A proposed ordinance providing for a sewer rate increase must receive the Vilonia City Council’s stamp of approval two more times before being official. Designated as Ordinance 2014-1, the ordinance was approved on the first reading this week.
"We will place it on the second reading March 18," said Mayor James Firestone. "It has to pass the council approval on a third reading before being adopted. There’s no emergency clause."
Sewer department officials, last month, proposed the rate increase to be $16 for the first 1,000 gallons and $6 per 1,000 gallons after. The current charge is $13.50 for the first 1,000 gallons and $5 per 1,000 gallons afterwards. Sewer department officials said the increase would amount to an average of $6 to $7 per month for most customers.
The increase is necessary, according to officials, because the sewer fund is being depleted to take care of a USDA loan paying for sewer plant upgrades with nothing left over for emergency repairs, additional upgrades and mandated environmental regulations.
• Firestone opened bids regarding the selling of three older model vehicles, rendered unusable, and belonging to the Vilonia Fire Department. The highest bidder for the three vehicles was Jacob Mayterstock of Conway. Mayterstock’s bids included $788.99 for a 1983 Chevy one-ton, $1,588.99 for a 1988 Search and Rescue and $458.99 for a 1957 non-working Chevy pickup.
• Approved Ordinance 2014-2 acknowledging that the city of Vilonia is authorized to do business with businesses owned by the spouses and relatives of city employees. The ordinance acknowledged a couple of businesses including Vilonia Medical Clinic and J&D Supply as falling into that category.
• Firestone spoke briefly about traveling to Rogers in January to accept the Volunteer Community of the Year Award as awarded by the state.
• Police department. Chief Brad McNew said the police cruiser that was involved in a wreck, last month, is back on the road. It cost, he said, about $7,000 to fix. The insurance through the Arkansas Municipal League, he said, covered the cost except for the $1,000 deductible.
• Code enforcement/planning. Fred Fowlkes, city engineer/code enforcement, said there have been two building permits issued recently with both being single family residents. The planning commission in January, Fowlkes said, approved the final plat for Pleasant Creek Subdivision. The project was approved, he said, before there was a Vilonia Planning Commission. Yet, he said, the "final plat" was not. Landowner Bill Jones, Fowlkes said, has been maintaining the streets which are in the city limits. The approval of the final plat transferred the responsibility to the city for maintenance and repair
• The annual Domino/Rook Tournament will be held at the Vilonia Senior Citizens Center during the third week in March.
• Tickets are being sold for the Lions Club sponsored circus to be held in March.
• Announced that it is estimated the cost for the continued paving S. Mt. Olive to the 64 Bypass will cost about $125,000. The paving project, Firestone said, is designated for later in the year when the new Intermediate School is completed.