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Garment factory leased to Pitman Family Farms, Inc.

By Staff, 10/17/17 9:31 AM

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PRESCOTT – What began as a quick meeting turned into an extended meeting of the Prescott City Council when an executive session was called Monday night.

The executive session lasted from 7:25 to 7:53 p.m. with no action taken. Otherwise, it was business as usual for the October meeting of the council.

Larry Jones, Jr., electrical operations manager, talked to the council about the On Line Energy Exchange, telling the panel for $30 a month Prescott could join the program and run credit reports on those applying for meters. He said in the last 90 days Prescott Water and Light has lost $13,000 due to people leaving and not paying their bills. Jones pointed out the $100 deposit to get meters installed may be too low, but it’s used to offset part of any overdue bill from those who skipped out without paying.

Currently, he continued, On Line Energy Exchange does do collections for the city and gets 35 percent of what’s collected. He added the company gets nothing if it can’t find or collect from those who left without paying. From January to July, he said, 134 new meters were installed, with 58 of these customers being lost in the last 90 days. By joining On Line Energy Exchange, he told the council, for $2.85 per applicant the city could do a credit check. The system, he added, will allow the city to check the social security number of those applying to see if the number is legitimate or not. The company’s program, he said, links the cities it’s in together in a network, and all cities have access to credit data on potential customers.

Hope Water and Light, he said, uses this system and bases its deposit on a person’s credit history. Jones suggested Prescott Water and Light could do this as well. Those with poor credit could pay a higher deposit while those with good credit could pay a lower or no deposit. However, such action would require an ordinance by the council.

He asked the panel to consider joining On Line Energy Exchange and call the company to have a presentation done before drawing up an ordinance.

Reese Broadnax, project manager for the Area Workforce division of the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, asked the council for help in finding people who need assistance in getting trained or educated for work. She said the agency has $1 million it must spend by June and exists to aid the undertrained and undereducated join the workforce.

Broadnax pointed out the agency can help people get commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) or trained to be a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and can help fund the last two years of college for those who qualify. All programs, she said, are income based, and the agency has people on hand to help with the application and paperwork process.

For those wanting to go back to school, they must attend one of the 18 on the program’s list. The program can help pay for any supplies the student needs, testing fees, childcare, transportation and even relocation. “We have the resources,” she said, “we need people.”

Broadnax said this is the perfect time for those looking to return to school for the spring semester to apply. For those working, she continued, the agency will pay their salary up to 40 hours a week for 500 hours, but this doesn’t include overtime. At the end of 500 hours, the company or business they’re working for is expected to hire them full-time.

Anyone interested can call her at either 8870-837-6911, her office number, or her cell at 870-904-0074.

In other business, the council approved a resolution allowing the city to enter into a lease agreement with the Pitman Family Farms, Inc., for the old garment factory. The company will be using the facility as a hatchery and will pay $1,000 a month rent until it starts production, $2,000 a month for two years and $3,000 a month after three years. There is also an option for the structure to be purchased.

Councilman Howard Austin got things started by asking why there’s a deficit in the solid waste management budget. Carl Dalrymple, city accountant, said this is a joint fund for the city and county, but is operated by the county judge. He said the reason for the shortfall at this time, is the fund hasn’t been reimbursed yet, but this should balance out by the end of the year.

Austin also asked about $476 the parks and recreation department paid for extra labor. Bruce Bean said the department had an older worker who was on a senior work program at one time earlier this year, who wasn’t paid by the program when it switched from one agency to another, and what he was owed was paid by the parks department.

 

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