Ash Flat City Council adds full time officer position

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Ash Flat City Council held its regular meeting Oct. 13.

Department reports were first to be presented. Fire Chief Stacy Horton said the department responded to 33 calls for service.

Ash Flat Police Officer Allan Wallace provided the police department report in the absence of Chief Steve Powell.

Wallace said the police department responded to 132 calls for service for the month of September, conducted 107 traffic stops and more.

Library Manager Susan Funnell told the council as of September, eight students were using the Surrey Application

“Hopefully that will increase as time goes on. We’re working on a new procedure for background checks and we now have a true reference section in the library. The book brigade is not having their haunted house but we will be having an outdoor book sale on Halloween day,” Funnell said.

Following department reports, the council moved on to discuss new business.

Graycen Bigger spoke to the Ash Flat City Council about economic development and opportunities for partnership.

“NEA Intermodal worked with Ozarka College on a grant through the Department of Labor which was funded in full for $1.47 million which will stay in Ash Flat for the new career and technical education center,” Bigger said.

Bigger said one of the key elements which will be made possible through the grant will be the hiring of an individual to focus on business retention and expansion.

“This individual will go to businesses in the community, ask them how they’re doing, what workforce challenges they’re facing and partner with the businesses to help them grow and succeed. They’ll be working along side us so if it’s not a workforce training issue we will help however we can with grant assistance,” Bigger said.

She then thanked the council for their investment in economic development and extended an invitation to the city to become a member of the NEA Intermodal, in an official capacity.

“I know Sharp County is a member officially, but we would like for the City of Ash Flat to be an official member as well. We have worked with you on the Ozarka grant, have provided some matching funds, done research, marketing and want to continue doing those things,” Bigger said. “It’s typically a $5,000 membership fee and we ask that so there is a steak in the game and we get a lot of our funding through the Arkansas Department of Transportation. We ended our budget last year with about $286,000.”

No action was taken, however; Mayor Larry Fowler said the city would consider the membership when creating their budget for 2021.

The next item discussed was the first draft for the 2021 budget. The council did not discuss the budget, but was encouraged to take a copy of it home, review it and make changes or corrections.

The council then moved on to discuss the sale of city equipment which was no longer needed by the city.

A discussion about which items needed to be listed and sold was held. After deciding reserve prices, the council opted to list the items and take sealed bids.

The council then entered into executive session to discuss the promotion of an employee.

Upon returning, Fowler called for a motion to increase the salaries to hire another full time police officer.

The motion was made and passed. Fowler said he would be promoting Tressie Powell to full time status the following morning.

Prior to adjournment, City Clerk Charlotte Goodwin requested the city take bids to have the parking lot of city hall paved.

The council discussed it briefly, Fowler said to get bids for the parking lot.

The Ash Flat City Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Ash Flat Fire Station until further notice.

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