The Salem City Council met July 16 and discussed FEMA payments and the recent completion of the Town Creek debris cleanup.
Mayor Gary Clayton outlined where the city stood in terms of payment received from FEMA and the balance remaining.
"We made an initial billing of approximately $10,000 for the first phase of opening streets and things that had to be done on an emergency basis, before FEMA became involved, and they've paid their 75 percent of that, which is right at $7,000" said Clayton. "We also submitted billing for $114,000 which covers the rest of the project, and FEMA adjusted that down to $97,000. They then paid 34 percent of their 75 percent of that amount, which was $24, 900, so we have approximately $32,000 from them so far."
FEMA still owes the city $48,483, based on figures that have been sent in. Once that amount is received from FEMA, the project is then closed, and the state will pay their 12.5 percent, which according to Clayton is $13,300. In all, the city is expecting around $60,000 from FEMA and the state.
"Once we get all their money in, we will deposit it into a holding account, and then we will go and pay back these regular city funds that we borrowed from initially to cover these costs," said Clayton. "At that time, we will do a complete financial statement on the storm."
Clayton believes the city will eventually come out ahead approximately $35,000 when all is said and done.
City sales tax receipts are holding well. According to Clayton, they're running a little ahead of projections, for halfway through the year.
Salem Police Chief Albert Roork gave the police report to the council. It included four automobile accidents, five domestic disputes, 47 complaints, four reported thefts and two investigations involving the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card.
Tickets issued this month were given for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, two assaults on a family member, a count of criminal impersonation, one felony drugs warrant for Oregon County, two for no proof of insurance, one for improper passing, one for no drivers license and one for expired tags.
"We worked the fourth of July at the park," said Roork. "We went out and walked among everybody and visited with everybody and just saturated that thing. We didn't have any kind of a problem at all."
The department also worked several matters alongside the sheriff's department and assisted DHS with several matters within the city limits.
Roork also mentioned that the department is completing the investigation of the July 6 stolen motorcycle wreck within the city limits, where the driver took off on foot and left his passenger seriously wounded.
The Chief then informed the council that he would be taking a leave in August to have some surgery done. Although his doctor has advised him he may be off work for up to six weeks, Roork believes it will only be about two weeks that he'll be away from the job.
The Chief then brought up the city's stray dog problem,
"I've been having Beverly Rogers at Kountry Doggie Salon, who works with the SPCA, helping me. But I'd really like to be able to separate from that, and not worry her with it," said Roork. "She's been really gracious about it, but we need to be taking care of this issue. I need a kennel. I need a place to keep these animals until the SPCA can come get them."
Roork had priced a 6-foot by 12-foot kennel from Thompson's Fence Company at $800, and asked the council for other recommendations where he could research pricing.
"I just need a place where I can hold a dog for a day or two, until they can come get the dogs, because they're just volunteers there at the SPCA and it can be a day or two before they can come," said Roork. "I'm not a dog catcher and I don't intend to be one. I don't want to see these dogs mistreated. I want to handle this humanely. If it's a docile dog, that allows us to catch it, I'm willing to do it. I have one right now that's a problem, that has mange, and Beverly won't let that into her shop, for obvious reasons."
The council agreed to allow Chief Roork to do further investigation into the kennel option and to report back next month.
Heath Everett gave the fire department report to the council. They had 12 calls last month, including three structure fires, four EMS calls, three motor vehicle accidents, a car fire and an electrical fire at the jail due to an inmate incident.
"We were also at the park for the July Fourth event and nothing major happened, which was good," said Everett. "So far, this month has been fairly quiet. We assisted with that motorcycle wreck, assisted the police department in looking for the driver who fled. It was a pretty major impact."
The Public Works report was not given, as Bill Worsham had been taken to a hospital in Mountain Home earlier in the day and could not attend.
Mayor Clayton gave an update on the completed Town Creek cleanup.
"All of that was handled by the Natural Resources people. They did the contracting for it and the payment on it," said Clayton. "We did our match on it by using our equipment to haul off the debris. We came through it without any cash expenditure on our part. Originally, our match amount was 25 percent, but they changed it to 10 percent, so, we did well."
The council then voted on and passed Ordinance 198 which authorizes a $20 fine to help defray the expense of incarcerated prisoners in the county jail, pursuant to act 209 of 2009 and for other purposes. This replaces the $5 fine currently in place.
The money will be used for the maintenance, operation costs and capital expenses of the county jail and will be levied on every defendant upon each conviction who pleads guilty, nolo contender, is found guilty or forfeits bond for any misdemeanor or violation of district court.
Michael Holcomb, who resides at the corner of Second Street and Cedar Street, approached the council with a sewer line issue. According to Holcomb, the sewer line initially collapsed in 2005, and when he then had the means to complete a repair of the line, including the part which ran underneath the city street, Bill Worsham with the Public Works Department chose not to make the repairs under the street portion. That portion has now failed and the Arkansas Department of Health has cited Holcomb with an ultimatum of fixing the line or having his water shut off in 10 days.
The letter was dated July 9, meaning the deadline would be July 19. With Worsham in the hospital, the council decided that the city will provide the equipment and manpower to make the repairs as quickly as they can, and Holcomb would provide the pipe required, which he already has on hand, and pay for half the cost of the gravel and concrete needed to make the repair.
At this point, the council adjourned.