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Friday, May 6, 2016

Ash Flat inches closer to needed funding for fire department

Friday, March 4, 2011

Clint Wiles, with First National Banking Company, presents a franchise fee revenue bond for the construction of the city's new fire station at the Feb. 22 meeting of the city council, as Fire Chief Stacy Horton and Captain Jared Allen listen to his proposal. Photo/Tammy Curtis
Following a presentation by Clint Wiles with First National Banking Company of Ash Flat, at the city's regular monthly meeting Feb. 21, the Ash Flat Fire Department is one step closer to getting started on a new fire department building.

Wiles presented a bid for a franchise revenue bond to the council, with a price that is lower than a previous bid given by Crews and Associates Senior Managing Director Bob Wright, who presented his bid to council a few weeks prior to Wiles 'presentation.

The fire department's current location is being turned into a library, thanks to a grant, and construction to renovate the department is just around the corner. This leaves the department in desperate need of beginning their new building. The city has obtained the land, just across from Walmart and off the highway, to build the new department. The issue has been a financing plan that would allow the city to assume the debt for more than five years.

Wiles' proposal was based on a $650,000 construction cost, with $10,000 to issue the bond. The $660,000 revenue bond has some stipulations, including that no tax revenues can be used toward repayment of the bond, and the city must document their franchise fees are sufficient to amortize debt and meet the requirements, which is an annual payment of $50,753. The construction bond will be for 20 years at 4.5% interest, a price which came in lower than the Crews bid. Wiles explained there are many payment options including quarterly, but emphasized the bank needs a commitment from the city on the bid.

Wiles indicated the price was good for 90 days and Ash Flat Mayor Danny Traw assured Wiles the council would consider the bid and get back to him in a timely manner. Council set a meeting for Feb. 28 to vote on the revenue bond. Wiles explained they are a hometown bank and said, "I feel like we can get the money as quickly as you need it." Traw said, "I would like to have it done and be ready to start construction in 60 days."

In other business, Council passed an ordinance establishing a base rate of salary for a newly elected mayor and city recorder/treasurer. Ordinance 2-1-11 outlines a newly elected mayor will be paid $6,000 as a base salary and a recorder/treasurer will be paid $12,000 annually. The ordinance also specifies any additional benefits or compensation must be authorized by the city council as deemed appropriate.

The city also passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for a grant under the Arkansas Community Rural Grant Program. The money from the grant will be used to purchase firefighting turnout gear. The Ash Flat community has already raised $2,060 to be applied to a local match, if needed. Traw will submit an application to the Arkansas Rural Development Commission for the grant money.

The council then went into executive session to discuss a promotion. Regan Nicolson was temporarily promoted to Parks and Streets Supervisor. This promotion came as the result of Danny Grant, who previously filled the position's injury and inability to return to work.

The city also voted to retain Carolyn Sisney, who is currently working for Experience Works at the Ash Flat Police Department, as an employee.

Prior to adjournment, discussion ensued about the city's options regarding cable service as the current provider has cut the service to the city after many long standing issues. For a more in-depth story regarding the cable issue, see next week's edition of the Villager Journal.

Ash Flat City Council meets the third Monday of each month at 6:30 at Ash Flat City Hall. The public is welcome to attend these meetings.

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