After going into executive session to discuss a personnel matter, the council returned to public session, and promoted Highland Police Officer Kyle Crawford to Sergeant.
Crawford, who has worked for the department since Jan. 2005, was congratulated by the council, Mayor Richard Smith and Police Chief Jeremy Stevens. "It is such a privilege working with Kyle, and he deserves this promotion," Stevens said.
Mayor Smith then presented a plaque to City Street, Sewer and Code Enforcement Supervisor Robert Monroe for his hard work and dedication guiding construction of the recently opened city park.
It was a job that hit some roadblocks and took patience, before finally being completed.
Alderman David Harris announced he had received $5,000 in funding from Liberty Bank of Arkansas for the cost of constructing a sign in front of the fire department. The previous sign was destroyed by the 2009 tornado. The bank will sponsor the sign in exchange for advertising space. Harris said he would like council to work collectively on the sign project and seek public input on its design. A local sign company has drawn up one possible design.
In other business, the council discussed issues with one of the fire department's trucks.
Fire Chief Kal Dienst explained that, during routine maintenance, it was discovered that the blue pumper had a bad pump. After contacting a repair company, Dienst determined the cost to repair the 26 year old truck's pump was too expensive.
The chief said his department was a primary candidate for apparatus replacement through the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters program. Although the grant program has closed for 2012, he explained he would begin shopping around and get prices on a new truck, and apply during the 2013 grant program.
The cost to the city, if it was to receive a grant, would be a ten percent match, which would be comparable to the price of the pump repair "This way we have a new truck, not a 26 year old one." Dienst explained.
He said the city will continue to use the truck in emergencies, because one of the pumps still functions.
The mayor announced the opening of the long discussed city park. The playground equipment, pavillion and basketball courts recently opened in Hidden Valley. The park was a result of an economic development grant. Upcoming improvements from a second grant from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will include a boat dock near the park, which overlooks Lake Mirandy.
During the meeting, the mayor announced the opening of a new restaurant in the area. A family style pizza buffet restaurant will soon be open in the building next to Mark Martin in Highland. The owners are planning to open in early October.
Growth in the area is reflected in July sales tax figures, that were up over July 2011.
The Highland City council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Highland City Hall, and the public is always invited to attend.