BY MELANIE BUCK –
It was standing room only as Mena City Council met Tuesday night for their regular monthly meeting amongst a packed house. The council heard from department heads and passed one ordinance, appointed members to committees, and one resolution failed.
Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Fowler reported that the Trails for Life grant has been submitted and the City will give a presentation to the state in February for consideration of the grant. If awarded, the funding will be used to create walking trails at Aubrey Tapley Park. Fowler also reported that the new bathrooms at Tapley Park are now complete.
Hospital Administrator Jay Quebedeaux said that Mena Regional Health System had 112 admissions last month, 682 emergency department visits, and 26 babies born. There were 1,511 clinic visits last month, 2,187 outpatient visits, and 91 surgeries performed. Two nurse practitioners were also hired but will not start until the first of next year.
A new policy manual was presented for review by Mena Chief of Police Brandon Martin. He said the new manual is a simplified version and is ‘tried and tested’ with the best policies. Martin said the manual hasn’t been updated since 2010.
There have been no lab violations by the Mena Water Utility and Manager Charles Pitman said the 12-month water loss is 30.7%.
The Council considered a resolution to establish a committee for the review and recommendation of an exclusive ambulance agreement for the City of Mena, pursuant to the municipal ambulance licensing act. After the first motion was given by council member James Earl Turner, the resolution failed to pass as a second motion was never made. The city currently has two ambulance providers, Southwest EMS and Liberty EMS. If the resolution had passed, it would have created a committee to research and award an exclusive franchise with only one EMS service provider.
Ordinance 2257 was approved and passed by the Council to levy the 2015 Millage Rate, which “stayed the same as it has been for a long time,” as pointed out by Council.
Council member Andy Brown announced he was stepping down from the Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission and James Earl Turner was appointed to the seat. Cynthia Medford was re-appointed to the City’s Planning Commission and Ed Gibson was re-appointed to the City’s Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
The next City Council meeting will take place at City Hall on December 8th.