Hiring a new building inspector/code enforcement officer and flood plain inspector, ongoing issues with the cable system, accepting a bid for the new shop building were among the topics discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the Ash Flat City Council.
Following the approval of the July minutes, department reports were reviewed.
Stacy Horton, Ash Flat fire chief presented the blueprints of the layout of a new building to council.
Tracy Breckenridge, Ash Flat Water and Sewer superintendent, discussed with council the engineering of the new water project that would require moving utilities for the upcoming widening of Highway 62/412 to a five lane through the city limits.
Danny Grant, street superintendent told council that he should hear back from the company that is currently installing a dump bed on the city truck.
In unfinished business, the ongoing issue with Almega Cable was once again discussed. As with other meetings, there was no representative from the company. The Texas based company has a franchise agreement with the city of Ash Flat to provide cable service to the city. Representatives of the company have been asked several times to attend the council meetings to discuss the discontent of many of the customers who have limited or no service since the ice storm in January. Mayor Danny Traw referred to the response to a letter from Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln that said, not a whole lot could be done about the issue since a franchise is already established. He discussed the options to protest the company to FCC to get them to put a fire under them to respond to the problems.
The company has taken away primary channels, and when contacted by the Villager Journal in June, a spokesperson for the company at their Texas headquarters assured residents they would be replacing the channels with similar channels as well as prorating bills for the many months customers have not had these seven or eight channels.
One Ash Flat resident said that there is currently two of the same channel, Arkansas Educational Television Network on the cable system and the others have not been replaced and the local weather and news channel eight is in and out.
Ash Flat Clerk Charlotte Goodwin says that there isn't an issue with the price, but that everyone is paying for these 7-9 channels and not getting them. She said she contacted the company about the franchise and was given the owner's name and number. Almega currently has three service men for a five state region. Other members spoke out about similar problems with the cable system.
The creation of a new position to encompass building inspections, code enforcement and flood plain issues was also discussed by council.
Bids for the new city shop building were opened and Trumann Sisney with Sisney Builders turned in the winning bid for the metal frame building to be constructed.
The paving of Tuff, Martin, Estes and Arnhardt streets was also discussed. The repaving will be a chip and seal. The bids for this project will be opened at a special meeting to be held Aug. 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Ash Flat City Hall. The bids for the repair of the dugout at the Ash Flat ball park will also be opened at this meeting.
Council went into executive session to discuss the prospect of advertising for a new position of code enforcement/building inspector/flood plain manager. Following the session council voted to advertise for the position to be a salaried position with pay of $300 a month.
The next regular meeting of the Ash Flat City Council will be held Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.