The daycare in Lepanto has closed four times, and Wynetta Gaines plans to re-open it and make it work through grant funding. Gaines spoke to the Lepanto City Council about reopening the center as a daycare with the possibility of an after school program as a supplement.
She told the council the center cannot survive on vouchers and private pay alone and that she plans to aggressively pursue grants to keep the daycare open.
"I want it to open and stay open," Gaines said. She is also in the process of writing grants for the center.
Mayor Steve Jernigan noted that Tina Crockett, who addressed the council two months ago regarding reopening the daycare, was no longer interested in opening the daycare.
"We definitely need a daycare in town," Jernigan said, "and Mrs. Gaines is the only one who's interested."
The council approved a motion stating Gaines will not owe rent on the building for six months, starting from Jan. 1, so she can get the daycare up and running. The building was originally built using a grant that stipulates it must be used as either a daycare or a senior center.
In other business, Mayor Jernigan presented the council with a letter correspondence between himself and Randy Rice, bankruptcy trustee for Delta Environmental. According to Jernigan, Delta wanted the city to pay $10,000 for August pick-up, and Jernigan wrote back saying that Delta did not do pick-up all the way through to Aug. 31 like they claimed.
"I felt like Delta didn't do their part, we don't owe that," Jernigan said. City Attorney Noyl Houston suggested additions to Jernigan's response, which the council approved.
The council heard from Police Chief Chad Henderson, who said that a lot of Lepanto's thefts and problems stem from drugs. As such, the department has stepped up its probation searches and will work to use the drug dog more. The council also heard from Fire Chief David Simmons regarding the fire report. Simmons said that the Lepanto Fire Department has made several runs to Dyess lately and that the department responds to these calls as part of mutual aid, a requirement to receiving aid money. He added that surrounding departments do the same for Lepanto and said Dyess Mayor Larry Sims is working on beefing up the Dyess Fire Deparment, but it will take some time.
The council also heard about two rezoning requests which have to go through the Planning and Zoning Commission, approved the 2011 audit report, and approved Christmas bonuses for city employees.