Steve Craig to fill in for Mayor Arnold
The Marked Tree City Council approved the budget for next year and heard about messy conditions at the sports complex, but the first item of business was filling in for the mayor. City Clerk Pam Wright read a letter from Mayor Mary Ann Arnold in which the mayor said she is currently in physical therapy and has been working with the city's department supervisors by phone. Mayor Arnold asked that Alderman Steve Craig fill in for her during her absence in the coming weeks. The council approved a motion to authorize Craig on the checking account, and Craig led the meeting.
The city council approved the 2018 proposed budget, which lists total receipts at $2,669,814 and total expenditures at $2,571,894. Wright said next year's budget is tight, but it does include three percent raises for city employees.
The council also approved a transfer of $5,000 from the General Fund to the Judges and Clerks Fund, approved Christmas bonuses at the same rates as last year--$300 for full-time, $150 for full-time/part-time, and $50 for firemen--and accepted the municipal insurance agreement.
Susan McAfee addressed the council about neglect at the sports complex. McAfee compiled a list, complete with pictures, of things she noticed at the complex while she was there on two occasions in late November. McAfee spoke about several things such as trash, gates being left open, no locks or poor locks on doors, the concession stand door being left open without a working lock, cracked concrete and weeds. She described the inside of the concession area as looking like "a fire trap" or "a junk room." She said every breaker box inside and outside was accessible and also noted safety hazards such as screws poking up out of water park equipment and the gazebo steps lying on the ground with the nails pointing up.
Director of Public Works Wayne Hendrix, who oversees the complex, said not all of the mess was the city's fault and that some it belonged to the school and other groups that use the complex. Craig thanked McAfee for bringing the matter to the city's attention.
In other business, the city received a letter announcing they will receive a matching grant in the amount of $25,984 for the parks. The money will be used for burying overhead utility lines at Carver Park and adding foul ball safety netting, a shade structure for the playground, play equipment, and benches at the sports complex. Wright said they are also about to start work on a grant application for wheelchair accessibility and a walking trail at Carver Park. She said burying the overhead lines and adding wheelchair accessibility are required before they can get grant funding for other projects at Carver Park and that the city has a three-year plan for things they want to add to Carver Park.