The Dumas City Council approved Resolutions 1377C, 1381, 1382, 1383 and the revised resolution 1376 at their monthly meeting Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
The council adopted the three sets of minutes from the May meeting, Public Hearing and the June 28 Special City Council meeting. Council member John Owen made a motion to approve the minutes and it was seconded and all approved.
Clay Coburn gave an update on the VDCI report with a report that they ran the spray trucks three nights a week in June with a current increase to four nights a week. They are spraying, but other than that they are surveying traps and checking ditches. They started spraying in May to keep the mosquito population down. Due to the flood, there was an increase in mosquitoes around Pecan Street several weeks after.
Owens presented information from the budget meeting. They review the street fund, water and sewer fund, and general account. There were no major items in each of the accounts and what variances were discussed. Owen made a motion for the budget to be approved. It was seconded and approved as given. Owens also made a motion that the city pay its monthly bills. Romona Weatherford second the motion and all approved.
Norma Eldridge asked the council member's approval to file a Bond Disclosure Compliance Checklist once she has the information from Ryan Bowman to complete the form. They tabled the compliance checklist until the next meeting.
Amber Brown presented the Park and Creation reports. The Parks and Recreation Committee met Monday July 12. They decided to focus on the improvement of three parks: Memorial Park, Magnolia Park and Choctaw Park. They will be getting new wood chips for the playground area of Memorial Park. They decided to discuss a budget for parks and create a list of companies that service the Dumas area to ask for donations to pay for the upkeep as well as replace equipment in all three parks. After they create a letter, it will be emailed to the businesses. They will meet again in August to discuss our next steps. Council Member Kenneth Daniels showed the council members photographs of old wood equipment that needed to be replaced. Mayor Simon suggested going online to American Parks that have playground equipment and that she saw some on sale. Simon said she would like to get something into the parks before the end of the summer.
Street Superintendent Shelby Slater reported his main issue as the hole on East Choctaw Street. They are working to get it repaired before school starts. An engineer put a camera down the hole, but did not find any sewer or water leaks, just a collapse. On the recommendation of the engineer, the Street and Sewer departments are going to repack the hole, but will watch for any leaks or wet spots. They will have to use the county's track hoe to dig down to reach the depth needed to reach the collapse.
They will have an employee take a class in October to run a track hoe and a backhoe. He said there were some ditches that needed to be dug out.
Daniels gave his report for Food Pantry Building Repair for Temporary Maintenance. The biggest problem with the building is the roof needs to be replaced with some work to the inside.
Simon asked Slater to speak to the Desha County Judge to assist with repairing a road and that they can pay for gravel.
Mayor Simon reported the new sign at the former DTECH will cost roughly $10,000. She asked the council for suggestions for names for the location with possibility for shingles to be added. It was suggested that the city build a metal frame with space for whoever rents it to put their own sign up. Owens suggested the Dumas Plaza. Another recommendation was to put on the sign “City of Dumas” and layer the shingles under it. Simon said she would look into both options and what each would cost.
They have not had any issues with getting the easements for the Winchester Easement and Project Progress; Pickens Wholesale Water Contract with the only problem is contacting persons in Winchester who live outside of town. They have filed for easements along the railroad with the cost of $5,000 each to get a rush job on them. The cost of each easement is paid for out of the design money. Frederick Black requested more detailed information involving his easement of exactly where the lines will run. McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc. will be providing that information.
The City hired LaKeshia Lattimore as their new finance director and Marcus Stapp as a full time employee in the maintenance from part-time in the area of building maintenance.
The public hearing for the Mitchellville Sewer Project will be Tuesday, August 10 at 5 pm. The Mitchellville mayor has agreed to that date. They have received a drainage grant to replace the drainage on Belmont Street and Robinwood Drive in the amount of $275, 793. They will be able to begin that project as soon as they get environmental studies of the location.
Slater read Code Enforcer Lecester Bell's report in his place. The Cherry Street house is being removed with a home on Farmer and Main Street that still needs work. The report also included a home on Peterson Street and seven permits to work on home in the Dumas area. The council voted to extend the period of rehab for 6 months for the house on Farmer and Main Street.
Dumas Chamber of Commerce Director Judy Day presented the community service reports. They fed over 1,100 people at the corn supper. “We felt like it was a great success. We appreciate all the people in the community coming out and hopefully next year we will be able to have it inside. That is what we are shooting for.” Day said. Day said they had several people comment, they would rather be inside than driving thru. Their goal was to not run out of food and they had plenty of food left over this year.
The chamber has a new roof with no leaks, but there is damage to the ceiling of Congressman Rick Crawford's office.
Delta Memorial Hospital was not present, but sent their report. They reported the number of outpatients increased.
MainStreet Dumas Director Julianne Gasaway was not present to give her report and the Community Development Committee had not met at the time of the meeting.
The Food Pantry reported the numbers increasing, because the other food give ways were decreasing. They serve 138 households in June containing 342 individuals
The Dumas Volunteer Fire Department reported 28 calls last month, which is a little bit above their average. Many of the calls had to do with flooding, but they are back to normal responding to calls like grass fires. They are waiting for the metal to repair the roof and as soon as it's available the roof can be repaired.
Slater also gave the report for the Water and Sewer Department. The department started meter reading Tuesday, July 13. They drained a water tower to clean it on Bowles Street, reducing water pressure, and restored it as quickly as possible. They are working to clean the three water towers with two more to clean.
The Street and Sanitation Department reported the garbage trucks running well with one truck needing new parts. Choctaw Street is a major concern, but it will be repaired before school starts. Slater reported problems with dumpsters at the DTECH and Community Center with people dumping mattresses or furniture. Anyone wanting to get rid of old mattresses will need to take them to the landfill.
Memorial Park is open again and with problems with trash around the basketball courts. They will be sending an employee to learn how to drive a track hoe to dig ditches out. The ditches around Wolff Street and Court Street need to be dug out. They will be working on getting inmates to help clean up the ditch at the old hospital. Council-member Diane Fisher commended Slater on his work to maintain the city parks. The Street sweeper is operational again and cleaning the streets.
Council-member Frank Healey spoke about strong smells coming from the dumpster. Slater said they would spray it in the dumpsters and they are currently ordering the chemical to do that. The Street Department will also be replacing speed bumps in areas damaged by flooding or vehicles.
Dumas EMS Paramedic Jonathan Whipple read the EMS report for Gary Gill. The EMS's June report had 100 calls with 17 trauma related, 47 of them were medical, and 36 were transfers from hospitals. They had many more calls with some not needing transport. The new cardiac monitor is in place and working. The monitor helps take blood pressures and other vital tasks. They recently received their trauma grant for 2021-2022 for $9,118.
Whipple reported an ambulance accident at Bowles Street and Highway 65 where the ambulance was traveling east and was struck by a southbound in the driver's side and damaged the ambulance box on the rear bumper. They are looking into getting the box on the ambulance repaired, but have not found a certified company in Arkansas to make the repair. Gill has contacted Osage to see about getting a used ambulance. The ambulance came to rest on the concrete controls that run the traffic light and there may be some engine damage.
Slater added that he contacted someone from All Service Electric to replace the box and that it will take 5-6 weeks just to get the box because of the pandemic. The light will be down for quite a while. The City is still working on the insurance. Simon said the cost of the Bowles Street traffic light repair will cost around $16, 859. Simon also announced they did finally get the check to repair the pole at Highway 65 and 165. The pole and box at Highway 65 and 165 will be repaired first.
Dumas Police Chief Keith Finch reported 959 Contacts, 10 warrants, and 15 criminal arrests. The Conference system has started the paperwork for the new chiller to get the jail working at full capacity. They have 15 units with only 11 that are serviceable with one needing a new motor. The mayor said they have been cleared for one vehicle after the paper is cleared with Community Unlimited.
Lynn Weatherford reported the Dumas Community Center opened July 1 with a full calendar and no available weekend dates open through September. They also have two weddings booked for next March. The DPD opened the walking track at 6 am. And Weatherford locks it up at 6 pm. The New Jerusalem Church has been holding their church service at the center every Sunday until they can build their new church. Light walkers are again using the facility for their daily exercise.
The Council voted on Resolution #1377-C. The resolution will void and cancel three resolutions 1377, 1377-A, and 1377-B per the incorrect account name set up as the City of Dumas Flood Relief Account and to cancel the City of Dumas Flood Relief Account at Simmons Bank. A motion was made, seconded and approved. Resolution #1381 created a new full-time position for the Assistant Supervisor position for the Water and Sewer Department. Owen made a motion to adopt the motion. It was seconded and approved. Resolution #1382 is a resolution to authorize repairs to the Dumas City Jail and the payment of the invoices for the work from different vendors. A motion was made, seconded and approved. Resolution #1383 is a resolution to authorize the use of special trust funds in Simmons Bank Account to make improvements and purchase park and recreational equipment for Dumas City Parks. A motion was made to adopt the resolution. It was seconded and approved. Resolution #1376A Revised authorizes Mayor Flora Simon and City Clerk Norma Eldridge to sign grant agreements for Dumas Airports parallel taxiway construction, Phase VI, Dumas Municipal Airport, Dumas, AR. A motion was made, seconded and approved.
The floor opened for open mic with one concerned citizen wondering why he was being charged a water and sewage bill for an unoccupied house. Another citizen asked about possible grants to fix drainage on Mistletoe and Jack Dante Streets and if it could be possible to install speed bumps on Mistletoe due to people speeding down the street. A Wolff Street resident thanked the street and maintenance departments for their hard work. She asked the question “What is the city's plan to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to future flood events?; and What do we have as a maintenance plan” She said she didn't get water into her home, but her yard received debris from the flood. Linda Hunt Rogers updated the council on the current progress of programs, grants, and a request to the council about providing good communication with the organization.