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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

8:45 AM

I attended the Arkansas Municipal League annual planning meeting last Thursday and Friday in Eureka Springs. I went because I am a member of the executive committee of the league. Every thing that the league does goes through the executive committee. I have enjoyed by time on the committee. Some times the subject is boring, but I have a different prospective about city government because I serve on this committee. I have also made some friends because of my serving on this committee. This has been beneficial to me, because in the committee and during the time when we meet we get to discuss problems and solutions to problems that we face as city officials.

The meeting on Friday lasted longer than normal. We did not complete our work until 2:30 to 2:45. The main purpose of the meeting is to make plans for the next year of the league. Next year will be busy because the legislature will meet and the cites have a number of issues that will be addressed during the session. The league and the legislature have a good working relationship. There are a number of former city officials who help the league with our programs that benefit the cities and towns of Arkansas. The members of the general assembly who are not former city officials are also very helpful to the cities throughout the year and during the session.

On Thursday night the league provided us with a dinner. We chose from several eating establishments and went with a league staff member to eat. The group I went with was headed up by Ken Wasson. We ate at Sparky's. Everyone in our group enjoyed the food and we had a very good fellowship during the meal. After the meal all of the group was invited to go to a music shop or on a ghost tour. I chose to go to the music show. The crowd was small but the cast put on a very good show.

I went to Eureka through Searcy and Harrision and came back on 412 which goes through a number of cities. The drive coming back is a little bit longer, but I enjoyed taking a different route. I got home about 8:30PM. I did make several pit stops for the bathroom and coffee breaks. I also stopped in Jonesboro for my evening meal.

While I was out of town we had someone set a cat on fire. We made national news and a reward of more than $3,000.00 has been put up for the convection of the people responsible for the burning of the cat. The police are still working on solving the case.

I visited with Jerry this morning. We are still having problem with the garbage trucks. I will be glad and I know that Jerry will be pleased, when the problems are corrected.

I have just talked with Mike. Last week he hired a person to work as a patrol officer and hired another person to be the animal control officer. They should begin work two weeks from today. They both needed to give a notice to their present employers. I appreciate them wanting to give a notice. I expect our employees to give notice when they chose to leave the city. It is just good business to give a notice.

Pat, Amy, and I will be going to Tupelo next Sunday. We will meet with other members of her family and have lunch. We will then go to the care facility where her mother passed away one year ago. It is part of the healing process for members of the family who cared for her the last few days of her life.

I will be making that trip, plus a few more miles several times over the next few months. Football season begins and I will be watching my bulldogs at the home games again this year. I enjoy going to Mississippi State and attending the football games. It is a long trip, but it is a good diversion for me to get away for a short time from the duties as Mayor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

10:30 AM

I just got a call from the dentist office. I had a 10:00 AM appointment and I completely forgot to go. The dentist office called yesterday to remind me and I remembered having the appointment but this morning I got busy and totally forgot to go. The rescheduled it for Tuesday the 26th. at 10:40 AM.

The contractor completed the sealing work last evening. I am glad because it started raining some time in the night and is still raining. That type of work cannot be completed if there is any moisture. Randy is sweeping up the excess rock from the streets now. The rain helps that process because there is no dust.

Tri State brought the commercial truck back yesterday afternoon. I talked with Mark this morning and so far so good. Everything is working. He also said that the rain concerned him because in the past it seems that the water affects the operation of the truck.

The past two days I have been working on my study of the cost of garbage. I have almost finished the work. I only have a few small items to be able to complete the study. I could not have done this study without the help of Theda and Carol. They provided me with a great deal of information that I had to have to complete the study. I was surprised by the results of the study. The bottom line is that the removal and disposal of garbage is expensive. I do not see the cost going down in the future. I only see increased cost of this service.

I talked with Amy a few minutes this morning. It looks like that we will be able to take a vacation the week of October 20-24. I look forward to spending time with Amy and Pat and be away from the business of the city.

I received my season tickets for Mississippi State football games yesterday. The package is for six games. I will probably attend four or five games. I look forward to going back to Starkville and watching the games and the fans.

I will be going to Eureka Springs tomorrow for the annual Arkansas Municipal League planning meeting. I will enjoy the meetings and the visiting with my friends from around the state, but it is a very difficult drive to Eureka Springs. But it is worth the drive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

8:20 AM

The sealing process seems to be going well. They hope to complete the work today. There is a chance that rain will change the schedule. Jerry said that they worked late last night. He said that he went home about 9 pm.

The commercial truck is now operating again. It stopped yesterday. Tri State sent a mechanic from Jonesboro, but he could not get it running. They called a wrecker and carried the truck to Jonesboro. Jerry has talked to the manager in Jonesboro and the owner in Memphis. He said that they gave the company line. They were doing all they could to solve the problem. I hope that they can solve the problem soon. It has been a frustrating situation for our employees to deal with a new truck that will not operate. The problem is with the exhaust system. All engines that are put in service, beginning some time last year, have to have a new type of system to deal with the exhaust. It seems to be a problem will all companies not just Mack.

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on the cost of garbage in Wynne. It is interesting to look at the cost of each type of trash and the money we take in from the customers to pay for the removal of the trash. I am doing this because we will not take in enough money this year to pay for the service we now provide. The city council at the August meeting instructed me to operate the system as we have in the past and use general funds to pay the cost above the amount we collect. The city will have to make a decision about how to pay for the service next year and the amount that the customer will pay.

Theda was off most of yesterday and all day today. Her brother in law passed away early Saturday morning and the funeral is this afternoon.

Pat and I talked with Amy last night. She told Pat that she would like to go with us for a vacation in October. We are looking at the latter part of October. This will be the first time we have taken a vacation together in several years. I look forward to the vacation and spending time with Pat and Amy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

9:30 AM

The sealing crew started working this morning. I went out and watched them get started. Once they got started the process goes very fast. This is not as good as an overlay, but it is much cheaper and will extend the life of the streets.

Charlie was here on Saturday. He installed the new controls and control box for the signal light at 64 and 1. Jerry had picked the box up in Alabama on Friday.

The city has made some changes as a result of our meeting with the U S Dept. of Labor on Friday. Starting now no employee is to be on city property more than five minutes before work time and they are to be off the property five minutes after they clock out. They are not to be on city property at any other time. I do not like this, but the labor department said that if they are on the property and mention anything about their job, we have to pay them for their time. I have chosen not to take that chance. I have instructed the department heads to inform the employees not to be on the property unless they are clocked in.

I also found out that we cannot assume that the time clock is correct. We must check behind the employees and we must also check the math of the person adding up the hours recorded on the time clock.

I do not like this. I have always been a person who arrived at work early. This was kind of my down time. I never thought that I should be paid if I happened to mention something related to work. Rules are rules and the city will follow them as best we can.

I will go to Eureka Springs later in the week. This is the annual planning meeting for the Arkansas Municipal League. I am a member of the executive committee and thus a part of the planning process for the next year. I look forward to seeing my old friends and making new friends.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday August 15, 2008
2:10 PM

Today has been an interesting day so far.

I had a meeting with the US Dept. of Labor this morning. It was a good meeting and I gained a lot of information that will aid me as I operate the City of Wynne. We have a potential problem, but after the meeting I understand better the rules of employment and the relationship between the city and our employees. We have made some changes in some of the departments and after the meeting there are now some regulations that have been implemented in all departments.

A few minutes after the above meeting Amy called. She had an accident in one of the funeral home vehicle. She had hid a fire hydrant and knocked it down. The damaged to the vehicle was a rim and tire. She said that it was serious, but it was also funny. I am glad that the damage was not too great.

It was good to hear from her, even though the news was not good. She called and talked to her mother last night. She received her Arkansas licence yesterday. She has been legal since she went to work, but is good that she now has passed the Arkansas Law test and has her license.
I am proud of her and her new profession. The only thing now is for her to continue working and doing the great job she does. I do hope that she gets an increase in salary now that she has her Arkansas license.

I talked to Jerry about 1:30 PM today. He was on his way back and almost to Corinth. He said that he had not had any problems. Charlie is to be in Wynne tomorrow and install the traffic signal control and box.

I have had several comments about the class three and four trash. All of the people who have talked to me are pleased that the service will resume on Monday of next week. I am glad that we have started the service again, but the council will have to deal with paying for this service in next years budget. I am in the process of doing a detailed study of garbage cost. When the study is complete I should be able to project and accurate cost for all types of trash that the city collects.

Pat and I visited the Barkley family last night and later Pat carried some paper goods for the family to use during this time. There will be several people in the home over the next few days and the paper goods will make cleanup much easier. I never realized this fact until daddy died and a number of people were eating at the home. There is a memorial service for Mrs. Barkley tomorrow at 11:00 AM. Her body has been sent out of state for burial.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

11:00 AM

The garbage truck problems continue. Yesterday Jerry carried both of the trucks to the Mack dealer in Jonesboro. The bottom line is that nothing was done.

Jerry started the process of sealing the dog pound this morning. He said that it went well. There are three different applications of product to complete the process. The total process will take several days and then it should last for many years.

While I was writing the blog Amy called. Nothing wrong, she just wanted to talk a few minutes. We had not talked in several days. She said that today it was dead (play on words). Yesterday they had three services.

One of our neighbors passed away last night. Mrs. Barkley, who lives one house from us passed away last night. She has been in bad health for the past several months. She is one of the very very few people who live in the Village who has been there since we moved there in 1974. I have missed seeing her in the yard for the past several months. In the past she did a lot of work in her yard. Since she has been confined to the house she sat at the door with the curtains pulled back to observe the people and traffic passing by her house. When I walked Oscar, if I did not acknowledge her, she would peck on the window to get my attention. I tried to remember to look at her door and acknowledge her if she was sitting there. I had to be real fast, or she would peck on the window and wave at me. I will miss Mrs. Barkley. She and her family and extended family have been excellent neighbors.

When we first moved to the Village the neighborhood was more stable and we knew each other more than we now do. One of the reasons is that several of the homes are now rental property. When we first move there all of the people who lived there were the owners.

Theda and Carol have been working on information for me to get an accurate cost of trash. When they complete their work I will take there information and some more and hopefully determine the actual cost of disposal of each type of garbage. I must have this detailed information to make a budget for the council to consider as they make a decision about what trash will be removed and the cost of each type.

Just another exciting day in the life of a mayor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2:00 PM

Yesterday Oliver Hinds stopped by to see me a few minutes. I was busy and could not spend much time with him. He wanted to know how to get to James Billings home. He said that he was in town and wanted to visit with him a few minutes. I told him that James would be at his office and I gave him directions to get to the office.

I ran into James this morning. I asked him if Oliver had found him. He said that he had and that they had a three hour visit. I am glad that I was able to assist in getting some old friends together.

The city council met last night for the August meeting. There were several items of interest on the agenda.

The council adopted without discussion the proposed new water and sewer rates. The new rates will go into affect with the October billing. I was a little surprised that no council member voted no.

A great deal of time was spent discussing John Brown Road/St. Peters Ave. The CCEDC asked the council to make this street a truck route. After much discussion, the council, at the request of the CCEDC tabled the matter until next month. The CCEDC will have an ordinance ready to present at the September meeting.

The council also granted a request to allow a daycare in R1.

They also allowed the planning department to purchase some software and upgrades for a computer system. The software will allow the building inspector to always have the very latest information about zoning of property in Wynne. I think that this will be a very valuable tool to help the city.

There was an interesting discussion about class three and four trash. In the end they voted to reinstate the system that was in place before last month's meeting. They instructed me to pay the cost out of the general fund from money that has not been placed in the budget. We will resume this service next Monday. They indicated that they would look at the cost and make a decision about this service during the budget discussions later in the year.

We are still having problems with the garbage trucks. Jerry in on his way to Jonesboro with the residential truck as I write this blog. I hope that they can repair it today. The commercial truck is still having problems, but they will call when they receive the parts to repair the problem.

This morning I ask Theda and Carol to compile information for me about the cost of garbage. I need some detailed information as I prepare to make the budget for next year. I know this is extra work for them, but I appreciate their work on behalf of me in getting this information. I must remember to be sure and thank them for their extra work.

The fire department has some trucks and men in Forrest City to aid in the control of a fire. The Days Inn motel is burning. They have requested help from several area fire departments.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

3:30 PM

I have just returned from Jonesboro. Jerry called about 12:30 and asked me if I could go with him to pick up our sanitation truck. I told him that I would be happy to go with him.

The truck is running, but there is a part missing and the truck will have to be carried back to Jonesboro to complete the job once the part comes to the dealer. At least we can use the truck.
Tuesday August 12, 2008
9:00 AM

Yesterday was a bad day in the sanitation department. The commercial truck broke down about 5:45 AM yesterday morning. The wrecker picked up the truck about noon. Jerry called the dealer this morning about 7:30 AM and the truck was still not repaired. The crew is picking up the containers and taking them to the shop. They are emptied and then returned to the business. No a good system ---------but the trash is removed from the containers.

We have ordered a new traffic signal control. It should be made this week. We may have to go to Decatur AL to pick it up. Charlie plans to install the new system the weekend. We now have the red lights flashing and four way stop signs placed on the streets. It is working, but not as well as the signal lights. We have no idea of who damaged the one that was on the location. The new one will cost several thousand dollars to replace. Charlie told me that he had never seen a box damaged the way ours was damaged.

The sealing crew will be here on Thursday or on Monday of next week to start the sealing of some of our streets.

The city council meets tonight. The big item is the water and sewer rates. If the council does not increase the rates the state will go to court and a judge will take over the operation of the utility company and increase the rates to meet the obligations of the loan. I do not want that to happen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday August 8, 2008
2:30 PM

Theda is on vacation today so I have been at the office by my self today. It has been slow. I returned from lunch about 12:55. I checked the voice mail and then came to my office. About 1:10 I received a call. The caller identified herself by name and telephone number. She told me that she had just hung up her phone talking to a person trying to sell her a tv dish system. She said that the call coming in was identified on the caller ID as city of Wynne and our number. She said that when she hung up she immediately call the number. I explained to the lady that I had been in the office for about 15 minutes and that no one from this location had called her trying to make a sale. She said that she knew that the city was not calling trying to make sales. She just wanted me to be aware of what had happened to her.

I took the information to the PD and explained what had just happened.

This morning I was driving by a lot that the sanitation department leases to store and dump commercial trash cans for a few minutes until the truck dumps the contents. I observed a man putting trash from his pickup into one of the containers. This is against the law. I turned around and took the tag number. I was also going to make a picture with my phone, but the man saw me and got in his truck and left the location.

I reported the tag number to the PD. They ran the tag number and had an officer go to the mans house and inform him that he had broken the law. The next time he would probably get a ticket.

A few minutes later I was at the city shop and the secretary informed me that one of the sanitation drivers had two containers filled up after the big truck and dumped them. I told the secretary to inform both of the drivers that work on the commercial side of garbage to get the tag numbers of cars or trucks that they observe placing trash in one of the containers. She informed both of them of my request.

I will work with Jerry to try to come up with a solution to leaving the containers unattended. He is working on the residential truck today. I will catch him later in the day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

8:15 AM

Last night Pat and I attended the visitation for Rick Hill. I met a very interesting man. His name is Oliver Hinds. He asked me if I knew lefty Billings. I said that I did. I told him that I had know James for several years. I told him that I sat next to him for several years when we were both on the Wynne City Council.

He asked me to tell James that he had asked about him. I told him that I would be happy to tell James that I had met Oliver. It turns out that Oliver is a retired teacher just like me.

Rick's funeral is this morning at Kernodle's. I will attend.

Pat has trained Oscar to use the back yard to take care of his personal needs. She started his training on this past Saturday. He seems to have adjusted well. I am glad. We will not have to walk him twice a day. He does not need the exercise. He gets plenty running in the back yard. The secret seems to be give him his favorite treat when he does his business.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

1:00 PM

The city had another unhappy citizen this morning at the city shop. When the city stopped accepting and picking up class three and four trash we also stopped the practice of allowing citizens to dump class one trash at the city shop. We did this because we thought that we would have to spend a large amount of time checking each person to make sure that they only dumped class one. We though that some would dump class three or four and that would create a problem for some of our equipment. Things have gone smooth so far.

This morning a citizen approached the gate. He was stopped by one of the city employees. He was told of the new regulations and that he could not enter the property and dump his trash. He said that he only had class one and he wanted to dump the class one. The employee explained the new regulations. The citizen was not happy. He told the employee that he was on his way to see the mayor. He then sped away slinging gravel.

The employee gave me a call to give me a heads up on what had happened and that I should expect a visit. The citizen never showed up or called. This threat has happened before. The citizens tell the employee that they are coming to see me. As of today none have showed up or given me a call. I appreciate the way the employees are handling the situations with the new regulations. They have not been deterred by the threats of the citizens.

Monday, August 4, 2008

8:15 AM

Yesterday was a tough day for the city. We lost a very good employee and a friend of mine.

Rick Hill, who was the animal control officer for the city, had a heart attack yesterday morning and did not survive. Mike called me yesterday and told me that he and several police and the ambulance were at the home. He told me that it did not look good. He called about 20 minutes later and told me that Rick has not made it.

I will miss Rick. Since he has been the animal control officer I have not received a single complaint about his work. He did an excellent job taking care of the dogs in the city of Wynne for the city. He enjoyed his work and did an excellent job.

I will miss seeing him in the police department and in the break room. I saw him almost everyday. I would either see him in the morning before his day started or at lunch time. Most mornings when I got to work he was already here. He had made coffee and a most of the time he would be reading a new testament.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday August 1, 2008
11:40 AM

This morning I stopped at the public works building for a few minutes. Jerry told me that yesterday a truck pulled up to the gate and wanted to dump some trash. The city employee we greeted the citizen told the citizen that the city had stopped the service of allowing people to dump trash at the public works building. The citizen was not happy.

He took the trash out of his truck and placed it beside the fence and drove off. The alert city employee got the tag number from the truck. We had the police run the tag number and got the owner of the truck.

Jerry told me of the situation this morning. I wrote the owner of the truck a nice letter detailing our policy and informing him of the acts carried out by the driver of the truck. I offered to discuss our policy with him if he chooses. I probably will not hear from the owner. I think, but I am not sure, that the driver of the truck was the owner. I drove by the shop yesterday and I observed the truck of the owner from the tag number at the gate.

I was pleased with the action that the city employee took in taking down the tag number. I expressed by appreciation to that employee this morning.

Just another day of being mayor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!