Tyronza accepts offer on police car, discusses welcome sign

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Among the items on this month's agenda, the Tyronza City Council accepted a offer on selling a police car, and discussed plans for welcome signs and grant money.

The city has been trying to sell one of its police cars after numerous problems including the engine blowing out. Mayor Marion Bearden said she got an offer from the Lepanto Police Department to buy the 2008 Dodge Charger for $1,500. All the police equipment has already been taken off the car, and it has around 70,000 miles on it. Mayor Bearden said Marked Tree got $1,000 for theirs and Baird Dodge told her it would be worth $6,500-$7,000 with a motor put in it, which is nearly the cost of putting a motor in.

The council agreed to sell the car to Lepanto, pending approval from the Lepanto City Council.

The Tyronza City Council also discussed welcome signs for the city. Mayor Bearden said she got a quote for two signs to be placed at either end of town on the highway for $5,815. The signs mention the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, which does not have signage on the highway. Mayor Bearden said Dr. Ruth Hawkins, executive director of ASU's Arkansas Heritage Sites program, said she could pay half the cost. Together with a possible East Arkansas Planning and Development grant of $1,043, Mayor Bearden said that took the price down to $1,800 for the city. Another potential bidder was suggested for the project, and Mayor Bearden said she would look into that before moving forward.

The city received a $10,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Rural Services for police equipment. The council discussed buying another police car, for a total of three with one functioning as a K-9 unit, but decided to table the matter.

The council also chose to table the matter of renaming the park after ten acres of land were donated to it. The plan is to come up with name suggestions and get community input on the new name by next council meeting. The mayor and several council members mentioned wanting some form of Margaret Ritter's name and the name of Tyronza in the park name.

Mayor Bearden also brought up the need for a natural gas generator at the senior center. She said a 30 Kw generator was the type needed and got a quote of $12,200 for the generator, transfer switch, and plumbing fee. She said the city has a grant of $7,472.50 which Rep. John Hutchison secured that hasn't been spent yet, and she has talked to Jamie Wright with EAPDD about getting a $3,000 grant to help. Mayor Bearden said she would talk to Wright again for more guidance.

In other business, the council discussed the legislative audit. Last council meeting, Mayor Bearden reported on an audit finding saying the city owed $30,000 in interest which had been taken from a CD and put into the General Fund since 2006. Both the mayor and the city clerk said they remember being told they could do this, and it had never come up in an audit since they started doing it. This month, Mayor Bearden said she talked to Kevin Baldridge with the Legislative Audit Committee, who told her if the city sent a letter explaining the situation and copies of checks showing they paid $1,151 to clear the interest, the matter would be cleared up. The mayor sent him the requested information.

The council also discussed the Verizon tower. Last meeting, Mayor Bearden said an environmental team had problems with the site for the tower--including being near a historic district and potentially being in the area of Native American burial grounds--and suggested attaching an antenna to the tallest water tower instead. Verizon was going to pay a $450 lease on the land they would build the tower on but would pay $1,200 a month to have the antenna on the water tower. The council agreed to go the water tower route and will review a contract next month.

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