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One winner at Emmet City Council meeting

By Staff, 07/16/21 10:35 AM

EMMET – July’s meeting of the Emmet City Council began with a drawing.

Granted, this is unusual, but a group of volunteers worked to raise money to help purchase a new backhoe for the city. To do this, a 50-50 raffle was held and 3,000 tickets sold. The lucky winner was Peggy Ingram of DeQueen. Deanna Allen, one of the volunteers, said the 50-50 raffle was chosen as the group didn’t have funds to do anything else. Ingram will receive $1,500, while the City of Emmet gets $1,000 and the group will retain $500 for future projects, such as Bingo and a barbecue. Emmet Mayor Dale Booker drew the winning ticket.

From there, Booker reminded those present the council meeting was open to the public but not a public meeting, which meant the audience wasn’t allowed to ask questions or say anything while the meeting was in session. He said the June meeting was disorganized, but those present would have a chance to speak after the meeting was adjourned.

As the meeting portion got under way, Booker said the community has been approved for more than $800,000 in grants this past year, including $300,000 to do street overlay. However, the bid for the overlay project came in at $360,000 with the council deciding to cut it back to the grant amount.

After being turned down twice for grants to repaint the water tower, he said a grant for $234,000 was approved last week. The city was also turned down twice for grants to help with the drainage problem on Vine Street, but was recently informed a grant for $223,000 had been approved. The city, though, will have to put up 10 percent or $22,300 for its part.

Booker said he hopes to get some money from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) as Emmet is supposed to receive $90,000. The problem, he continued, is the rules and regulations on how the money can be used are continually changing, but it is known the funding can’t be used to buy a backhoe.

The council approved opening a separate bank account for Act 833 money, which is turnback funds received from insurance payments. The funds have been being kept in the city’s general account, but need to be separated, Booker said.

In talking about the backhoe, Booker told the audience the one the city has is 25-years-old and in poor shape. Parts are getting hard to find for it, he said, and the city needs a new one, which will run about $65,000. He said the city has been offered $10,000 for the existing one. The council voted to sell the backhoe for the $10,000 offered.

Booker talked about the sewer levee repair, saying he estimated it would cost about $5,000. He told the crowd he thought it would take about 60 hours to do the work with backhoe rental running $65 an hour. With labor costs, he continued, this adds up to $5,250. There was murmuring from the audience until he pointed out the city would not be renting a backhoe, but charging back, something that hasn’t been done, to help save for another piece of equipment. He added the city wouldn’t have to purchase any supplies for the project.

With this, the meeting was adjourned and opened for public comments.