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Morning Sun
  • Arma library work nearly done

  • Renovations are almost complete at the Arma Public Library, and an open house is scheduled for March 4.

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  • Renovations are almost complete at the Arma Public Library, and an open house is scheduled for March 4.
    Library Director Brenda Banks updated Arma City Council members on the progress and came with an additional request.
    “I would like to invite you to have your first city council meeting of March at the library,” she said.
    Council members agreed to the request, and talked over the project, which doubled the library’s available space from 1,100 square feet to 2,300 square feet.
    “I ordered most of the furniture today,” Banks reported. “The construction part is finished.”
    She said she has photographs and signs ready to hang up and has been working to line up painting.
    Banks and council members also discussed some of the many people who will be invited to attend the open house.
    Council members shared their thoughts on a few concerns brought by the board, including the idea of attaching overdue fees to city utility bills, and Mayor Buddy Bualle asked whether other ideas could be considered.
    The council and Banks also considered how to best accommodate a donation of puppets from Bill Sollner, which are considered part of Arma’s history and heritage and will be displayed in the newly expanded space.
    Bualle suggested the city could purchase materials and have the employees build the display case for the puppets.
    The council asked whether the puppets could be used for shows, and Banks said it will depend.
    “We will use the ones we are able to use, but the majority of them are adult puppets - political figures and movie stars,” she said.
    Bualle and council members also mentioned commissioning someone to write about Sollner so future generations can know the heritage of the puppets.
    “Bill is 87 years old and he’s thinking about his legacy, so I think we need to do something along those lines,” Bualle said.
    Council members then considered their contract for cleaning of city facilities, which does not currently include the library.
    The current contract was bid and awarded to D.J. Logiudici, and did include the community center, which now has become part of the library, but did not take into account the expanded space and additional effort.
    The library has been cleaned after hours by a volunteer, which Banks said is unsustainable.
    Logiudici’s contract is for $363.40 per month, and he offered to take on the extra work for an additional $137 per month, which he said is based on time needed.
    After a lengthy conversation about the value of the work and other possible options, the council voted 3-1 to accept the $137 monthly increase.
    In other business:
    City Attorney Rick Smith updated council members on the status of a petition seeking to collect an unpaid balance for the Franklin water line project, and council members approved a motion to proceed with the petition with accompanying costs.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dangerous structures were mentioned and the council agreed to invite three property owners to attend and give updates at the Feb. 18 council meeting.
    Council members approved taking bids on a CD set to mature this month. They agreed to receive the interest on the $108,000 investment, keep $8,000 for the general fund and to invite the two local banks to bid on the $100,000, one-year CD.
    A concern regarding how to handle a particular utility account was discussed. City officials anticipate it becoming delinquent, and City Clerk Bette Lessen said there are special situations associated with the account in question. The council talked about contacting the individual with an invitation to attend a meeting and discuss potential options.
    Police Chief Al Combs said he is working to find funding to cover the cost of sending a school resource officer to DARE training. He also suggested three area officers as potential candidates for part-time, midnight shifts, which he hopes will alleviate overtime expenses for the city.
    Council members approved hiring Ryan Deal as a part-time officer and will consider hiring A.J. Elmer and Chris Wilson at a future meeting.
    Council members were reminded that Feb. 18 is Presidents’ Day and the city office will be closed throughout the day, but the council will meet as scheduled that night.
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