BY LEANN DILBECK –
A resolution to authorize city officials to accept a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration was approved during Tuesday night’s (August 13) Mena City Council meeting. The $237,056 grant will be to rebuild Taxiway-C3 located at the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport.
The city is required to furnish 10% matching funds, which the Mena Airport Commission is prepared to do. Airport Manager Will Robbins reported to the council that with the resolution passed, work is anticipated to begin in 30 days. The City of Mena is in the process of making capital improvements at the airport and has adopted an airport master plan. The rehabilitation of taxiways is part of this master plan.
In other reports by officials, Mena Regional Health System Administrator Tim Bowen reported to the council that in-patient volumes were lower than anticipated but out-patient volumes were higher. He explained that this is a trend that is being seen industry-wide and contributed it to an increase in governmental regulations. He said traditionally, hospitals have staffed heavier for in-patient volumes but with this new trend, most are making a shift to more of an out-patient staffing model.
Bowen was also pleased to announce that Hot Springs ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) Specialist, Dr. Samuel Vallery, will now be coming to Mena and offering a clinic each Friday through the Mena Surgical Clinic. Bowen said his specialty is children and believes his addition will be of great benefit to local families who have traditionally had to migrate to larger communities for this service.
Bowen said that CFO Matt Driscoll had resigned. Serving for a third term as an Interim CFO at MRHS is Nancy Treece from Hot Springs. Bowen said besides being highly skilled, she is already familiar with MRHS. The hospital is actively seeking a replacement and plans to interview one potential candidate this week.
In other business, the council did approve an amendment to Ordinance 1061 that would allow the City to include accountants and CPAs to be included under the authority to provide professional services for the City of Mena. Charles Pitman, who had served as the Mena Water Utility CFO has been promoted to Department Manager and is currently serving in both roles.
The Mena Water Commission made the decision to out-source the responsibilities of the CFO to a professional firm. The process will include the City of Mena advertising a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in which the Commission can then best determine the most qualified from the pool of applicants received. As City Attorney Danny Thrailkill explained, RFQs, which differ from Request for Bids, is best in this particular situation because when selecting an accountant, you don’t necessarily always want the “cheapest” but rather “the most qualified.”
The next City Council meeting is September 10 at 7 p.m. at City Hall and are always open to the public.