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.