The Viola City Council held their monthly meeting Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Viola Fire Department.
Darrell Zimmer presented a water report on the city. Viola had some water problems Sept. 12 that involved the school not being open that day. According to both Mayor Jackie Estes and Zimmer, the motor on the water tower's pump had to be replaced. Zimmer said the old motor was installed in 2004 and should have lasted longer. He said a power outage is what caused the problem. "If the voltage gets too low, the motor won't come back on," Zimmer said. To keep this problem from happening again the city purchased a surge protector for $1,400 to put on the motor.
The total cost to replace the motor and the work put into it was about $8,000. Estes said he was surprised it didn't cost more. "Those boys (Washington Pump Service out of Brockwell) showed up at about 11:30 that morning and took about 480 feet of pipe out of the ground," said Estes.
Zimmer also told the council that paving work on county roads started this week. Patching is supposed to be done on some roads that were flooded out. Most of the work done will be on Pickren Hall Road. A private contractor, PACE construction out of West Plains, Mo., is doing the work.
John May, the superintendent of the Viola School District, presented a couple of issues to the council. May said the county mitigation plan for the FEMA grant for a community storm shelter at the school has yet to be approved. He asked them to think about joining the FEMA Floodplain. If the city were to do so, the school could proceed with the grant application from FEMA for a community safe-room in the future Physical Education building at the school. The council took no action on the issue and decided to bring it up again at the October meeting.
May also brought up the issue of closing part of Longhorn Drive during school hours. He said when the band instructor is leading elementary students to the band building across the street, there have been some close calls with vehicles speeding down the street in between the main school campus and the band building.
The other reason why May would like the street to be closed during school hours is because of high school students hanging around on the rock wall that partially surrounds the campus and runs next to the street. "With the age of cell phones, all kids have to do is call someone to meet them out by the wall," May said. May has received information from school administrators that some illegal activities have taken place in the past, during and in between classes, when people drive up to the wall to speak with whoever is waiting. May said that some of the incidents may have involved drugs. Several members of the council had responses to closing down a public street.
"If kids want to get drugs, they're going to get them no matter what," Mike Beaver said.
"You can't just shut down any street," Garry Williams said.
The council decided to send out a survey asking residents for their opinion about closing the road during school, when they send out the next water bills.
Estes said the city received five applications for a part-time city custodian. The council went into executive session to discuss the applications. When they came out of executive session, they unanimously voted to hire Otto Neulreich for custodian. Neulreich will be responsible for keeping the City Hall complex clean and cleaning the restrooms in the City Park during the off season.