ARMA — The Arma City’s agenda Monday evening took in a broad array of topics, with council members making decisions about everything from town clean-up projects to insurance.
The council kicked off its meeting by discussing a timeline for the demolition of the building at 506 E. Washington St. in the downtown area.
They noted that building owner Laura Warford was not present and discussed proceeding with the demolition, but also talked about getting a key to the building and trying to establish contact with her to ensure her possessions were removed.
Warford then arrived at the meeting and said she has been working to remove her possessions, but would like two more weeks and then will turn the key over.
Council members discussed letting the contractor know that work on the building can begin on Sept. 30.
They proceeded on to talk about the city-wide cleanup, and approved a draft of a write-up about the clean-up, which also addresses several council concerns. The information will be distributed in the city’s fall newsletter, and the clean-up will take place Oct. 21-25.
The newsletter also will include a survey put together by Mary Lou Peace and approved by the council that invites residents to give their thoughts about various aspects of the Arma community.
Mayor Buddy Bualle also said he doesn’t foresee continuing to mail out a newsletter after this one.
"I’m of the opinion this will be the last newsletter we’ll do by mailing," he said, adding that in the future he would like to make copies in house and then distribute via community businesses, which could save several hundred dollars.
City Attorney Rick Smith also advised council members he sent a letter on Sept. 9 advising the House family at 305 E. Prairie to attend the Oct. 7 meeting, and city clerk Bette Lessen passed along a request that whoever does an inspection of the property for the city walk around the home on foot rather than just driving by.
Bualle also said he had received inquiries as to whether the city could cut brush on private properties when it interferes with street visibility.
Smith said the short answer s that if it is not obstructing signs nothing is likely able to be done.
Council member Rock Anderson suggested the city police department could check out the situations and make that determination.
Council member Richard Kerley also mentioned that the council could pass an ordinance about maintenance of the area from the center line of the street back 60 feet that would give the city enforcement authorization.
The council also talked about future opportunities.
Bualle said the council was offered the opportunity to purchase the Eagles’ building.
"He would really like to do something with the building with the city," Bualle said, naming the list price. "He would work with us on that a little bit if we were serious about it."
"Not interested," said council member Dick Cleland.
Anderson said potential uses had been discussed in the past.
"We had talked in the past about using it as a community center, since the community center is now the library," Anderson said.
"If we did buy it, think of what we would have to do to modify it for the city’s use," said council member Ray Vail. "I don’t see the practicality of it."
"I think there’s a lot of possibility we could use the money somewhere else on a need, rather than on a building," Cleland said.
Anderson said he would like to gather more community feedback and not make a set-in-stone decision immediately.
Council members considered a request for a business incentive for Copperheads Bar and Grill, but council members discovered that the program that had been in place expired Dec. 31, 2011.
Anderson suggested and made a motion to reinstate the program for another two years, and the council members noted that the application could be filled out for consideration at the first October meeting.
The council also agreed to look into increasing contents insurance for the library from $25,000 to $175,000. The estimated contents value is about $340,000, and librarian Brenda Banks said if something happened the contents collection would need to be rebuilt, but not necessaraly all at once.
It also was noted that quite a few of the September bills had errors and Lessen said most people have been good about asking the city to double check situations. But, as a result of the errors, the council agreed to waive late fees and penalties on bills for the September bills only.
A request by Nikki Beard for a grace period on her city bill also fell under this motion.
Council members also approved purchases request for repairs to the backhoe bucket and for office supplies, and approved actions to comply with the marketplace model notice for health insurance.
The council also gave notice of a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 6, to interview candidates for the position of police chief and to select a new police chief. He said interviews are scheduled at 6, 6:45 and 7:30 and at the conclusion the council should have a decision.