Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2:36 PM

Another year has almost gone. It has been a good year for me. I have had some unique experiences that I will probably never forget. Because of some unusual situations I have learned some new information that will help me be a better mayor in the future.

There will be a big change in the sanitation department next year. The way the city handles trash is going to change drastically. I hope that everyone adjust to the new system in a short time. I appreciate the attitude of Carol and Jerry about the changes. They are the employees who are going to be on the front line for the new system. I have tried to encourage them as we enter this new phase. I feel confident about their handling of the changes. I hope that the citizens cooperate with the city in this new method of collecting trash. The 96 gallon containers that we purchased earlier in the year seem to be working out well. We have had only minor problems since the new system was implemented. A majority of the comments to me have been very positive about the change.

I went to Colt today for lunch. I met Pat and a group of Woodruff employees for lunch. We met there to have lunch with Richard. He is in town to close on his home in Wynne. I hope that everything goes well. A deal is never closed until the check clears the bank.

I will not stay up and see the new year in later tonight. I am too old to do that now. I will go to the courthouse in the morning to witness the swearing in ceremony for the elected officials. The city will have two new council members next year. One council member chose not to seek election and another was defeated. I look forward to working next year with the two new members and the eight who will be returning.

Monday, December 29, 2008

9:00 AM

I have been off work for five days. The official days that the city hall was closed was last Wednesday an Thursday. I also took off on Friday.

Pat and I went to Jonesboro to eat out for our anniversary. We had a delicious meal. Pat did a little last minute shopping for Christmas. We did not do anything special on Wednesday or Thursday. On Christmas day we had a big breakfast and that was about all we did. Pat did get me a few shirts and wrapped them up for Christmas. I did not get Pat anything for a gift this Christmas. We plan to buy a flat screen TV sometime in the next few weeks. We have been looking for several weeks and I think that we have made a decision on which one to buy.

I called Mother and David on Christmas day. This is the first time in several years that we have not had breakfast with my family on Christmas. We did not go to Mississippi because Amy had to work on Christmas day and the day after.

We went to Amy's on Saturday and spent the day and part of Sunday with her. She is off for three days. We had a good visit. We also took her the gifts that we had bought her for Christmas. While we were in Memphis we went to Graceland to look at the Christmas lights on Saturday night. That is the first time in years we have visited Graceland at Christmas.

It is back to a more normal routine now that the holidays are over. We will be off on new years day. I will probably go to the courthouse in the morning to watch the swearing in ceremony for the elected officials. I will probably spend a lot of time watching the bowl games over the next several days.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10:37 AM

Today is my anniversary. Pat and I have been married 40 years today. It does not seem like we have been married that long. I gave Pat a card this morning, she placed her card for me on her blog. Very Sweet...

It is much warmer here today. At the present time it is raining, but there are a few ice spots around. The temperature should rise enough that ice will not be a problem.

Monday, December 22, 2008

8:26 AM

I spent a quiet weekend at home this past two days. Pat and I went to the fire department Christmas party on Friday night. There was a good turnout and the food was excellent. A few minutes before the party was to end the alarm went off. It is still amazing to me how quick the firemen can go from enjoying a party to be gone from the station to a fire. I appreciate the work and dedication of the members of the Wynne Fire Department.

I went to the coffee shop on Saturday morning. They were very easy on me.

Later in the day I washed my truck. Well, I did not wash it, I went to the automatic car wash. It looks much better. Later in the day I went to Wal-Mart with Pat. They were very busy, but we were in and out very quickly. The checkout line was short when we were ready to go home.

We stayed in yesterday, except going to Sunday School and church. Last night the choir had the Christmas music. It was very good and the length was very good. We had a business meeting before the service and then the music. The program was over by 7:00 PM.

It is very cold here now. A few minutes ago as I was coming to work the temperature was 12 degrees. The high today is forecast to be only 30 degrees.

Friday, December 19, 2008

10:44 AM

I have been busy this week. I have had a number of city problems that I have had to deal with. The problems have still not been resolved, but hopefully a solution can be found soon. I have learned a lot in the last few months about dealing with people. Sometimes they disappoint me. It will all work out in the end and I will be prepared the next time these problems come up, and they will come up. I think that I have the necessary regulations in place to deal with them in a better way when they come up again.

Pat and I attended the Woodruff Christmas party last night. Pat stayed after work and made pictures at the party. I went early and visited with the employees while she was making pictures. The party went well. This year there was no entertainment, but I do not think that anyone was disappointed. As usual they gave away several door prizes. Pat was lucky and won one of the gifts. She won some candles. I think that she will have to give them away, because the smell bothers her.

Tonight we will go to the Fire Department party. They always have a good meal and I enjoy visiting with the people who attend.

Monday, December 15, 2008

3:32 PM

It has been several days since I did a blog. I will try to catch up on what has been happening.

We had an unusual situation in one of the city departments last Friday. The bottom line is that the situation was a no win for anyone involved. We made a decision, but I do not think that everyone was happy. I contacted an individual who is an expert in the field, but as of now he has not responded to my request for assistance.

Friday night I performed a wedding for a former student and his bride. The couple was Ray Lawrence and Rose Bridges. The wedding was at New Hope Baptist Church. The wedding went very well. Pat went with me and we stayed for the reception. There was a good crowd and I knew most of the people who attended. I enjoyed the ceremony and visiting with the guest after the wedding.

I went to Benton on Saturday. I would like to have a 1946 Chevrolet pickup. There was one for sale in Benton. I had called about it earlier in the week, but I could no go to look at it until Saturday. I called the owner in the morning and he said that he still had the pickup. I told him that I was on my way. He had described the truck very good, but after looking at the truck, I decided that I was not interested in that particular truck. The owner of the truck and I had a good visit. He showed me some of his other cars that he had restored. One of them was a 1948 Buick convertible street rod. It was really an nice car.

I got a call after I returned home on Saturday about Lynn Blake. He had chest pains and had been taken to Jonesboro. They had performed some test and planed to conduct more on Sunday morning. The did the other test on Sunday morning and had to place a stint in one of the blockages. The other could be treated with medication. He had though that he would be coming home today, but this morning he was informed that he would have to stay at least one more day.

Pat and I attended my Sunday School class Christmas party last night. We had an excellent turnout and Pat and I both enjoyed the food and fellowship.

On my trip to Benton I used a GPS. I simply typed in the address and I had perfect directions to the address where I was going. I am probably going to buy one for myself. I do not really need it, but what the heck. Lets go first class.

Pat is at home today. After the party last night she had a terrible headache. She went to bed and was not feeling much better this morning. I went home at lunch and she was feeling much better.

I had been scheduled, if fact I had been requested, to attend a committee hearing at the State Capitol tomorrow. The weather here is not good and there is a good chance that we will have ice in the morning. I called the office that requested my appearance. They called back and told me not to come. Another person that had been requested to appear had a conflict, so the meeting will be scheduled for a later date.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

9:54 AM

I am sitting in my office waiting to have an exit conference with the state auditor. The conference was to begin at 9:00 AM but one of the officials that has to participate has a last minute conflict. We will begin when that person is able to be here. He should be here in a few minutes.

The city council met last night. The meeting was not very long. The council passed ordinances that adopted the 2009 budget and the revised 2008 budget. They also approved the final plat for a local developer. The plat is for 20 lots. The council spent several minutes discussing a request for insurance benefits for an alderman. After much discussion the council took no action. I think that their decision was based on an opinion from the city attorney about the matter.

I went to Memphis yesterday morning. I have hired an individual to do some repair work on Amy's home. The individual and I traveled to Memphis and he looked at the work to be completed. He will complete the work over the next few weeks. The job will not take a long time, but the individual will only work part-time to complete the job. He and I stopped at her job and I introduced them to each other.

Monday, December 8, 2008

DECEMBER 8, 2008
2:10 PM

This past weekend I did not engage in many activities. I went to the coffee shop on Saturday morning to get caught up on the latest news in Wynne.

I went to Parkin on Saturday afternoon to participate in the Parkin Christmas Parade. They had a good turnout of parade participants and there was a good crowd to view the parade. I enjoyed my participation. Ms Joanne has called me for the last several year inviting me to participate. I have enjoyed going over the years. She is really working hard to improve Parkin.

I spent the remainder of the time enjoying football on TV. There were several games. I was in Parkin for most of the Alabama and Florida game. I went to Parkin in my Avalanche, so I could listen to the game on XM.

On Sunday Pat and I went to Sunday School and church. The rest of the day I spent on the couch. My back has been acting up and I could lie on the couch with much less pain. I took a few naps and enjoyed pro football. At the end of the service Sunday night the church had a live video and audio hookup with Kirk Owens. It was good to see and hear from him live. Pat and I have been keeping up with him through email, but it was good to see and hear him live.

I told Brother Matt yesterday morning that he and I were going to have to give our schools more money now because they both fired the football coach and both have to pay them off. He said that he was shocked that Auburn had fired their coach.

I have been busy here at city hall for most of the day. I have now hit a short window that allows me to write on this blog.

Friday, December 5, 2008

3:41 PM

This has been a very busy week in the city. I have been busy everyday. I have had a number of meetings. This morning I attended a Workforce board meeting in Forrest City. Yesterday I had a long staff meeting and then the rest of the morning, I attended the Solid Waste Board meeting. The meeting was held in Wynne.

Wednesday I traveled to North Little Rock and attended the Executive Committee meeting of the Arkansas Municipal League. We had a very good meeting and I got a chance to visit with friends of mine from around the state. It was a long day but a very beneficial day.

The department heads and I have had to deal with a number of employee situations this week. Enough on that subject.

Last night Pat and I had chili at the fire department and then I participated in the Wynne Christmas Parade. The parade was very good and the turnout was excellent. As usual the weather was cold. I think that the first Thursday in December is always cold in Wynne.

I did not get a chance to check my email until a few minutes ago. I did not get to go to lunch till 1:00pm because of work that had to be completed here at city hall.

I shaved by beard off last night. I told people that I grew it in recognition of Mississippi State beating Arkansas in football. It was the first time State and won in 9 years.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, December 1, 2008

10:30 AM

It has been several days since I have written. I will try to catch up on this blog.

Last Thursday Pat, Oscar, and I went to Mississippi to celebrate thanksgiving. We had lunch and visited with my family at aunt Ginny's. We then went to Mike's and ate a little bit more and visited with Pat's family. We left Wynne about 7:30 AM and got back about 8:30 PM. A long day but we had a good time and good visits with family members.

I raked leaves on Friday morning. I finished about noon. I hope that is the last time for the year. Pat and I then went to Jonesboro. She had some merchandise that she needed to return. After she returned the merchandise, and went to the bookstore, we had dinner.

On Saturday we went to Memphis to celebrate thanksgiving and Amy's birthday. We took her out to eat lunch and give her our gift . We had a good time visiting with her.

Sunday we did not go to church. I could not get Pat up in time. I think that she was catching up on lost sleep and rest time for the previous three days.

Monday, November 24, 2008

8:23 AM

Pat, Oscar and I went to the Mississippi State Arkansas football game at Mississippi State. Oscar did not actually go to the game. Sher met us near West Point and picked up Oscar. The weather was not too bad. We dressed in a manner to keep us warm. It only got cool about the last 30 minutes of the game. The game was very close. Mississippi State beat Arkansas 31 to 28. The last play of the game was a field goal attempt by Arkansas. If it had been good there would have been overtime.

After the game we went to Sher's home in Columbus. We had a very good time visiting with her. She was an excellent host.

We came home yesterday. We arrived home about three pm. The last time Mississippi Sate beat Arkansas was in 1998. It is about time to beat the hogs.

We plan to make a quick trip to Iuka on Thursday. We will have dinner with my family and then visit and eat with Pat's family for supper. We will then come back to Wynne.

Pat and I are going to go to Memphis and celebrate Thanksgiving with Amy. She has to work on Thursday. There are no holidays in the funeral business.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

8:35 AM

The Wynne City Council held the November meeting last night. There were eleven items on the agenda to be acted on.

1. VDCI Year End Report---no action the company was not present.

2. CCEDC REPORT----Arron Stewart reported on the recent study conducted by ASU about
impact of the sales tax that has been used for economic development.

3 Drug testing for non CDL city employees---The council adopted an ordinance that will
require most of the city employees submit to random drug test.

4. 2009 Budgets for the city---I presented my budgets for the city for year 2009. I ask
for no action. I ask the city council members to study the budgets and if they have a
questions, contact me and I will give them an answer to any of their question. I told them
that they will be asked to approve the budgets at the December meeting.

5. The council approved a contract with the local Veterinary Clinic to sell dog tags for the
city. They have done this for a number of years and this was just a renewal of the
agreement. It has worked well.

6. I proposed and the council approved my appointment of Michael Hinton to the Wynne
Parks and Recreation Commission. He was appointed to a five year term.

7. The council also approved a resolution that allows me to execute an agreement with a
bank that will loan the DRA money. The Wynne City Airport will be put up for collateral.
A couple of months ago the council approved this arrangement. The bank needed the
resolution passed to complete the loan.

8. The council passed an ordinance that sets the floor elevations for any new buildings in
the city. The floor elevation will now have to be six inches above the highest point of the
street or curb in front of the property. This will solve some of the problems with water
getting in some buildings.

9. We amended an ordinance that had a mistake in the original ordinance. The old ordinance
stated the wrong state law. The only change was the number of the state law. The
ordinance deals with the payment of routine bills and the amount that can be purchased
without bidding.

10. Class Three Trash---The council held a vote to increase the residential fee by $5.00.
The motion did not pass, so that means that beginning January 1, 2009 class three
trash will be picked up on a pay as used program. There is also an option for the citizens
to carry their trash to the public works building and pay a fee for the disposal. This is
a big change to the way that garbage is dealt with in the city. Beginning in January, if
citizens do not use the service they will not have to pay. In the past they were charged
for the service whether they used it or not.

11. Alderman Bankston ask the council to pay for his health insurance at the end of his term.
He was defeated in the last election and his term will end on December 31 of this year.
The city has an ordinance that pays the health insurance for some elected officials if they
serve ten years. He has not served ten years. He is short about one month and ten days.
The council took no action. They asked me to discuss the matter with the city attorney and
report back to them next month.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

12:42 PM

The city had the exit conference with the state auditor this morning. Everything went well. We only had one finding. It is the same finding that has occurred for several years. They want some of the duties segregated. That is not possible with the number of people employed by the city. That is a finding that happens with a huge number of cities. We understand the problem and the auditor understands the problem. There is really nothing that we can do to solve this problem, except we will get written up each year. Everything else was OK.

Theda does an excellent job in keeping the records for the city. I should tell her more often how much I appreciate the work she does in behalf of the city.

The city council meets tonight. We have a long agenda. I will give a report later in the week about the meeting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

10:00 AM

The weather has changed quite a bit. The temperature is much lower than it was last week.

I did not remove leaves Saturday. The wind and temperature caused me to spend the day inside. I spent most of the day in my garage. I took apart our yard swing. I cut the new boards to replace the old ones and have painted quite a bit of the swing. I hope to complete the job sometime this week. I did watch TV while I was working Saturday. I watched parts of several football games and some racing.

The city council agenda for tomorrow night has eleven items on the agenda. We will not have a 20 minute meeting this month. Tomorrow we have the exit conference with the state auditor. I do not think that there are any areas of concern. Theda does a wonderful job keeping the records for the city. In fact the auditor has commented that because of Theda's work her job was much easier.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

10:53 AM

Theda and I have solved the problem with one of the ordinances. I have typed the new ordinance that corrects the mistake we found in the old one. The only change we have to make is the reference to a state statute.

I conducted another wedding yesterday afternoon. The couple were two of my former students. When I filled out the paper work I placed the wrong date. A few minutes later the groom came back to my office and said the the county clerk would not record it with the wrong date. I corrected the mistake and he returned to the county clerk to have it recorded.

This morning I received a freedom of information request from the city of Helena-West Helena. They requested all records from the sanitation department since January 1, 2005. They requested all tickets, checks, contracts and it appears that they want every piece of paper related to the sanitation department. I asked Theda to call the city and inform them that their request was rather large and that there is a 25 cents per page requested. Their request will be several dollars. It will take quite a bit of time to gather the information they have requested.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

8:56 AM

I got to do most of my yard work yesterday after all. I made a quick trip to Jonesboro to pick up some lumber to repair my swing. I went to Jonesboro because the lumber is not available in Wynne. I shop at home when the products are available.

After my trip to Jonesboro, I worked in the yard for a while. I removed the leaves from the back yard again. This morning there were several that have fallen since yesterday. It is easier to remove them in small amounts, rather than wait until they all fall. It also gives me something to do.

Monday Theda and I discovered a problem with one or the city ordinances. There is a small change that needs to be made in one of the ordinances. I think that we are legal, but there is a problem that needs to be corrected. We spent a lot of time working and discussing the problem on Monday. After thinking about it for the last two days, I think I have solved the problem. We can pass an amendment at the next city council meeting that will correct the problem.

It has been raining here since sometime in the night. The forecast is for rain the rest of the day. I glad that I have a job that is inside.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

9:57 AM

I am at the office killing time. The city is observing veterans day today. It is raining so I could not do the yard work that I had planned to do today. I cannot go in the house, because the housekeeper is there today. I do not want to disturb her in her cleaning.

Pat had a test done this morning at the hospital. We went to Kelley's this morning for breakfast. That is the first time is several days that I have not had my usual breakfast. My usual breakfast is a honey bun. I went to Kelley's before Pat and got caught up on all the information I needed. The coffee table is always full of information and they have no problem expressing their ideas and suggestions.

The representative from the storm door stopped by and measured the back door. Oscar has caused some damage to the door. He said that he could repair the door. It will take a few days. Oscar did not cause the damage, but he increased the damage. He loves to paw at the door when Pat gets home in the afternoon. His best friend is Pat. If she is not around, he sometimes will be friendly to me. If she is around, he usually has nothing to do with me.

I went to the high school last night to hear about the EAST project. The students are working on eight projects at the present time. It seemed strange to visit the room where I last taught. The EAST classroom is the room that was assigned to me the last part of my teaching career.

Yesterday afternoon I performed a wedding. A few minutes before four Theda got a call and asked if I would perform the ceremony. I told her, and she relayed the message that I would perform the ceremony. The young couple showed up in a few minutes and I performed the ceremony. While I was filling out the paper work for the wedding, I ask where the couple were from. The young lady was from Memphis and the young man was born in Wynne. If fact I taught his father and I have known his mother for a number of years.

Monday, November 10, 2008

11:00 AM

Saturday morning I removed the leaves from the back yard. I blew the leaves off the drive way and carport. I mulched the front yard. A few minutes after I removed the leaves from the back yard and carport they were covered again.

While I was working in the front yard, my neighbor stopped and said that we should make our other neighbor rake his leaves. The neighbor I was talking to and I do not have trees in our front yards, but we have to remove leaves from our other neighbor's yard. Sounds good, but that neighbor likes to look at the leaves in his yard.

I spent the rest of the day enjoying football on TV. There were several good games to watch. Next week Mississippi State plays Alabama in Alabama. At the present time Alabama is ranked number one in the nation. I will get to watch the game on TV. I do not think that we can beat them, but we beat them last year.

I drove by Jessie Wynne Park this morning. The work is progressing quite well. I have had a number of questions about what is going on in the park. When I explain, they seem to all agree that some changes needed to be made. I will be glad when the work is complete and we can enjoy the park again.

This morning I wrote an ordinance for the city council meeting next week. The ordinance requires buildings floor level to be six inches higher than the curb or street. This will aid in the drainage around buildings. If citizens do not want to follow these specs there is a provision for them to develop a drainage plan and submit it to the city engineer for approval. I hope the city council approves this ordinance. I think that this will aid drainage for the city.

Friday, November 7, 2008

1:38 PM

Yesterday I answered the phone and a man told me that he was planning to move to Wynne. He had accepted a job in Forrest City, but wanted to live in Wynne. He asked me if I could give him the name and phone number of some businesses that had rental property. I gave him the name and number of three companies that offer residential property for rent. He thanked me for my time and trouble.

This morning a man stopped by to see me. He told me that he had talked with me yesterday about property rental companies in Wynne. He was in Wynne and had made contact with the companies. He was successful in his search. He had rented a home. He said that he wanted to meet me and personally thank me for my help. I thanked him and asked where he was moving from to Wynne. He said that he now lived in Little Rock. He told me that he did not think that the mayor of Little Rock would be so helpful.

Sometimes a mayor gets personal thanks for helping citizens.

I met with the city council budget committee yesterday and went over the budget for 2009. They were pleased and voted to recommend the budget to the full council. There are only two major changes in this years budget. The budget contains a 3% raise for the employees and we had to increase the amount for fuel in all of the budgets. The rest of the budget remains very much like the budget for 2008.

I plan to go in a few minutes to get my annual flu shot. This year the county health department is giving the shots free. I have gone to the health department for years to get my flu shot and had to pay a small fee, but this year they are free. They plan to start at 9:00 AM and go until 4:00 PM or until they run out.

The leaves have turned and in my yard they are falling. I started raking them yesterday afternoon, but I did not get very much completed. I plan to work on the leaves tomorrow.

We have a burial today at the cemetery and we also have one scheduled for Sunday at 10:00AM. This is the first time that I have been involved with a burial on Sunday morning. We have had a few on Sunday afternoon, but this is my first for Sunday morning.

The work continues on Jessie Wynne Park. The contractor has completed quite a bit of the work. I look forward to the completion of this project.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Yesterday was election day in the United States as well as in Cross County. I went to the courthouse last night to observe and get the results of the election in Cross County. Bill Lee and Kenneth Witcher will be in a runoff for the county judge position on November 25. My JP member, Bobby Hess, was defeated by Mike Curtner. J. R. Smith won the race for sheriff. The turnout was over 7200 out of about 11,000 registered voters. Over 3900 citizens voted early.

Kirk Owens wanted to know the results of the election. As soon as the votes were announced I called Pat and she sent Kirk and email with the results. When I got to work this morning he had already sent a thank you email.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2:49 PM

I have been busy today. I have done quite a bit of work for the cemetery. We have a burial at 10:00 AM Sunday morning. When I called the grave digger he repeated the day and time, I said yes. This is the first time I have had a service on Sunday morning.

I also sold a burial plot to a lady. I went to the visitation for Mrs. Boger this morning and Kaye told me that we would have another one later this week. We sold a burial plot last week and the man told me that his wife was near death.

Carol and I met with the auditor this morning. Carol does not keep records of vacation and sick time like the other departments. The auditor needed an explanation of the way she keeps the time. I think that she will have to change the way she is recording her time.

Yesterday a man stopped by and ask if I could show him the grave of one of his relatives. I told him that I could. I looked up the records and found the plots. Lynn was here and he told me that he would go to the cemetery and show the man the graves. He called me about 30 minutes later and said that he could not find the graves. I went to the cemetery and I could not find the graves either. I told the man to give me a phone number and I would find the grave and give him a call. I came back to city hall and located the burial plots. I made a map and went to the cemetery. I found the lots, but there were no markers. I called the man ( he lives in Marked Tree) and told him of my findings. He thanked me for my trouble.

I voted this morning about 9:00. There were several people voting, but I did not have to wait but about 5 minutes to gain access to the machine. Cross County had a large number (over 3,000 out of about 11,000) of voters vote early. I like the early voting. That makes it easier for some people to have an opportunity to vote.

I attended the quarterly meeting of the FCI Community Relation Board this morning. It was good to see my friends I have made while serving on this board. It is always good to here the reports of the management at the prison, and we get a free lunch.

Monday, November 3, 2008

7:57 AM

The time has changed and my body has not adjusted to it yet. I woke up about four this morning. As usual I could not go back to sleep, so I got up and did my normal morning routine, it was just longer this morning. I will adjust to the time change, I just hope I do it soon.

I went to Mississippi State football game on Saturday. State lost to Kentucky 13-14. It was an interesting game and it was not over until one minute left in the game. The weather was very good and I enjoyed the kickoff time. It was 1:30 pm. I left Wynne about 7:30 am and I arrived back about 9:30 pm. That is easier that a night game, but it is still hard on an old man. I ate supper in New Albany at a truck stop. I also filled up with gas. The price was $2.03 per gallon. That was the cheapest gas I saw on my trip.

Pat and I went to Jonesboro on Friday night. We did that to avoid the Halloween crowd. We had a good trip. We ate and then bought Oscar some dog food and then went to the mall. Pat spent an hour in the bookstore. On our way home I stopped and filled up with gas. The price was 2.06 a gallon. That was the cheapest I saw anywhere on our trip.

Friday, October 31, 2008


8:04 AM

This has been a busy week. I have spent some more time on the budget for next year. Yesterday we discovered a mistake in one of the budgets. We have spent some time working on that and I think that the budgets are now complete. I will meet next week with the city council budget committee. If they agree with what I have prepared, I will present the budgets to the full city council at the November meeting.

The city council meeting for November is scheduled for November 11. Because that is a city holiday, I have written the city council members and proposed that we move the meeting to November 18. I sent out that letter two weeks ago. I have not received any negative comments, the council I have heard from have said OK. Unless something happens we will meet on the 18th.

Theda and I spent quite a bit of time with the auditors yesterday. We had some questions relating to the budget and some items in the new budget. After the meeting we are all on the same page about what needs to be in the budgets and the proper way to place them in the budget. They also had some questions about some items that they are working on. It seems that we have a problem, but we think that we can correct the items that there were questions about. Overall the audit is going well and there do not seem to be any problems. Theda does and excellent job in keeping the records for the city. If fact, one of the auditors told me that her records made the auditors job easy.

Theda and I have spent some time this week working on cemetery business. We have met with two families that want to purchase burial plots. I have gone to the cemetery with both families and they have chosen the plots that they want to purchase. Both families told us that they plan to come back and purchase plots. I had the cemetery mowed this week. I think that this will be the last mowing for this year.

Lynn and his crew are installing a fence at the fire department. Jerry and his crew have been working on a drain in the south part of the city. The work should improve the water flow in that subdivision. I hope so.

I talked with Amy this week and they have been very busy. She told her mother yesterday that they have three funeral on Saturday.

I will probably go to Mississippi State tomorrow for the football game. The kickoff is at 1:00PM. Because of that time I will be able to go and get back to Wynne at a time that is near to my normal bedtime.

The work on Jessie Wynne Park is progressing very well. I think that the citizens will be pleased with the renovation work at the park.

Today is Halloween and as usual Pat and I plan to leave home during the time children come by. We passed out candy for a number of years, but for the last several years we have left and enjoyed a dinner out of town. In fact last year Pat had another obligation and I went to WBC and enjoyed watching the children participate in the activities sponsored by the church.

Monday, October 27, 2008

OCTOBER 27, 2008
10:55 AM

I am back at work after my vacation. It is good to be back at work. I did enjoy my week off.

Pat, Amy and I spent the week in Gulf Shores at a house on the beach. The house was about twenty miles from Gulf Shores. We were surrounded by homes, but there were very few people staying in the homes.

We just slept, eat and enjoyed the beach. We only ate out twice, once for my birthday and last Friday night. The rest of the time we ate at the house. On Friday night we were joined by Pat's sister and her two children. We ate both times at Lambert's in Foley.

Gas was only 2.22 per gallon in Canton, Mississippi.

Theda said that last week was a quiet one in the city.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

3:02 PM

I performed a wedding ceremony this morning. I officiated at the wedding of Brandon Hudson and his bride Rachel. The wedding was held outside at their home.

The wedding went very well and I had a good time meeting old friends who were there for the wedding. There was quite a large crowd. They each had four attendants and the ring bearer and flower girl. Pat went with me. This was the first wedding that she had seen me perform.

Enough for now---I am on vacation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2:58 PM

This is my last day of work for the city for a few days. Pat, Amy, and I are going to take a family vacation. This is the first time in several years that we have taken a family vacation. I am looking forward to doing nothing.

We are going to Gulf Shores, Alabama. We have a condo on the beach rented for a week. We will just eat, enjoy the water, and sleep.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

9:05 AM

The Wynne City Council met last night for the regular monthly meeting. The meeting was a very short meeting. If fact one of the alderman noted that we adjourned at 7:22pm.

We had a report from VDCI. A typical report. The council passed one ordinance. The ordinance raised the amount we pay WWU for the billing and collection of our sanitation fees. The fee was raised from 35cents to 42 cents. The mosquito billing and collection remains at 5%. The council also passed two resolutions. They set the millage rate for personal and real property in the city. The amount was 5 mills, which has been the same for about twenty years.

The council also discussed adding drug testing for most of the employees who work for the city. At the present time the only employees that are tested are the employees with a CDL. There are a few employees who will not be tested because of laws that eliminate their positions. After hearing the discussion, I think that they will vote to enter into this program beginning next year. I told the council members that I did not want a decision last night. I asked them to study the plan and be prepared to make a decision next month.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2:17 PM

I talked a few minutes ago with Jeff. At the present time he said that he does not plan to make any changes. He has a few minor changes that he plans to implement after the first of the year.

I suggested that he stagger the hours the animal control officer works. My suggestions were to come in later a few days a week and work his shift. By doing this he will be able to catch some of the dogs that are released at his normal quitting time of 5 pm. He said that he though that would be a good idea. I also asked him to let the officer off a day during the week and make that time up by working some Saturdays. He agreed with this suggestion. We will be able to catch some of the dogs that take advantage of what has been his normal hours.

Monday, October 13, 2008

8:30 AM

Jerry and I went to Little Rock on Friday to pick up a filter for the commercial garbage truck. We had planned to go to Searcy and pick up our chipper. Early Friday morning the driver noticed that the light was on for the hydraulic system that said the filter was stopped up. Jerry called the supplier and mechanic and they said that they had a filter and the light indicated that it should be changed. So we made the trip and picked up the filter in Little Rock and the chipper in Searcy. A lot of driving, but necessary. I went because Jerry was short handed on Friday and I had told him that I would be able to go with him to pick up the chipper.

Late Friday afternoon I had to spend about an hour at the cemetery. A local resident was interested in two lots. She wanted them in a certain location. At that location there are not any lots. I told her that we would give her a list of the people who own those lots and she could contact them, they might sell her two lots. If that does not work out, I showed her the location of where we have lots available for sale. She chose a site and if she cannot purchase lots from people near her first choice, she plans to purchase lots from the cemetery.

Pat and I went to West Memphis for lunch on Saturday. We met Amy and the Dexter clan. We had a very good time eating and visiting with each other and the Dexters. It was good to see and visit with everyone.

After church yesterday Pat an I went to Mike and Donna's wedding. The wedding was a private ceremony held at the Catholic Church. It was attended by family members and a few close friends of Mike. After the wedding the group went to JB'S for a steak dinner. Pat and I sat with some friends of Mike from Massachusetts. Mike was the best man at their wedding thirty five years ago. They have kept up with each other through the years. We had a very good time visiting with them over lunch.

Jeff became chief on Friday at 5:00 pm. I have had a number of positive comments about my selection of him. I think that he will do an good job and I look forward to working with him in his new position.

Friday, October 10, 2008

8:20 AM

Yesterday the city held a reception for retiring police chief Mike Bachand. The drop in was held at the city hall from two to four pm.

The reception went very well and was attended by a large number of his friends and co-workers. The police department presented him with a new gun as a retirement gift.

I appreciate the work Mike has done for the City of Wynne during his nine years as chief. He has made many improvements in the police department. I am going to miss working with him. I also feel good about the new chief. Jeff Sanders will do a good job for me and the citizens of Wynne.

The city street department has completed the demolition work at Jessie Wynne Park. Martin Smith stopped by yesterday and he said that he would issue the contract next week and give the notice to proceed with the work. The work should be completed by the middle of December. I think that the citizens of Wynne will be pleased with the improvements at the park.

I visited with Jerry yesterday and he said that the new system of removing commercial garbage has been going well. Because of these changes I do not plan to ask for a rate increase in the rates charged our commercial customers.

Theda, Barbara and Carol did an excellent job in planning and hosting the reception for Mike. I told all of them that I appreciate the work that they did to have what I think was a very successful reception.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

3:48 PM

I attended the ground breaking ceremony this afternoon for the new regional airport in Colt. I was invited to a luncheon before the ceremony at Mike's. There were about forty people at the luncheon. The governor was at the luncheon. There was no program, just eat lunch and visit. I got to sit next to the governor during the luncheon. We had some good conservation during the meal. The luncheon was organized and paid for by David Dunn of the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce.

We then went to the ground breaking site which was on the post office lawn. We had an excellent crowd. Mayor McCoy from Forrest City, me from Wynne, Dr. Kerr, a staff member from Garver engineers, the governor, Mr. Hayes, a representative from the FAA in Fort Worth and a representative from the Arkansas department that works with airports all made short speeches. Governor Beebe presented a check to the DRA for $64,000.00 to be used in the construction of the airport.

We then had the official ground breaking picture. It looked like there were 30 to 40 people making pictures. The total length of the program was only 45 minutes. It went very well and the crowd was very good.

I am glad to reach this milestone in the development of the regional airport. This process began in 2002. The airport should be complete and operational in 2012 or 2013. This is a very long process, but the results will be worth the work that has been done, primarily by the DRA board. I appreciate the work that this board had put in to see this project move forward. The board is just a group of citizens who do not receive any pay but are willing to give of their time and talents to work on this project.

9:30 AM

Today is a big day for the Delta Regional Airport. There will be a ground breaking ceremony today a 1:00PM. The ceremony will be held just south of the Colt post office. That property will be the entrance to the airport when the airport is complete. Site preparation has begun on the airport property. The target date for opening of the completed airport is 2010. I hope everything stays on track. This has been a long process. But that is typical for projects when several government entities are involved.

The governor of Arkansas will be the principal speaker for the ground breaking. David Dunn, the representative from Forrest City has arranged a luncheon before the ceremony at 11:30AM for some VIP guest with the governor. I have been invited and of course I will attend.

The street crew has continued work on the demolition of Jessie Wynne Park. They did not get to work the full day yesterday. We had some employees out in the sanitation department and the street crews and Jerry had to fill in. We also had to take our chipper to Searcy to be repaired. Several small problems occurred when we started using it every day. We should have it back in full operation in a few days.

It is raining in Wynne now. It started some time in the night. The prediction is for rain most of the day. This will not make for a good day to be holding a ground breaking, but we really need some rain. This will also stop the demolition of Jessie Wynne Park until it dries up. This should not be a problem, because the actual notice to proceed has not been issued to the contractor.

The new methods of picking up commercial garbage seems to be going OK. We have encountered a few problems, but we are working through them daily.

Because of the changes that we have made, and will make the first of the year, I am not proposing a change in the garbage rates. I hope that the citizens continue to use the class three removal service at a rate that will make that service pay for the services provided. This is going to be a big change, but I think that in the long run that it will work very well.

Theda and I have started working on the budget for 2009. There are three big issues that we have to address in the new budget. We have to budget more money for fuel for all department, a three percent salary increase, and next year we will have 27 payrolls rather than the typical 26. This will cost us about an extra $50,000.00 to $60,000.00 more money in the 2009 budget. This situation occurs every so often because the city employees are paid ever two weeks and because of this we will have an extra payroll next year.

We have scheduled a reception for Mike this Thursday afternoon. We plan to hold it over a two hour period. The reception will be a drop in. This will give his friends a chance to come by and visit for a few minutes and enjoy some snack food and a drink. Friday will be his last day of work for the city. He is getting married on Sunday. I happy for him, he seems to be excited about his retirement and his new life with Donna. She is such a sweet lady. I have known her for several years. The last few years of my work at Wynne High School she was a secretary.

This Saturday Pat, Amy, and I will meet the Dexter family at West Memphis for lunch. I look forward to visiting with them again. We have done this before and we all had a very good time.

I have a wedding to perform on the 18th of this month. I do not know the people getting married, but I taught the man's father several years ago. He called and asked me to do the ceremony. He asked what I charged, I told him that it was free. We agreed that the couple could not complain about the charges.

Monday, October 6, 2008

8:25 AM

I have just announced my decision on the position of Chief of Police for the City of Wynne.

My choice is Jeff Sanders. Jeff has twenty years of law enforcement experience in law enforcement in Cross County. He has ten years with the Cross County Sheriffs office and he has ten years of service with the City of Wynne Police Department. He has held several positions in the department. I think that Jeff will be an excellent chief. I look forward to working with Jeff in his new position. His appointment is effective October 11, 2008.

Friday, October 3, 2008

3:58 PM

I have just ordered three street lights for Highway One south at the EAKUS plant. A few days ago the chamber of commerce contacted me about the need for street lights at this location. The subject had been discussed at a meeting that the chamber had had with EAKUS officials. I told the chamber, and then I contacted an EAKUS official and told them that I would be happy to order the street lights.

I contacted the Entergy representative that day and left a voice mail. He called today and we met at the location and I explained what we needed. He told me to send the form to the Entergy office requesting the lights and that he would start working on his part today. I have sent my request to Entergy. The lights should be installed in a few days. Another happy outcome.
12:52 PM

I have made a decision about who will be the new chief of police. I will announce that decision on Monday October 6, 2008. I have written all of the men who applied for the position and thanked them for their interest in the position. After reviewing the resumes that were submitted and the interviews, I am confident that I have chosen the best man to lead the Wynne Police Department.

The street department started demolition of Jessie Wynne Park this morning. I visited the site for a few minutes this morning and it brought back memories of going to church on that site. When I moved to Wynne in June of 1968 that was the location of Wynne Baptist Church. I have good memories of attending church at that location. Not long after I moved to Wynne the Wynne Baptist Church started the process of moving to a new location in a new building. I still attend the Wynne Baptist Church. There have been several additions and several remodeling projects over the years.

After reviewing the cost of garbage and the changes that have been implemented, I think that we will be able to operate the commercial and residential pickups and not have to increase the cost. This is made possible by the council members choosing to operate the class three removal on a pay as used system and not charging ever household for that service. The savings are possible on the commercial side because we have eliminated the use of the fork truck. We have assigned the driver of that truck to the chipper. The city now chips limbs rather than taking them to the landfill. This change will also reduce the cost to the residents for this removal service.

This morning Joe with the local newspaper called and asked me for a favor. He asked me to proclaim October 4, 2008 as Jenna Cronin Day in Wynne. Jenna is his girlfriend. I told him that I would be happy to do that for him. He picked up the proclamation this morning. He said that Jenna would be proud of that proclamation. I was glad to do that for Joe. He is a very good guy and is doing a good job for the local newspaper, even though he is an LSU fan.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2:55 PM

I have heard from nine of the ten city council members about the class three trash situation in Wynne. A majority of the council have indicated to me that they want to go to a pay as you use class three trash service.

Starting in January 2009 the city will only pick up class three trash that has been paid for in advance. The citizen will contact the city and request a pickup. A sanitation department employee will visit the residence and measure the pile and present the citizen with bill for removal. The citizen will then pay the sanitation department for the removal. Once the bill has been paid the driver of the knuckleboom truck will be given the order to remove the trash. If the citizens want to deliver their trash to the city shop we will accept it at that location, but they must pay the sanitation department before they will be granted access to our property. This will mean more work for some of our employees, but only the people who use the service will be paying. Because of this decision our sanitation fees will remain at $15.00 per month per household. I know that this is a big change, but I think that the system will work fine once the bugs are worked out. I personally favor this system. Only the people who need the service will have to pay.

I have interviewed two potential men for the position of Chief of Police. I plan to interview one more person and then make a decision. I expect to have a new police chief named by the end of next week.

Jerry and I met this morning with the architect, contractor, and downtown committee at the Jessie Wynne Park. The city is going to do some of the demolition work for the new park. We met to make sure that all parties understood their role in this project. The city crews have begun their part of the demolition. I think that the citizens will be proud of the improvements that are going to become a part of downtown Wynne.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2:00 PM

I received a resume from eight people, before the deadline, who are interested in the Chief of Police position. I have reviewed the eight and I have chosen to interview three of the candidates. I should be able to offer the position to one of these applicants within a few days.

I have one interview scheduled for this afternoon. I have not contacted one of the three and I have left a phone message for the other person.

People can make a resume look good and can do an excellent job on the interview but not perform an acceptable job if given the chance. I hope that I choose the person who will do the best job for me and the city.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3:33 PM

I have heard from eight city council members about the class three trash solution. There are five on one side, two on another side, one that is still making up his mind and I have not heard from two. I called the two that I have not heard from this morning. One of them has and answering machine and I left a message for him to call me. He has not called as of now.

Today was the first day that the sanitation department operated without using the fork truck. The fork truck operator has been chipping limbs today. We plan to keep up with the cost of chipping and determine what the cost are to chip limbs. I think that it will be cheaper than picking them up and going to the landfill, but that is not based on any numbers. After a few weeks of operation I should have the necessary information to get the cost of chipping.

I plan to complete the budget for 2009 next week. Theda will then have two weeks to prepare the copies for the budget committee. I plan to meet with the budget committee during the last week in October. I will be on vacation the third week in October. She will have plenty of time to make the copies for the council.

I do not plan to make the revised budget for 2008 until November. We have a few large items that have to be placed in the budget for this year. The three largest are the Killough Street project, the new trash cans for the residents, and the building of the new dog pound. The council has already approved all of these, but they have not been actually placed in the budget. The other big item we will have to adjust is the fuel cost for all departments. There are a few other lines that will have to be revised, but most of them are minor.

Monday, September 29, 2008

9:53 AM

Amy and I went to the NHRA drag races in Memphis yesterday. She and I enjoyed the races, but is was hot. The races went about as fast as could be expected. There were very few delays because of oil or other problems with the track.

Amy was pulling for Ashley Force. She had a good day and went to the finals, but lost to Tim Wilkerson. In fact Tim beat John, Robert and then Ashley. He is having a very good year.

We arrived at the race track about 10:30 AM. We walked around for a few minutes before the races started. We decided to eat a bite before the races started at 11:00. We ordered a corn dog and a soft drink. The clerk said $20.00 please. Amy and I were both shocked, but that is typical for an event like that.

We stopped on the way home at Corky's for dinner. I pulled in the turn lane, and Amy said where are you going. I said that I was going to eat. She said that would be fine with her. We were both hungry and the food was excellent.

I enjoy going to the drag races, but I could not go to everyone. It is tough on an old man to spend that much time in the hot sun. But I do enjoy it once a year.

Amy and I both agreed that once a year is enough for us. We both a looking forward to going to Gulf Shores in October. I think that a week off will be good for Pat, Amy and me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

3:57 PM

I attended a Workforce CEO meeting on Monday of this week in Forrest City. One of the members of the board is the Lee County Judge. He is a Mississippi State graduate and from time to time we discuss athletics at Miss. State. I arrived a few minutes early and so did the judge. I asked him what was wrong with our football team. He said nothing. He said his team was now USC and that they were number one in the nation.

Last night USC played Oregon and they were a 24 point favorite going into the game. They lost the game 27 to 21. I called the judge today and offered my sympathy for his teams lost. He said he appreciated my call and that he was not a very good judge of college football. We had a good laugh.

I have just returned from the sanitation department. Jerry and his crew have just about solved all of the details to eliminate the use of the fork truck. I will now have to re figure the cost of commercial and residential garbage to get the cost of each. I need to know this so I can continue my budget preparations for 2009.

I have heard from five of the ten council members about the class three garbage solution. I expect to hear from the rest by the middle of next week. I at least hope that I hear from them. If I do not hear from them, I will give them a call. I must have their input before I can make the sanitation budget for 2009.

I am looking forward to Sunday and the drag races in Memphis. The weather is predicted to be in the middle 80's for Sunday with no rain. I hope that the forecast is correct. I look forward to spending the day at the races with Amy.

I ordered a portable building this morning for use at the city dog pound. We must have a place to store equipment and food used by the animal control officer. It will be a few days before the building in in Wynne. The company has to make the building and deliver it to Caldwell Lumber Company. They will deliver and set up the building on our property once the building has arrived in Wynne.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

1:15 PM

I talked with Amy last night. We are going to go to the drag races in Memphis on Sunday. She with with me last year and really enjoyed the show. I am glad that the race falls on the weekend that she is off.

I have been talking with Jerry for several weeks about the use of the fork truck. A couple of years ago we started the process of eliminating the use of that truck. We even had a consultant work with us to eliminate that truck. In the end we took some of the work off of the truck, but did not eliminate it completely. A couple of weeks ago I told Jerry that I wanted him to eliminate the use of that truck before January 1, 2009. One of the sad factors is what to do with the driver of that truck. I think that I have developed a plan that will allow us to keep him as an employee and eliminate the use of the fork truck.

Jerry has started the elimination of the use of the fork truck. He thinks that he will have the plan implemented in about two or three weeks. This move will make our residential truck have to remove more trash than they now remove, but there is still time during an eight hour shift to complete the work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10:10 AM

I have had a response from only three city council members about how they want to handle the garbage situation in Wynne.

I have met with all of the council members in small groups and explained the options. I asked them at the September city council meeting to contact me with their decision. I told them that I needed the information, because I have to prepare a budget for 2009.

I have, Theda and I, started the process and we must have that information to complete the process. I wrote the alderman who have not responded this morning asking for their decision. I hope that they contact me with their decision soon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

11:30 AM

I have only heard from one city council member about the class three garbage situation. If I do not hear from them over the next two weeks, I will contact them. I need their input as I make a budget for 2009.

Carol has been keeping up with the amount of class three trash the the city picks up and the amount of trash that the citizens carry to the open top containers at the city shop. She complied the information for the first eight days that we started picking up the trash again. She has also complied the information for the next eleven days. Based on that information it cost the city about $25.00 per yard to pick up the class three trash and about $10.00 per yard to dispose of the trash that is delivered to the city shop.

I have been working on a plan to eliminate the need for the fork truck to be used in the commercial side of the garbage business. My plan is to eliminate this truck before the first of next year. I have devised a plan, that I think will allow us to use the driver of that truck on the residential side of the business. If it all works out the cost to the commercial customers and the residential customers might be reduced a small amount. If we are not able to reduce the cost, I think the the system will operate better that it is now operated.

Pat and I spent the day, or most of it, on the road yesterday. Marsha's grandmother died Thursday night. The funeral was yesterday in northwest Alabama, Pat and I attended the funeral. We were gone a little over ten hours and about eight of the ten were spent driving. We needed to go, because her grandmother was the one who had raised her. It was good to see family members, but it was a sad occasion. She was 93. She had her birthday one day before she died.

Jerry is on his way to get the street sweeper in Memphis. That they have the truck repaired, I hope that is works OK.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday September 18, 2008
10:30 AM

I have resigned from the Wynne Rotary Club. I actually resigned last week. I mailed the president a letter and the letter was read at the meeting yesterday. I will miss not going to lunch each Wednesday and hearing the variety of programs presented to the club. I will also miss visiting with the members of the club. The club does a number of important projects in Wynne. I could have continued to be a member and continued going to the meetings, but I felt like that I should be an active member or not be a member. The club has a number of members who only eat then leave. They also have a number of members who eat stay for the program, but never participate in any of the club functions That is not the kind of member I wanted to be, so I chose to resign my membership.

Yesterday the street sweeper had to be towed to the dealer for repairs. The reginning part of the engine was shutting down the engine. We have had that problem with the garbage trucks, but this is the first time we have had that problem with the sweeper. I think that they have finally fixed the garbage trucks.

There is still a lot of limbs placed on the streets from the storm damage last weekend. The sanitation and street departments are continuing to pick them up.

I have two meetings to attend today. The chamber of commerce meets today at noon in Cherry Valley and the CCEDC meets this afternoon at the tech center here in Wynne. I had to miss last months meetings, I was on my way to Eureka Springs for the Arkansas Municipal League summer planning meeting.

There will be a ground breaking ceremony for the new regional airport on October 7th. I will be attending and probable making a few brief remarks. It seems that this process has been going on for a long time. Dr. Kerr called me yesterday and told me that the governor had accepted an invitation to attend the ceremony and he will be making a brief speech. I am thankful for the time the appointed board members have given to this project. It has taken a lot of their time to see this project get to this point. I think that we will be pleased with the result of all the work that has gone in to getting a regional airport for Wynne and Forrest City.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

8:15 AM

I now have what I think are the final numbers for garbage cost in Wynne. I am waiting to hear from the council member about how they want to proceed.

I attended the bid opening for the Jessie Wynne Park project yesterday. BSI, a local Wynne company, was the apparent low bidder. I told Martin that as soon as he gives to OK the city crews will remove the bricks and sidewalks, so the contractor can proceed with the new construction. Once the notice to proceed is given the contractor has 60 days to complete the work. Fred Turner, one of the owners of BSI, said that he though that they would have no problem completing the job on time. The major factor is the weather.

The street crews are still picking up limbs from the storm over the weekend. There are still a number of piles around Wynne.

Yesterday after work I stopped by the new location for Hays Food Town. Bill Etheridge, a Hays employee, gave me the grand tour. I was impressed with the new store. It will be a state of the art grocery store. Mike King stopped by later and he is excited about the new store. He and Bill said that the target date to open is the middle of October, and everything seems to be on tract to make that date.

Monday, September 15, 2008

8:45 AM

I had to take my avalanche to Mississippi State on Saturday. I loaded up Oscar in the camaro and started to leave on Saturday. (I did not take Oscar with me. I took him to a kennel while I was gone. Pat picked him up Sunday afternoon.) I noticed that on the dash the check gages was on. I scanned the gages and noticed that the alternator was not charging. So I turned around an changed to the avalanche and went to Mississippi State.

After I got to state I called David. He was there and we had planned to meet and visit before the game. He did not answer his phone. I spent over and hour in the area where he and his friends were tailgating. I could not locate them. I went to the student union and got snack and cool off before the game. Sometime during that time, I later noticed that he had tried to call me and I had missed his call.

I went to a football game and a baseball score broke out. The game was a defensive battle. The final score was Auburn 3 and Mississippi State 2. There was very little offense. The game was in doubt until about one minute to go. Over all it was and exciting game and the crowd was very good.

The most common gas price between her and state was $4.59 per gallon. I got home about 3:15 AM on Sunday morning.

Pat came home yesterday. She said that she and the girls had an excellent time together. They plan to get together again and visit. They will probable meet in Columbus and tour the old homes for their next get together.

Oscar was glad to be home and have Pat there. He did his business in the backyard for Pat. He drank quite a bit of water and ate like he does most of the time. I think that he missed Pat. In fact, I know he missed Pat.

Friday, September 12, 2008

2:50 PM

Gas prices have gone up quite a bit since yesterday. At the present time gas prices range from 3.79 to 4.09 per gallon at the stations in Wynne. I have been by Murphy at Walmart several times today and the cars are lined up three deep at every pump. It appears that they are rising because of the storm Ike that is probably going to hit the Texas coast sometime later today or early tomorrow.

I picked up my T-top for my camaro today. I installed it at lunch. I checked my gas in the camaro and I have a full tank. I will have to purchase some gas before I get home late tomorrow night or Sunday morning. The camaro gets good gas mileage, but it will not go to Mississippi State and back on a tank. I hope that I do not have any trouble buying gas on my trip. I do not need to be stuck somewhere in Mississippi out of gas. I did some simple math, and if I get the mileage that I normally get on a trip, the trip to State tomorrow will cost me $70.00 for gas to make the trip.

I invited Mike to meet me at the game tomorrow night. He said that he would think about it an call back. He called back in a few minutes and said that he was not going to go because that would make his bedtime too late.

David called last night. He and Sandra will be at Mississippi State tomorrow. They have some activities with Jennifer. He said that they planned to go to the game if they could buy tickets. He said that at least they were going to tailgate with Harold for a couple of hours before the game. He invited me to join them for tailgating. I told him that I would.

Oscar has missed Pat. He will not leave the patio to do his business. Last night and again this morning, I had to take him around the block. At least he did his business on our walk.

Yesterday Theda told me that she had a call about some lots at the cemetery. There were some questions about some lots from a family member. I ask her to make me a map and told her that I would check it out before she called the family back. She prepared a map and when she gave it to me she said that the records indicated that there were 16 burial plots next to the plots in question that had an X through them. An X usually means that lots cannot be used. Sometime there will be a note explaining not to use the plots. I went to the cemetery and the plots in question were OK. The family had purchased 8 burial plots and used 2. That was what I found on the plots in question. I then checked on the lots that had an x on them and they are full. I have no idea what is going on. I told Theda to make a note for us to check out these lots and see if we can find out what is going on.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2:45 PM

I have spent yesterday and today working on cost of garbage.

After completing the work here are the results: If the city chooses to make the knuckleboom truck a pay for use service the residential rates can probably remain at $15.00 per month. If the city chooses to continue the services that are now provided by the sanitation department the residential rates will have to be increased by 20%. The commercial rates will have to be increased by 8.4%. If the city makes the class three garbage a pay for service system the commercial rates will have to be increased by 8.4%%. These numbers are based on what the city has spent the first eight months of this year and giving the employees a 3% raise and the increased cost of natural gas. We have been notified by Centerpoint to expect a 45% increase in the cost of natural gas next year. The above mentioned figures include this increase and the salary increase for the employees. I have no idea of how the city council will decide on what to do about the services. I felt that I had to have the numbers on the cost to the city to provide these services.

Pat has gone to Iuka to spent the next four days with some of her friends. It will be me and Oscar and Bitty for the next four days. I do plan to go to Mississippi State for the football game on Saturday night. It will be a long day, but I look forward to college football in person.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008



The Wynne City Council met last night. The meeting lasted about two hours. The item that took the most time was and ordinance proposed by the Wynne Water Utilities. It took over one hour to read the ordinance. The ordinance is 22 1/2 pages single spaced. The council did suspend the rules and it only had to be read one time.

I met at 6:00 PM with a group of council member and explained the cost of providing solid waste services. We had to stop the meeting at 7:00 PM to attend the council meeting. I told them in the committee meeting and again in the council meeting that I did not want a decision last night. I want them to consider the options and notify me of their decision before October 1, 2008. I told them that I need to know of their decision so I can prepare a budget for 2009.

There seems to be three options to deal with the problem of a shortage of money. One option is to raise the rates for all citizens and continue the service as we have operated in the past. Another option is to have a pay as you use system. A citizen would call the sanitation department when they have class three trash and we would charge them the cost of picking up the trash that they have. If you do not have class three trash, you would not have to pay. The other option that has been discussed is to stop picking up the class three trash and have a pay for use bin at the city shop. There are good points and bad points to all of the options. I do not have an idea of what the council will agree to based on the committee meetings and the discussion during the council meeting last night.

The council agreed last night to allow the regional airport to use the Wynne Airport as security for a loan to allow them to move forward with the regional airport. The money will be paid to the bank for the loan from grant funds that will be received by the airport. They simply need some money to operate on until the grant funds are received. The airport is paid for with a 95% funding from the federal government and 5% funding from the state government. The problem is that the state does not release the funds until the work has been completed and paid for. This loan will allow them to move forward.

I placed a memo in the city council packet last night requesting input from the members about the 2009 budget. I ask them to please submit their request to me before October so I can prepare a budget.

The council also made John Brown Road and St. Peters Avenue a truck route last night. I am concerned about the damage that the large trucks will cause to these streets.

I checked on my T-top for my camaro on Monday and Larry said that he would have it ready yesterday, but he did not call. I told him that I needed it before this weekend, because I plan to go to the Mississippi State football game in Starkville on Saturday. He assured me that he would have it ready. I need to drive the camaro rather than the avalanche because of the better gas mileage.

Monday, September 8, 2008

9:55 AM

I look forward to the city council meeting tomorrow night. I am eager to learn what solution the alderman have for the garbage situation. I have a meeting scheduled with the budget committee and four other alderman before the council meeting. I will present them with the cost to continue the service that is now provided. If they choose that option, the rates will have to be increased.

There is an option to scale back the service and not have to increase the residential rates. That solution would stop the city from picking up any class three or four garbage. The city would provide, at the city shop, a container for citizens to place their trash for a fee. We could offer that option and only the citizens who have that type of garbage would have to pay. The way the system is now operated all citizens pay a monthly fee for this service. There are a number of citizens who never use the system, and there are a number of citizens who have trash out each week. One of the complaints the aldermen received during our shut down was that people were willing to pay for the service. If we go to this system, we can find out how many are willing to pay.

Last week I went to the doctor for my yearly check up. I got a good report. In fact the doctor took me off one of the medicine that I have been taking for a number of years. This good news is related to my taking my medicine without fail and staying on my diet. I do not like the diet, but I do not like what could happen if I eat some of the foods that I now do not eat, or eat in very small amounts.

Pat and I visited the Jacksons yesterday. We had been invited to a birthday party for Sol. I will be on my way to Mississippi State and Pat will be on vacation in Iuka next Saturday when the party is scheduled. Sol seemed to enjoy the gift that we had taken to him. The gift was a talking book. You can never start reading to children too early.

We talked to Amy several time over the weekend. She had to work this weekend and she said that they were busy. That makes the time go faster, when they have work to be completed.

I have started to take applications for the job of Chief of Police. I will accept applications from now until October the 1st. I placed an ad in the local paper this morning. The ad will run for two weeks. I hope that I receive a number of quality applications. I am in no rush to make a decision. I have discussed the position with an individual and he has informed me that he is willing to be the chief on a temporary basis until I make a decision.

The new animal control officer started to work this morning. I hope that he is pleased with his new job and that he does a good job for the citizens of Wynne. He is following a very good officer and he will be judged against Rick, who did an excellent job.

I did a little more painting on the outside of our house this weekend. If fact I used all of the paint that I had on hand. I purchased some more paint this morning. I plan to continue painting until I complete the job, but I am in no rush. I plan to work on the painting in small time frames until I complete the job.

We had a candidate at church this weekend to be our music minister. We voted last night to approve the recommendation of the committee. He received a 95% approval vote. I am excited about having a music minister on staff full time. David Dowd has done an excellent job filling in on a temporary basis, but David has a full time job as well as doing a lot of volunteer work in the city and county.

Our new music minister is married to a lady who grew up in northwest Alabama. I told her that I grew up only 40 miles from her home town. She is friends with a couple from Iuka that I have known for several years

Friday, September 5, 2008

8:15 AM

Yesterday was a very interesting day in the cemetery business. On Wednesday of this week Theda told me that we had a burial in the cemetery some time in the next few days. The family planned to meet with the funeral director on Thursday. She informed me that she was having trouble locating the lot for the deceased. She had called the funeral home and asked them to have the family contact her about the lot.

Later in the day she told me that she had talked with a member of the family and she thought that she had cleared up the problem. The family planned to visit her on Thursday to make sure that everything was ok. She prepared a map for me to mark the grave.

The family came in and after discussions Theda was confident with the information she had. She did say that the family had told her that the markers in that area of the cemetery did not line up.

I always go to the cemetery as soon as I know the location of the grave plot to make sure that there are no problems. I went to the cemetery to check out lot. I discovered that there was probably not enough room for the grave between the existing graves, that had already been used, and the space left. I reported that to Theda and we discussed our options.

I called Jerry and asked him to meet me at the cemetery and bring a probe. Jerry probed the location and my greatest fear was realized. There was not enough room for another grave in the spot.

I came back to the office and ask Theda to call the funeral home and get a phone number to reach the family. She was on the phone when a member of the family came in the office to pay for the opening and closing. Theda and I explained the problem to the family member. We informed the family member that we could not have a grave in the location that had been purchased. We offered the another plot that was close to the other lots that the family had purchased. The family member was very understanding and said that she was pleased with our solution. This pleased me. In fact we had no choice. There was not enough room in the purchased lot to place a vault.

I had called Lynn and asked him to meet me at the cemetery. I asked him to be a backup for me to mark graves when I was not able to handle the marking. He agreed that he would be happy to be a back up for me marking graves. I explained to him the problem that we had with this particular grave and I wanted him to work with me until he feels comfortable marking graves. I told him that most of the time everything goes smooth with no problems, but there have been occasions when there are problems. He said that he understood and would be happy to assist me. I am glad that he is willing to help me out.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

9:35 AM

Mike Bachand submitted his letter of retirement to me a few minutes ago. His last day as Wynne Police Chief will be October 11, 2008.

I appreciate the job he has done for me and the citizens of Wynne during the last nine years he has served as chief. The department has gone through a number of changes during the last nine years. Mike has made a number of improvements in the department. I will always be grateful for his service to the City of Wynne.
7:45 AM

The city council solid waste committee met last night for about an hour and fifteen minutes. I presented the committee with the cost of operation of the trash system for the city. I broke down the cost of each service. Those include the commercial, the residential, and the operation of the knuckleboom truck.

The city council in July voted to cut the service provided by the knuckleboom truck and the containers placed at the city shop. The council members said that they had received a number of comments from the residents and at the August meeting the council voted to start back the service. They stated in the meeting that they wanted to pay for the service with general tax funds that have not been budgeted for other operations of the city.

The sanitation department has resumed the service, and there is a lot of trash being placed on the street.

I presented the committee with the figures for the first 6 months of 2008 to operate the garbage system. Based on those figures we will spend about $112,000.00 more than we receive from the fees that the city receives from the commercial and residential customers.

I also presented the committee with a proposed budget for 2009. I took the cost from the first six months of 2008 and doubled them. I then added a 3% raise for the employees. I also added the cost of a new knuckleboom truck. I added the truck, because over the last several years we have been trading trucks in the sanitation department every four years. Using that as a guide, next year is the time to replace the knuckleboom truck.

My observations from the meeting last night is that the committee wants to continue the same service in the sanitation department that we have been providing for the past several years. The problem is that they cannot decide how to pay for the continuation of the service. Based on the 2009 budget that I presented, the residential rates would have to be increased by 33% to break even. The commercial rates would have to be increased 6.9% for that service to continue at the same level. The committee seemed to indicate that they did not want to purchase a new truck. If they chose to implement the same services that are now provided with out a new knuckleboom truck the rates for residential will have to be increased about 28 or 29 percent. The 33 and 28 or 29 percent rate increase are assuming that the cost remain the same as they were during the first 6 months of 2008. I doubt that they will remain the same.

The committee discussed the possibility of going to a pay as you use service for the knucleboom truck. There are a number of residents who never use the service and there are a large number that only use it once or twice a year. If the service was operated on a pay for use, the residential rates would not have to be increased. The committee said that they would continue to work on that option for next year.

I plan to meet next week with the rest of the city council members before the city council meeting. I plan to present the same information to them that I presented last night to the solid waste committee.

I told them that I need to know what their decision is soon, because I need to start preparing the 2009 city budget. I told them that I would be happy with any decision that they agree on, but I need to know that now so that I can plan for next year.

I plan to have a discussion at the September meeting of the council to hopefully reach a final decision.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

10:30 AM

I feel better than I did last week, but I am still not 100%.

Sunday Pat and I picked up Amy and went to Tupelo. We met the rest of here family at the Olive Garden. We had a very good meal. We then went to the house where her mother was a patient. We toured around the facility and found the brick that the children had purchased in memory of their mother. We also found the small engraving of their mother's name. They place a small engraving of all the patients who have used the services of the home. I was impressed with the facility.

It was good to spend some time with Amy. We probably do not spend enough time with her. I carried her fire hydrant to her. She seemed to accept it with joy. I told her that it would be a reminder of her accident a few weeks ago.

I started painting the outside of our home yesterday. I plan to work on completing the job over the next several weeks. I am in no rush to complete the job.

The police department had to deal with a couple of incidents over the long week end. I appreciate the job the police do for the citizens of Wynne. I am also proud of the work that the other departments also do for the citizens of Wynne. Some of the residents appreciate the job the city employees do, and some can never be pleased with the operation of city government.

I have a meeting scheduled today with the sanitation committee of the city council. I plan to present them with the cost of operating the sanitation department. I am going to ask them what services that they want the city to provide and are they willing to ask for rate increases if what they choose does not fall in the money that is now available to operate the service provided. I plan to meet with the rest of the council member next Tuesday before the council meeting to present the information to them.

I need a decision from the council, because during the month of October, I will prepare my budget for the city for 2009.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

4:10 PM

I have spent the entire day working on the cost of garbage for the City of Wynne. I now have all the information that I had to have to complete the study. The study I completed covered the cost of garbage in Wynne for the first six months of 2008. I broke down all of the cost associated with trash. I now have the exact cost of residential, knuckleboom operation, and commercial garbage. I also have exact money the residential brings in and the exact money that commercial brings in.

I also took the information from the above study and projected the cost to operate the trash system for 2009. It is not cheap to collect and dispose of trash.

I have called a meeting of the solid waste committee for next Tuesday evening. I plan to present them with the results of my study. The entire council will have to make a decision about garbage before next year. I am going to try to get them to make that decision before October 1st of this year. I will start preparing a budget for next year on October 1st of this year. I must present my budget to the council during November. I always present it to the council during the November meeting. They have a month to go over the budget and get any questions answered before the December meeting. They adopt the budget during the December meeting.

I have felt bad today. I left work about 2:30 PM yesterday and went home and went to bed. I stayed in bed until this morning. I felt much better this morning, but I am now feeling worse than I did this morning. I wanted to finish my garbage study today. I am glad that it is now complete.

The state auditor is here. She said that she would be here until sometime in November. This is the first time this auditor has been in Wynne. She told me that she has been working for the state about one year. She lives in the Hickory Ridge area. She said that this would be the shortest drive she will ever have to do audits for the state. She seems like a very nice young lady. This afternoon she told me that it was really quite in the office we provide for her to complete her audit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

12:45 PM

I have been working on the cost of garbage this morning. Theda is out today. She is attending a funeral.

I plan to have the total cost of each type of garbage for the city by the end of the week. I have a few more cost to calculate before I can have a complete cost of trash. Carol is working on some information for me now. When she completes her work, I will be able to have a firm price for each type of trash that the city handles. I have a meeting scheduled with the city council solid waste committee on 9-2-08. I need their input as well as the other council members about the price of garbage. We must decide on the service that the city will provide, and then I have to prepare a budget for 2009. I always prepare a budget during the month of October and present it to the council during the November meeting. The meeting next week will be interesting. I look forward to what services the committee recommends and if they are willing to increase the rates to pay for the service. I feel that the fee we collect should pay for the service that is provided.

We have completed the sealing process for this summer. We spent a little over $98,000.00 on the sealing work. Jerry calculated the cost to have applied an overlay to the streets that were sealed. He used a very low cost, I think that it was too low, and came up with a cost of about $550,000.00 to have overlaid the same streets as opposed to chip and seal.

Tri State came to Wynne yesterday and worked on the residential garbage truck. As of now it is working fine.

The street crew is working on the dog pound today. They are applying material to the concrete to seal it. They should complete the work today or tomorrow.

Mike told me yesterday that he had hired a new animal control officer. He will begin work when he completes his two week notice with his present employer. Since the passing of Rick I have noticed several loose dogs as I travel around Wynne.

I did not forget my dentist appointment today. I went this morning and had my routine cleaning and checkup. Everything was fine.