Questions about missing money and answers about water service were the two main topics at the meeting of the Shirley City Council Monday night, Aug. 13.
The missing money was a conversation that ended with more questions than answers. The council was confused how a check for $1,500, issued to the city by Shirley Schools, had been, according to the council’s understanding, turned over to, and deposited by, the city Baseball-Softball Association.
Council member Randall Gardner said he has a copy of the cancelled check, which had been signed for deposit by a ball association member, he told the council.
The council at an earlier meeting had voted and approved for the money from the school to pay for bleacher maintenance. The vote was for the money, when received, to go into the city’s general fund, and then paid from there for the maintenance. The discussion began as a council member told the gathering that a representative of the ball association said the money had been given to him, and not the Shirley Council.
The maintenance on the bleachers had already taken place meaning the city owed the money, Mayor Lisa Hackett explained to the council.
Council members asked Melissa Worthing, city secretary/treasurer, seated at the council table, if the check had been received and where it had gone. Worthing checked her notes but said she had no record of the check being deposited.
Gardner said if the association had somehow gotten the check and deposited it in its own account it would “Owe the city $1,500,” adding that not repaying was “not an option.” He did continue that the entire matter was “probably a misunderstanding” between the city and the ball association. Hackett and Worthing both said they would follow up on this matter and report back to the council.
A representative from engineering firm PMI was on hand to update the council and the replacement of the main water line coming into town.
Water service into Shirley had been at issue for some time, as concerns about the main water line showing wear as it crossed the main bridge into the city, above the river. The city had received a grant to cover the replacement of the water line, the new line running under the Middle Fork of the Little Red River in place of the existing main line.
The PMI representative, John Metrailer, presented a drawing of the plans, which would route the new line 3 feet under the existing river, with entry and exit points 10 feet from the riverside. The plans were currently being reviewed by state agencies, he told the council, after which the project would be placed out for bid. Once this was completed the line installation was projected to be a 60 day project, the council was told.
The council also heard from representatives of Community Water, which had recently taken over Shirley Water. Community is currently operating under a interim management agreement with the city, pending a decision by the state Attorney General regarding the terms of the agreement between it and the city.
The representatives explained that the state general assembly had recently passed a law that required any purchase of equipment from a city of over $20,000 to be put out for bid. Since the total of the city’s now-former water department was over $20,000, there was concern that Community Water taking over without a bidding process would be in violation of state law. Community Water was waiting to hear back from the Attorney General’s office on this, hopefully by the end of the month, the council was told.
Hackett also told the council that the city had recently sent shut-off notices to a number of customers who were in arrears on their water bill, in some cases to some who had not paid a water bill in “quite some time,” Hackett said. Arrangements had been made for these customers to catch up their bills with the city, she told the council.
In other council matters: The city will apply for a grant to update the Fun Park to add handicapped access. The grant, if approved, will be 100 percent, with no funds needed by the city.