Several items were voted on during the regular monthly meeting of the Highland City Council held July 14 at Highland City Hall.
Following the pledge of allegiance, the minutes from the June 9, meeting were approved, including a resolution to amend the 2009 budget which included the transfer of $50,000 to the street fund from the general fund.
The city opened sealed bids for street chip and seal work in the Highland area. Three companies submitted bids for the project. A motion was made by Alderman David Harris to accept the low bid submitted by Atlas Asphalt from Batesville. The motion was seconded by Woodie Pardue. Atlas' bid was $55,909.10 for rolling compacting, double chipping and sealing Dogwood Circle, Stiney Corners, Wanda Circle and Louann.
Highland Mayor Jerome Norwood discussed with council the possibility of having Atlas also chip seal Carolyn, Dana and Gay road, near Jack Horrell's residence as well as getting a revised estimate on the project to include the repaving of the new Highland Fire Department parking lot. While there was some concern with council about having Atlas resubmit a bid, thus potentially taking more time on getting the project progressing, Norwood assured council he would discuss, "Making an addendum to the bid." Alderman Allen made a motion to allow the mayor to discuss the cost of paving the additional roads and bring the results to the next regular meeting of the Highland City Council. Alderman Jack Kimbrell seconded the motion.
Highland Road Superintendent Robert Monroe did not agree with paving the new fire department's parking lot out of street funds and felt the money would be better utilized by paving additional roads in the area that may need the service.
In committee reports, Richard Smith with the Sharp County Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) asked council for the use of the city's dump truck during weekends for hauling at the airport. Richard said there would be no highway use. Alderman Woodie Pardue made a motion to lend the dump truck to the SCRAA and Alderman Jeff Holden seconded the motion.
In unfinished business, a permit fee of $20 was established in Ordinance 09-02. The ordnance requires homeowners to obtain a permit from the city of Highland in the event a builder or contractor alters a home in which plumbing and electric work are warranted. It was explained to council that if a contractor is building or remodeling a business or residence, they are already required to obtain a permit. The ordinance establishes a fee for smaller jobs as well.
In other unfinished business, Mayor Norwood explained to council that the apparent low bidder for the removal of ice storm hanging limbs, stumps and trees which was initially awarded to Mills Backhoe had to be recalled due to the company lacking insurance coverage. The next bidder was Talley Tree Masters and the mayor notified them of their winning bid which was $9,010 different than that of Mills. Norwood advised Tally to proceed with the job.
In new business, council addressed a letter written by Highland Police Chief Beatrice Sharp to council regarding possible compensation for her no longer being allowed to take home her police vehicle because she lives outside the city limits. Sharp said she has always driven her police vehicle home for the last eight years of her employment and doesn't understand why it has suddenly become an issue.
Mayor Norwood presented to council quotes regarding the salaries of other cities police chiefs who's city's were similar in size to Highland's. The range for the salaries was too inconsistent to base any information as the amounts were either significantly higher or lower than that of Sharp's.
Alderman Joe Black was the only council member who was verbally adamant that, "If you live out of the city you should not be paid to drive to work." He also made a motion not to compensate Sharp for her not being able to use the city police vehicle for travel to and from home. Jeff Holden seconded the motion. A vote was taken and council agreed by six votes favoring not allowing Sharp to be compensated, with two council members against not compensating Sharp for no longer being able to drive the police car home.
In new business, Mayor Jon Abel asked in a letter he had written to the city that council address the concrete drop off (change in elevation) near the new fire station. He said that there should be some sort of an ordinance in place that addresses the potential safety hazard prior to the fire station's opening.
The next regular monthly of the Highland City Council will be at 7 p.m. at Highland City Hall.