The Mansfield City Council met in regular session on Thursday evening, February 26 at 6 p.m. Members present included Beverly Lyons, Sheri Hopkins, Jan Carlton, James Steele, and Julie Thomas. Also present, Mayor Buddy Black and Recorder/Treasurer Becky Walker.
After calling the meeting to order, Mayor Black held a moment of silence in honor of Rick McDaniel, a long-time councilman who recently passed away.
After approving the minutes and financials of the regular and special January meetings, the council heard the city services report.
Public Works Director Joe Manes reported that it had been an exciting month. His report to the council included a request for a new pump. Steele made the motion to purchase the Franklin motor for the out-of-town water tank. Hopkins seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Manes also presented the council with information on purchasing two new trucks for the public works department at the cost of $19,000. The council had previously approved the purchase of one of those trucks. The council unanimously approved an additional $11,000 from the CARES Act monies to make the purchase. Black thanked Manes for his efforts in plowing and clearing the snow on the city’s streets.
Next, Fire Chief Michael Smith gave his report, noting 52 medical and five fire calls for the month. Smith stated that an EVS representative will be sizing the firemen for their new gear. “It’s pretty much like it was last month. During the snow and stuff the water was coming in on the north side of the wall and light fixtures again.” Smith added that the trucks were up and running, but that each had issues they were trying to work with. Smith has worked over 200 hours throughout the month. Councilwoman Thomas expressed her appreciation for the fire department and first responders. “It’s sad that you had so many calls. But, there are so many people that are very grateful that you were able to be there for all of them.” Mayor Black added that the first responders had to make a call to his home and “they did a tremendous job and were very professional. Thank you, Michael.”
Police Chief Wayne Robb presented his departmental report, reporting that there were 46 citations issued in Scott County and two in Sebastian County. He added that there were a total of four warrants served, one misdemeanor, and three felonies in both Scott and Sebastian Counties. There were 55 total calls, 22 agency assists, one in Scott and 15 in Sebastian. Additionally, nine school calls, 20 reports, two accidents, 170 traffic stops with 123 warnings, three drug arrests, and eight animal calls. The department participated in nine and a half training hours for the month.
Robb commented that there are several impounded animals at the shelter. “We are working several vicious animal cases that will be going to court next month,” stated Robb. “I would also like to give attaboys to my officers and myself…We stayed at the PD from Sunday to Thursday so we could be readily available. I want to thank Julie for the deer chili…and I wanna thank CVs for providing us a meal one night…I bought a meal for the guys one night. Coach Cothran came down to eat with us, it was good fellowship at the PD. All my officers stepped up and did a good job, not only for me but the community.” Thomas thanked Robb for their efforts and dedication.
Next, the city’s new attorney, Travis Plummer addressed the council. “I wanted to give a formal thank you for allowing me this opportunity. I am honored. I feel like it is a privilege to be serving the city of Mansfield. If any of you have any questions or concerns, you know how to reach me…”
Plummer reported on the Carlton de-annexation case, stating that he has not been able to locate the original petition that was filed. He added that if he is not able to locate the petition, he will start it over. Plummer stated that his goal was to have the hearing scheduled by next month. In other business, Plummer addressed a question from the study session regarding the sales tax designated for police and fire. “I am trying to get an understanding of how the money comes in and goes out. This time next month, I hope to have answers on that. On the surface, I feel like how we are doing it is fine. I will have a definite answer next time.” Plummer concluded with a report on his first case in Greenwood District Court and will head to Scott County for cases next week.
In the next item of unfinished business, the council reviewed information on a refuse truck. Ultimately, the council decided to wait until the current trash truck is paid off. “We want the one loan paid off before we do this,” stated Lyons. The motion was tabled.
In the last item of unfinished business, Black informed the council that they are not putting enough money into the elected official’s pension fund. “Right now we are putting in $2,000 a month,” Black stated. Currently, the city is paying out $3,068. The council voted unanimously to pay $1,500 from each fund, the general and waste, in order to sustain the pensions for both former Mayor Glen Hurt, and former City Attorney Matt Ketcham.
In new items of business, the council discussed the open position due to the passing of Alderman McDaniel. “The last time this happened was when Roger Ball passed away and it took three months (to fill the position.) According to the Arkansas Municipal League Codebook and Attorney Lanny Richmond, the council should “announce the opening for the vacancy at tonight’s meeting, and then fill the vacancy at the next meeting in March.” Black added that they should also accept letters of interest for the council to review before making the appointment. The position is for Ward 3, Position 1. The candidate must live within that district.
The next item of new business, the council voted to hire Ken Swilling for the position of City Building Inspector. Lastly, the council voted unanimously to approve two new appointments to the fire department, Levi Thomas and Steven Lowe.
With no other items of business, the meeting of the Mansfield City Council adjourned at 7:07 p.m.