Sunday, January 31, 2010

7:00 AM

Pat and I spent the day inside yesterday. The snow and sleet have stopped, but we now have ice.

I talked several times with Jerry yesterday. He and some of the street crew spent the day putting out sand and salt. I am glad that we decided to purchase the spreader. The spreader works very well and we do not have city crews out in the cold on the back of a truck shoveling out sand and salt. It is going to be cold for some time. At the present time the temperature is 15 degrees.

Wynne Baptist Church has cancelled all activities for today. I think that the decision was the correct decision. I will miss not going to Sunday School and church today, but people need to stay off the streets today unless their is an emergency.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

7:20 AM

I have only had one city council member in favor of the contract with the WFA. One other council member asked some questions about the proposed contract. I replied to those questions but that council member did not indicated their support for the agreement.

Because I have only had a response from two council members I have decided to not enter into a contract with the WFA. I will present a contract at the February meeting of the council and ask all of the members to vote on the proposal. If the council does not approve the contract the city will hire an officer and we will resume this service as has been done in the past.

I attended the chamber of commerce banquet on Thursday night. The banquet was well attended and the speaker was very good. The entire program was only about one hour and twenty five minutes in length. I though that the food and the service was excellent.

Star Printing was chosen the business of the year.

Dr. Mike and Kathy Norris were chosen as volunteer of the year.

Ronnie Cox was named the citizen to the year.

The endowment foundation of Cross County was named the civic organization of the year.

I congratulate the winners and I think that all are very deserving of the recognition.

I served as the greeter for the guest at the banquet. I had an opportunity to meet and greet all of the people attending the banquet. This was an excellent assignment for an elected official to meet and greet citizens and business people from Cross County and the area.

The city hall was closed yesterday. We had sleet, snow and rain yesterday. I spent some time yesterday morning at the street and sanitation department. Because of the weather Jerry stopped the trash pickup and sent the drivers home about ten o'clock. Most of the street department were sent home a few minutes later. Jerry and a small crew stayed and operated our new salt and sand spreader. The new equipment work well and the salt and sand mixture improved the traveling conditions of the streets. The all went home about two pm.

I had a call from a family and they needed to purchase a burial plot at Cogbill Cemetery. I met a member of the family at city hall and they purchased two burial plots. A young man had passed away and they had to have a burial plot. I am glad that I decided a few years ago to purchase cemetery plots. At least this is one activity that my family will not have to deal with in the case of an unexpected death.

It appears that the ice and snow have stopped during the night, but the ground is covered and the temperature for today is not predicted to be above freezing.

Last night the electricity was off about two hours. I was glad that I had installed a fireplace a few years ago. I had no lights, but we had heat.

Friday, January 22, 2010

5:25 PM

I met this afternoon with Dr. Norris about the proposed contract between the city and the Wynne Friends of Animals. The proposal is for the WFA to take over the job of animal control officer. After discussion with Dr. Norris I think that I can support their proposal. I mailed the city council members a copy of the proposal. I asked them to review the proposal and contact me with any changes that they want added or deleted. I ask them to please complete the review by next Friday and contact me with their decision. I hope that we can enter into a contract with WFA beginning February 1, 2010.

I will inform on this blog about the final results of this matter.
10:20 AM

The city took delivery of a sand and salt spreader this week. This is a piece of equipment that will not be used very much, but it is a welcome addition to the street department.

In the past when the city had ice or snow the street department had workers in the back of a truck throwing out the sand and salt with shovels. That was not the best or safest way to take care of this problem, but it was the only way it could be done with the equipment that the city owned. From now on this task will be handled with the spreader in the back of a truck and no workers in the back of the truck. The sand and salt will be spread by the driver of the truck. All of the controls of the spreader are located in the cab of the truck.

I am pleased that we were able to add this equipment to the street department. The crews now will be able to take care of this problem in a very safe manor.

Thursday, January 21, 2010



The financial condition of the City of Wynne is good considering the funds that are available for use by the city.

The city was able to operate the city with the funds that were available this past year, due to the hard work of the department heads. They were able to operate their departments within the budget that was adopted by the Wynne City Council. The money that was anticipated by the city was received during the year.

There were a number of changes that occurred during the year in the various departments. Most of the changes occurred in the sanitation department. During the last year the residential service changed to a completely automated service. This service has worked well and the comments from the citizens have been positive.

Another big change in the sanitation department was in the class three service provided by the city. During the year the revenue generated by the user fees for residential garbage was not enough to cover the cost of the services provided. The city council members looked at a number of options and decided to make the class three removal and disposal service a pay as used program. This decision allowed the rates to remain the same for the citizens of Wynne. This system was used for several weeks and the council held discussions on the service. The council voted to resume the service and increase the rates $3.00 per month to cover the cost of the service. The city council also adopted regulations for the use of the service. The major change was that the city would not pick up limbs and construction waste from residents if the citizens had paid an individual or contractor to complete the work of limb removal or construction work. The city will, for a per-yard fee, accept limbs and construction material from individuals or contractors who wish to pay the fees. Several individuals and contractors use this service.

A few months after resuming class three trash service for an increased fee, it became evident the one truck assigned to this service could not keep up with the volume of trash being generated. The increased residential fee created a small surplus of revenue. With this surplus the city council voted to purchase a new knuckle boom truck and keep the old one in service on a part time basis. This has worked well since the city now has one truck operating full time and one on an occasional basis. If the price of fuel stays about the same the city will be able to continue this service at the present level.

This past year the sanitation department has been able to save money with the elimination of one truck and the elimination of three positions in the department. The commercial garbage truck now empties all of the containers at the location of the customer. In the past an individual and a truck was used everyday to move containers to a central location for dumping. That individual is now a part time driver for the sanitation department and works part time in the street department. Two labor positions were eliminated when the residential service was fully automated.

The sanitation department took delivery of two new trucks for operation of the department during last year. The trucks were purchased on a guaranteed buy back provision from Tri State Truck Center. The trucks will be used for two years and then replaced with new trucks. The trucks have a 100% bumper to bumper warranty. This arrangement has allowed the elimination of repair bills for these trucks that must operate everyday.

The city street department has continued to make improvements in the drainage system in the city. The department has completed a number of small projects that have improved the drainage in Wynne. They also completed one major drainage project in ward two between Block Street and Front Street in south Wynne. This project will greatly improve the flow of water in this section of the city.

This past year the street department continued the use of chip and seal to extend the life of the city streets. The department would prefer to improve streets with asphalt, but the cost of asphalt is such that chip and seal is used. It does not extend the life of the street nearly as long as asphalt, but five times more streets are able to have some work completed to extend the life of the streets.

The Wynne Fire Department purchased a new fire truck last year. Each year the city places $25,000.00 in a separate fund to purchase new trucks. Last year it was time to replace a fire truck. The department also was able to eliminate one truck that was in the fleet. That elimination will not affect the department’s ability to respond to calls in the city. That move will save the department a few dollars to apply to other needs of the department.

Over the past two years most of the fire department building has been repainted inside. It was time to spend some money to protect the investment in the building.

The Wynne Police Department has not made any major changes during the last several years. They have added some auxiliary officers to the force. This has allowed the department to have more officers on the streets at critical times.


The city has the need to increase revenue or possibly cut back on some projects in the future if more revenue is not available for use by the city.

There are some critical needs in the Parks and Recreation Department of the city. The department is struggling to maintain the present facilities. Over the past several years the department has had some grant money to replace capital items. That money has all been spent. There has not been any new equipment purchased for the city parks in a number of years except for John Hayden Smith Park. That park was completely furnished with all new equipment by Mr. Johnny Smith in memory of his late son.

Last year a group of citizens appeared before the city council and outlined a number of problems that need to be addressed at the Wynne sports complex. The needs that they expressed are mostly of a capital nature, but they also pointed out that there was a need for more personnel to properly maintain the present facilities.

This year the budget for the parks and recreation budget has been increased. The city has received a grant to build a walking trail at the sports complex. The budget has been increased by $100,000.00 to purchase equipment for several of the mini parks. The city has also increased the budget by $30,000.00 to help with the maintenance of the park system. The 2010 budget also includes additional funds for the maintenance of all the mini parks. The city has also applied for a grant to build a stage at the sports complex and add tables and benches at the mini parks. These improvements will greatly improve the city parks.

The money available for use in the street department has been stable for the last several years, but the cost of maintaining the streets and improving drainage has greatly increased. The budget for 2010 includes money to replace the bridge on Martin Luther King Street. This is a much needed improvement for this street. The city is at the present time working to improve the drainage in the city. We may be able to add some retention ponds to improve the drainage. Our engineer is now working on this problem and if funds are available the city may be able to make some of these improvements.

The police department needs to have more money for capital outlay. This need is mainly for upgrade of the fleet of vehicles. The city is now operating the cars for longer periods of service and the repair costs have increased with the age of the fleet. The 2010 budget includes the purchase of three new patrol cars to improve the police fleet.

The sanitation department is in good shape as long as the fees collected pay for the services. The sanitation department is paid for fully with fees. There is no tax money budgeted for operation of the sanitation department.

Economic development has become an issue for the city with the defeat of the county wide sales tax to fund economic development. The system of funding economic development on a county wide basis worked well for the county for a number of years, but the county residents voted down efforts to continue that funding twice last year. A number of cities fund economic development for the city using city funds. Several residents have suggested that the city fund economic development for the city.

The city has very few options relating to increasing funding for city projects. The city at the present time is charging the maximum for a number of sources of revenue available to the city for funding. The city is at the maximum on utility franchise fees charged except for cable television. The city is also at a maximum charged the residents for personal and real property tax. The max that can be assessed is 5 mills. The city has been collecting 5 mills for about two decades.

The only way that can be used to increase funds for city operation is a local sales tax. A sales tax can be temporary or permanent. If the need is a one time need a temporary tax is the way to accomplish that goal. If the need is of a permanent nature, the tax must be permanent to cover the cost of the service that is desired by the city.

A city sales tax can only be imposed if the voters of the city approve the tax.

I have outlined what I consider the accomplishments of the city for the past year. I have also outlined some of the future needs and for more funds if those goals are to be met. I feel sure that the administration and city council members can and will discuss the present situation and the future goals and make informed decisions about how to move the city forward.
9:45 AM

The Wynne City Council met on January 12, 2009 for the regular meeting. Following is a report of actions taken by the council.

1. Accepted a bid for a new track hoe for use by the street department.

2. Accepted a bid for the purchase of three new police cars.

3. Accepted a bid for financing for two of the new police cars that will be purchased.

4. Approved the purchase of a new pick up truck for use by the street and sanitation departments. We will purchase this truck from the state contract, so we did not have to bid this truck.

5. Jerry Brewster gave the council a report of some flooding issues in the city. During some of the recent rains the city has experienced some flooding problems in ward 4 of the city. The street department is working with the county and our engineer to aid in the improvment of these situations. The big problem is money to correct the problems. If money was not a problem, we could correct the problems. Jerry wanted to address the council about these problems and the need for money if they are to be corrected. He has been making pictures of the problems over the last few months. He shared these pictures with the council.

6. I presented the council with the Cogbill Cemetery report for 2009.

7. The city of Wynne animal control officer quit about two weeks ago. The day that the officer quit I received a call from Dr. Norris and he wanted to discuss the possibility of the FOA contracting with the city to perform this job. I discussed this issue with the council and they agreed that if a contract could be worked out they were willing to contract this job with the FOA. As part of the agreement the city will sell the FOA the truck that has been used by the officer to perform this job. Dr. Norris and I are in the process of developing a contract for this work. I think that we will be able to work out an agreement. We plan to meet again on Friday to hopefully have a final copy. This will allow the city to save a little money and it will also aid the FOA in their work.

8. I gave my annual State of the City address. It is posted as a separate entry.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

6:00 PM

I have been very busy this week. I have not forgot about the city council meeting last week or what I have been working on this week. I hope to find time over the next few days to give a full report of these activities.

Friday, January 15, 2010

6:00 PM

I have been in Little Rock attending the Winter Conference of the Arkansas Municipal League. We had a very good meeting. The attendance was down by a small amount, but there was a good turn out.

We had some very interesting and informative sessions. I heard some information that I have heard a number of times before, but as usual I learned some new information that will aid me in my job as Mayor of Wynne.

I also enjoyed visiting with my friends from around the state and making some new friends. Some times sitting around the table with my friends from around the state reminds me of local coffee shop talk. We are able to solve all of the worlds problems around the table.

The Wynne City Council met for the January meeting on Tuesday night. I will give a full report next week of the actions taken.

The weather has changed quiet a bit. This afternoon on my way home from Little Rock I was listening to a Little Rock station and the temperature was 58. I even rolled down my windows on the car and enjoyed the warm weather.

Today was the last official day of work for Pat. She has not worked this week, but today is officially her last day. I think that she enjoys being retired.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

11:00 AM

Pat is officially through with work. Her last official day is the 15th but she does not have to go back to work.

Her sister, Sherron, surprised her yesterday by showing up for her lunch with her coworkers. She had called me on Thursday and told me that she was going to surprise her at work on her last day. She came to Amy's Thursday night and spent the night. They both had planned to surprise Pat, but Amy had to work and she could not come to Forrest City. Pat was really surprised.

Sherron is going to stay with us until Sunday. Pat, Sherron and I are going to go to Amy's on Sunday afternoon and we are all going to eat. Pat and I will return to Wynne Sunday night. Sherron is going to spend the night with Amy and then go back to Panama City on Monday.

It was good to have Sherron surprise Pat on her last day of work.

It is still cold in Wynne. The temperature is not 16 degrees in Wynne. It has been snowing most of the morning in Wynne. I do not think that there will be any accumulation. I sure hope that we do not have any accumulation. It is supposed to be cold until the first part of the week. The highs for the first part of the week is supposed to be in the lower forties. That will seem like a heat wave after the last week or so.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

11:40 AM

The weather is bad in Wynne. We had some snow last night, but the problem is that the temperature is dropping and the high predicted for tomorrow is only 17.

Because of the weather we are not picking up trash today. We think that the streets are in no condition to have our employees and equipment on the streets. This will get us behind, but safety is the most important item to consider in these situations.

Jerry and I have discussed the possibility of purchasing a sand and salt spreader. We now have to put out sand and salt from the back of a truck with shovels. This is not a very safe activity and is not very efficient. We will probably purchase a spreader that can be placed in the back of our dump truck.

Pat's last day of work will be tomorrow. She was given that option yesterday, so January 8, 2010 will be her last day of work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

6:15 AM

My life is going to change. Pat has decided to retire. She gave her notice on January 4th and her last day of work will be the 15th. I am happy for her. She has worked all of her adult life. Now she can do some of the things that she wants to on her own schedule. We have reviewed our financial situation and we think, with some expert advice, that we have made adequate plans to be able to have a comfortable life with the plans we have made and carried out. It will be a big change for Pat and me. It will be odd not having to go to work, after having to go for more than 40 years.

The city ended the year of 2009 in good financial shape. This was due to proper planning and a good group of department heads being able to carry out their assignments using the money that was available. I am grateful for the work of all of the employees of the city. Working together we have been able to accomplish a number of goals. The city council has also been a good working partner in moving the city forward.

I am pleased with the work of the sanitation department over the last two weeks. Christmas and New Years day are always a difficult to stay up with the trash generated. The department came through very well. They had to operate the residential truck from 7 AM until about 11Pm on the days after the holidays to pick up the trash. It was long days, but the crews did an excellent job and I am proud of the work that they did for the citizens of Wynne. I am also glad that we now have a can system to deal with household trash. This system allows the crews to pick up the trash from the comfort of a warm truck and not be out in the cold weather. The only down side is that two employees had to lose their jobs. I think that this system has worked well and that the citizens have been positive about the changes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

JANUARY 3, 2010
12:55 PM

We had a little snow last night. Not very much, but the ground was covered this morning. It is very cold here. I have to go to the cemetery sometime this afternoon, we have a funeral tomorrow morning.

Pat and I have gone to Jonesboro the last three days. We went on Thursday night for our evening meal. I just wanted to get out of Wynne and have a good meal. (There is nothing wrong with the food in Wynne) I just wanted to have something different. We went back to Jonesboro on Friday and saw the movie The Blind Side. We enjoyed the movie very much. A good story. We went back yesterday. Pat wanted to do some shopping and we saw another movie. This time we saw Up in the Air. We both enjoyed this movie.

We watched the Liberty Bowl last night. Arkansas won in overtime.