Lepanto council hears from residents

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Lepanto City Council met Tuesday, April 28 with alderman Keith Tyler presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Kevin Wright.

The council discussed plans for the building formerly housing Terry's Bar-B-Q.

"We need to know what you want to do with it," Tyler said.

City clerk Tamara Wyatt explained that the building will not be sold.

"Mayor said that Harvey Howington had called him to let him know that the sale fell through and the man was no longer interested in buying," said Wyatt.

"I say we need to just go ahead and tear it down," said alderman Chaney.

The city plans to remove debris from the river banks and Wyatt said maybe the two projects could be completed together.

"Kevin said we have that truck coming in for that, so we can just send it up there to tear down the building and hope it will come down sometime in May," said Wyatt.

In new business, the Lepanto Police Department is waiting on a $15,000 grant proposal for police cars from the state and could hear about it as early as June 1.

"It takes 110 days once you order the new car," said Chief Davis.

If the city sells two out of the five police cars that they have now, they can receive up to $3,000 each for them. This will allow the Police Department to finance for $26,000 for five years at seven and half percent. However, Wyatt was not informed before the meeting about the finance situation.

"It was my understanding, on these cars, it was all be grant money," she said. "This is the first I'd heard that any of it was going to be financed and we were going to have make a payment." The issue is pending because the city officials are not sure where the money will come from out of the budget. The matter was tabled until after word is received about the grant funding.

In other business, resident Norman Cockrell asked the council about why they use out of town mechanics for vehicle maintenance.

"I have a question," said Cockrell, "The people of the city are supposed to try to do what they can to help the city and he's saying that they sent the cars over to Osceola and they sent another car over to Rusty's for $1,600 repairs. Looks to me like somebody ain't on their toes."

"Well we used the guy that was local for Raymond's car, because he charged $1,600 and the mayor said he stood behind his work," said Davis.

"The thing of the matter is, we don't know where the Mayor sends the repairs," said Tyler.

"But that's the city council's fault, because somebody has got to stand up to the Mayor and say 'you're going to do what I want or you're out of here," said Cockrell.

Cockrell also told the council members he felt that Wright was not taking this seriously.

"You have to run this city like it's a business and it's not a joke," said Cockrell.

After further discussion, alderman Tyler said it was appropriate to discuss the matter any further. "Well that's we're going to talk about it for now," said Tyler.

Resident Kaye Holiman asked questions concerning the city jail.

"Is there any way we can receive grants to help repair our jail?" said Holiman.

Davis said he wasn't sure.

"I really wish there was, because that would save us $45 a day to house a prisoner," said Davis.

The Poinsett County Detention Center has a maximum capacity of 120 inmates. This includes male and female inmates. They do not house juveniles, but they do house inmates for other agencies at a cost of $35 per day for males and $55 per day for females.

On average the Lepanto Police Department has to transport four prisoners a month to Harrisburg. The Lepanto Police Department can only house them for six to 12 hours. However, Det. Raymond Oakes has tried to get grants in the past.

"I was told that there are no grants to receive on repairing the jail," said Oakes.

The current jail in the police station was built in 1946.

In other business the council:

*voted to make the alley way parallel running between Joyce and School Street back to a one-way street due to complaints.

* Announced the spring clean-up is set for May 11-13.

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