Lepanto council approves radio upgrade

Friday, September 23, 2016

The main item of discussion for the Lepanto City Council Tuesday night was upgrading radios from analog to digital for the fire and police departments.

Fire Chief David Simmons spoke about the need for the replacement, saying they have had issues with the range of the current system. Simmons, who also runs Riverside Ambulance, said Riverside currently uses digital radios, and they have been reliable and have a greatly increased range. He said they can communicate between their Marked Tree base and Memphis or Jonesboro on digital, whereas he cannot hear anything from the Lepanto's analog radios if he's in Marked Tree.

Mayor Dale Dunlap told the council they could get the radios on a four-year lease-to-own plan at $500 a month. The council approved proceeding with the upgrade. Simmons also said that in the future, the fire department will need to look at replacing their pagers, but he would be looking for grant money to do that.

In other business, the council also looked at a proposal for a water rate increase. Mayor Dunlap said the proposed increase was "very minimal. We're talking for 2,000 gallons going from $8.50 to $8.75." Dunlap said the increase was needed because prices are so high for everything the water department does.

City Clerk Tamara Wyatt said they would have to hold a public meeting and get an ordinance put together and approved before a rate increase could go into effect. She said it probably couldn't be finalized until the first of the year. For now, the council was given information on water rates to review.

Mayor Dunlap also gave an update on lighting and a water fountain for the city park on the south side of town. He said lights will be going into the park at a cost of $500 to the city. Dunlap is also working with Travis Joplin to find a used water fountain since new ones are expensive.

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