MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
FORREST CITY CITY COUNCIL
FORREST CITY, ARKANSAS
September 1, 2015
The City Council of Forrest City, Arkansas, met in regular session on September 1, 2015. Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Alderman Twillie offered prayer after which the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The following answered roll call: Mayor Bryant, Records Clerk Manning, Attorney Cline and City Council members: Twillie, Echols, Fields, Hollowell, Capps, Breeding, and Oswalt. Alderman Williams and City Clerk Cochran were absent.
Alderman Capps made a motion to approve the August 18, 2015 regular meeting minutes. Second by Alderman Hollowell. Roll Call: All Ayes.
CITY COUNCIL REPORTS
DEPARTMENT HEADS REPORTS
Due to the absence of Mr. Jimmy Gains, Civic Center Manager, Mayor Bryant reported that the two doors for the auditorium has been installed they are looking good and operating well. The Civic Center Commission is working toward getting a caterer.
Ms. Connie Muqtasid gave progress report on the following:
Under New Construction
Burger King has opened for business, 42 room Motel is currently working on the second floor, Powerhouse Warehouse near completed, and 48 Apt. Units on hold.
Under Major ongoing Renovations
Boars Head Wellness Center, Forrest City Medical Mammogram unit, AT & T, Subway, Antique Rose, Forrest City Housing Authority
Construction debris at four locations, two residential homes has been demolished, one commercial building (Old Bonanza) to be demolished by Property Owner, and burnt debris on Jackson Hewitt building will be demolished soon.
Alderman Capps asked Ms. Muqtasid if the house on 840 S. Izard was the one he had concerns about on the corner of Izard and St. Francis that was cleaned up. Ms. Muqtasid stated that she had no idea. Alderman Capps asked what the status was and when did they buy a building permit, when or if it expired, and if it was the first or second permit to bring the house up to standards. Ms. Muqtasid stated that there is not one on that particular property. Alderman Capps asked why it stayed there so long without being condemned. Ms. Muqtasid stated that it was not condemnable.
Fire Chief Johnny Ruffin reported the numbers of the types of incidents regarding the actions taken by the fire department from August 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Total number of actions taken 112
Mayor Bryant recognized Mr. Dave Hodges. Mr. Dave Hodges gave a report on the Forrest City Fire Department Station #2. Mr. Hodges reported that the floor slab had been poured and it takes about seven days for the slab to cure. A lot of the metal building structures are already on site and the building should progress quickly from now. He had requested in writing from Murdock Contractors a report on their progress to date and the construction schedule for the remainder of the project. Mr. Hodges stated that he would forward the reports to the Fire Chief and the Mayor as soon as he receive it. Alderman Capps asked Mr. Hodges when construction actually started. Mr. Hodges stated that he issued a notice to proceed on the building part on May 8, 2015. Alderman Breeding asked who was responsible for the site compaction being done properly. Mr. Hodges stated that they hired a testing lab, Mid Continent Laboratories from Memphis. Alderman Breeding asked who tested the concrete and was it the same company. Mr. Hodges stated that they have someone testing it but he could not say if it is the same company but he could get them the test results. Alderman Capps ask if so far all the testing complied with the
September 1, 2015 Minutes cont.
specifications. Mr. Hodges stated that they are all above minimum. After further questioning, Alderman Capps asked if there were an inventory of the remanufactured building delivered to site. Mr. Hodges stated that he assumed that the contractor inventoried all the pieces and that he did not inventory it. He thought that it was on the previous pay request that the steel had been delivered and was paid for. According to the contractor, after the slab has been poured they considered themselves 35 percent complete. Alderman Capps stated that he would like to see the density reports.
Park & Recreation
Recreation Director Kenneth Taylor reported that due to the maintenance difficulties at the Southside Swimming Pool they had to close it two days early. The Larry Bryant Wellness Multipurpose Center and the pavilions in all the parks have over 14 renters for this weekend. There are two tournaments scheduled for September, coed and Special Olympics tournament. Mr. Kenneth Taylor asked the council to increase the rental for the pavilions from $50.00 to $75.00 for all day because of the utility usage. Alderman Oswalt asked if it was a lock on the water controls. Mr. Taylor stated that the electric controls and the water controls was locked. Alderman Breeding asked Mr. Taylor how he would rate the overall conditions of the concession stands and the scoreboards. Mr. Taylor stated 60 percent. Mr. Taylor stated that if they bought a unit for the concession stands that had heat and air like the baseball side that it would save pipes and plumbing. The scoreboards are working but they need to be upgraded. It hadn’t been upgraded in over six years. Mayor Bryant suggested that they contact Coke or look at prices, to see what our options are, in order to get new ones. Alderman Breeding also suggested getting estimates to repair or replace the scoreboards. After discussion, Mayor Bryant stated that they will look at all the areas and that Mr. Taylor will come back at the next meeting with a recommendation.
Public Works Department
Mr. George Rooks reported that everything is looking good, everything is up and running. He stated that they are in the process of opening up the landfill the first Saturday in the month. Because of the upcoming holiday, they will be running a day behind. Mr. Rooks stated that Alderman Capps had brought to his attention regarding projections. Mr. Rooks they are looking at getting snowplows for the trucks they got coming and a tommy lift. They have not decided if it would be a light lift or a heavy duty one. Alderman Breeding asked Mr. Rooks if he had gotten all the equipment that was approved for his department. Mr. Rooks stated no, that it was still in the making. Mayor Bryant commented that some have been ordered. Regarding the limb chipper, Alderman Breeding asked if nothing else was put out, how long it would take the limb chipper to pick up the city, Mr. Rooks stated it would take about seven days to complete the city. Alderman Breeding asked would there be any benefit to hiring a company to come for two weeks to pick up nothing but remove limbs and wood debris. Mr. Rooks stated that it would help but not solve the problem partly because of illegal cutting.
After discussion, Mayor Bryant stated that the council need to give permission to implement an ordinance that says that if trees are cut in the city you need to get a permit before cutting. Mayor Bryant stated that he had no problem with hiring an outside group to come in for two weeks to help catch up. It has been done in the past. After further discussion, Attorney Cline asked for the council to look at what ordinances say about the city’s responsibility when it comes to picking up and removing. The laws that are in place don’t place the responsibility on the city. Attorney Cline stated that what has happened is over the year the city has assumed more and more responsibility just because and not because of laws, it just has for pick up and removing people different yard debris, waste, garbage or whatever. The city had just taken it upon itself to do these things and it has expanded beyond the city capacity. If you look at the laws on the books, it is not the city’s responsibility to pick up the limbs. It’s the homeowner responsibility to get rid of the limbs. The city is going to have to decide whether we are going to get our laws in line with what we are doing or get our actions back in line with what our laws say.
After further discussion, Alderman Capps made a motion to allow the Mayor to outsource to a company to bring in a limb chippers, possibly two companies, one to haul off the big heavy stuff and one to chip the limbs on a basis of two weeks, the payment either by the ton, by the hour, or by the job to be negotiated by the Mayor with the approval by the council. Second by Alderman Twillie. Roll Call: All Ayes.
September 1, 2015 Minutes cont.
Forrest City Water Utility
Mr. Calvin Murdock, Manager of the FCWU, passed out a package to the council. Mr. Murdock briefly gave a report of the following: Forrest City Water Utility Customer Payouts 08/15, On the Wire Article, For the Record Article, Times-Herald Article, Arkansas Water Plan Article, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette “LR officials list 17 Goals for city on sustainability” Article, Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project Article, Cost Summary of Grand Prairie Project, Copy of Memorandum to Mayor Larry Bryant regarding camera truck.
Alderman Capps asked Mr. Murdock how you are coming on the solar project. Mr. Murdock stated they have a net metering petition submitted to raise the net metering from 300 kw that is currently on the books, to two megawatts at each connection point. This is what we need in order to offset our electric bills. Alderman Capps stated that it was his last understanding that we would not be allowed sell electricity back to the coop. Mr. Murdock responded by saying that he could give Alderman Capps letters of commitment that he has already. Alderman Capps expressed concerns regarding Mr. Murdock licenses and certifications as a utility manager whether or not he was supposed to have them within one year.
Alderman Breeding asked Mr. Murdock how many employees the water department has at the present time. Mr. Murdock stated approximately 26 employees. Alderman Breeding then asked Mr. Murdock how many of the 26 employees been hired sense taking his position. Mr. Murdock stated that he could not give an accurate number at the time maybe less than eight. Alderman Breeding asked Mr. Murdock if he could give him an accurate number by the next first of the month meeting as well as workforce descriptions that was given for those jobs openings. Mr. Murdock stated yes. Alderman Breeding also stated that he want a copy of Mr. Murdock’s job description as it states now and a copy of the job description of the water department manager if it is any different prior to him taking the position.
Alderman Breeding ask the Mayor what was the limit a department can spend without his authorization. Mayor Bryant stated that it was $400.00 anything over that they have to have a purchase order signed by me.
Forrest City Area Wellness and Athletic Consortium (FCAWAC)
Dr. Stuart Towns reported that the FCAWAC met multiple times during the month of August 2015. A handout was passed out to the council. Dr. Towns briefly highlighted a few things that the consortium had been doing over the last month. He stated that the consortium making plans to identify and contact potential resources both grants and donations. They have some opportunities that are going to pay off in the near future and they will be working and developing the list. They are getting ready the RFQs for marketing and fundraising. The consortium agreed unanimously to post the RFQ for marketing and fundraising services. They will be posting it right away. Dr. Towns stated that the consortium has been talking about making this project as good as it can possibly be. It is a great project and it could make a tremendous impact on Forrest City. He stated that he had a memo for Mayor Bryant to add some things to the original plans at the track and aquatic center and a list of specific items that the hospital facility needed to have in the therapy pool. The consortium wanted to begin to inform not only the city council but the City of Forrest City what they are doing. Dr. Towns stated that the FCAWAC plan to expand their scope not just by fundraising but by doing what they can do to enhance the quality of life in Forrest City. One way is by planning to initiate a running club in Forrest City. Also, when the pool gets built they have plans to start a swimming club. The running club and swimming club is something that the consortium is excited about, and the idea of having a communication campaign in the next few weeks to inform the city of what their plans, dreams, vision and mission as a 501c3 organization.
Bid Opening Construction Management Services
Mayor Bryant asked if there were any bids in the audience, there were none. Three bids were opened. Olympus Construction Inc. from Jonesboro, Arkansas, Nabholz from Jonesboro, Arkansas and Baldwin & Shell Construction Company from Jonesboro, Arkansas.
September 1, 2015 Minutes cont.
Mayor Bryant stated that he would get with Dr. Towns and then the FCAWAC and then make a recommendation.
Develop Criteria for 1/8 Cent City Tax for Economic Development Incentives
Mayor Bryant stated that they needed to develop some type of criteria and he would try to give them something (a guide) and we use the information from the county and the state as to how they want to use the 1/8 cent city sales tax for economic development. He stated they needed to do something so that we can have those monies available to try to attract some companies that might want to come to Forrest City.
Information USDA Grant Checking Account
Mayor Bryant stated that a letter was given to the council (See Attached) regarding opening a checking account per guidelines. It has to be made public. Mayor Bryant stated the letter basically says that Rural Development will execute a grant once we open up a separate project bank account with $80, 333.00 in it. So we can buy the long awaited police cars and fingerprint systems so forth.
Alderman Twillie made a motion to give the City permission to open a project bank account in the amount of $80,333.00 in order to receive a Rural Development Community Facility Grant. Alderman Oswalt second the motion. Roll Call: All Ayes.
GENERAL FUND BILLS
Alderman Hollowell made a motion to approve and pay the general fund bills totaling $24,369.78. Alderman Breeding second the motion. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve and pay Street Fund Bills in the amount of $6,635.42. Alderman Twillie second the motion. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Echols made a motion to approve and pay Solid Waste Fund Bills in the amount of $4,361.40. Alderman Oswalt second the motion. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Mayor Bryant stated that he had two announcement. One, the personnel committee need to have a retreat in regards to pay scales in the department. He would provide an outline in order to make changes. Alderman Oswalt asked when he could have everything in order so they could meet. Mayor Bryant stated by the next council meeting he might have something and then have the retreat.
Two, Mayor Bryant announced he received a letter from Police Chief Edward Reynolds saying that he is stepping down from his position as Police Chief and asked to be assigned as Lieutenant to work in CID effective 30 days from August 8, 2015. Alderman Oswalt asked could the position be filled withouth it being advertised. Mayor Bryant said that it had been advertised. Mayor Bryant stated that he intended to appoint Major Lee as Interim Chief.
Alderman Capps stated that he had a problem with it.
Alderman Twillie made a motion to adjourn at 7:20 p.m.
Larry S. Bryant, Mayor
Donna Manning, Records Clerk