderman Oswalt stated they had the minutes from the civic center commission meeting dated March 10, 2015 and it does read that the rates would reverted back to 2006 but he needed a schedule to look at tonight.
Alderman Fields asked Attorney Cline if he was supposed to do a resolution to pass the rates.
Mayor Bryant stated the civic center has a commission and they make the decisions.
Attorney Cline stated the commission set the rates and the city council can approve or disapprove their decisions.
Alderman Echols requested that the vote be tabled until the next meeting.
GENERAL FUND BILLS
There were none.
There were none.
There were none.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve and pay Water Utility bills in the amount of $33,833.97. Second by Alderman Echols. Roll Call: All Ayes.
January 5, 20l6 Minutes cont.
Mayor Bryant stated that he had the contract from Baldwin and Shell, he said he will sign it now in the presences of the council, he then said he did not know how many of the council members actually read the contract.
Alderman Echols made a motion to adjourn at 6:55 p.m. Second by Alderman Capps.
Larry Bryant, Mayor
Derene Cochran, City Clerk-Treasurer