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Council meets new officer, approves grant for police car

By Staff, 09/17/19 9:50 AM

PRESCOTT – Prescott’s City Council approved amending the 2019 budget to reflect new figures at its September meeting Monday night.

City Accountant Carl Dalrymple told the panel he had to add $335,000 to the expenses, but also added $620,000 in income for an increase of $284,000 to the budget. However, he reminded the council the budget will have to be amended again in December.

Prescott Police Chief Joey Beavers introduced a new officer to the council, Justin Babbitt, who came to the Prescott Police Department from Glenwood. He said a second officer was also hired, but was immediately sent to the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in Camden.

He also told the council the PPD’s been approved for a USDA loan of $24,650 to purchase a new police car, but the vehicle will cost $33,000 and the city needs to come up with the rest of the funds. The vehicle being bought is a 2019 Dodge Durango, but, Beavers said, by the time the paperwork is done it could be a 2020 model.

He pointed out several vehicles in the PPD fleet need to be replaced because of age and mileage. Two, he said, are 13-years-old while one is 12 and another is 11. Six have more than 100,000 miles on them. The council approved the additional funds for a new vehicle.

Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber is about to enter its busy season with the Fall Festival next month and the holidays coming up. She added Wolf Pack Nutrition is now open for business.

Mary Godwin, executive director for the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, updated the panel on grant projects, saying the drainage project on Olive and Mockingbird Lane is done.

In talking about park grants, she said, a little is being done at a time, pointing out new swing sets have been installed at City Park and new picnic tables have been put at McRae Park which are handicap accessible. She added, the fences have all new caps there as well.

Godwin said the next grant project she’ll be working on is a public fishing pond, but the council needs to determine a location. The grant for this project will be applied for in 2020 and the matching funds will be put back for it.

A grant through the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has been approved for $129,000, she said, and will be used to put sidewalks from the Department of Human Services to Cash Savers on both sides of the road. This, she added, is an 80-20 grant and the city will also pay for engineering fees.

She said the EDO will be receiving a national award for its youth conference. The award will be presented next month in Reno, NV. This year’s youth conference, though, will be held on Sept. 24 at Hempstead Hall where 982 eighth graders from 18 schools will be coming to see what kind of manufacturing jobs are available in Southwest Arkansas and what kind of education they’ll need for these jobs.

Herb Langston, veteran’s service representative for Nevada County, talked about his plans for the office. He’s working on having a Veteran’s Day Parade on Nov. 11, getting all civic clubs and the school involved. One of his goals is to have members of the Curley Wolf football team push the veterans who can’t walk in their wheelchairs in the parade. He also plans on having a Memorial Day parade in May along the same lines with the oldest veteran being named the grand marshall. Right now, he said, that would be Leotis Sanders, 100, who lives in Rosston.

His long-term goal is to have a new memorial erected on the Nevada County courthouse lawn for those who lost their lives in the wars and conflicts since WWII.

In other business, the council approved rezoning property owned by Jimmy Brown from industrial to residential.

It also approved an ordinance that would basically do away with electing a city attorney. City Attorney Glenn Vasser said no one has ran for the post in 30-40 years and the council has been appointing a city attorney during this time. What makes this different is the Arkansas Legislature passed a bill, which was signed into law, now making this an option. However, with the council voting to appoint future city attorneys, it takes the public’s right to vote out of the question as there will not be an election for the position.