VILONIA — Some residents in Vilonia need their sleep, and the city council took steps Tuesday night to ensure they receive it.
The Vilonia City Council repealed an ordinance and approved another Tuesday night curbing the hours that fireworks may be shot during the July 4 holiday as well as on New Year’s Eve. The new ordinance allows fireworks to be shot from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., July 3-5 and from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 12:15 a.m. Mayor James Firestone made the proposal saying he had received numerous complaints in regard to shooting fireworks after midnight during the July 4 holiday resulting in workers losing sleep.
"I’m one of those people that gets up at 4:30 and has to go to work," Firestone said, addressing the council.
Alderman Jim King who self declared as "usually the most conservative" on the council voiced his opposition and was the only council member to vote against the change.
"It usually doesn’t get dark until 9," King said. "I would like to see it at least until 11. I guess I’ve still got a lot of kid in me."
In other action, the council:
• Approved the purchase of a vehicle for the police department at a cost of $29,586 from North Point Ford. Also, the council approved spending up to $15,000 to equip it. Chief Brad McNew estimated a new camera for the cruiser to cost up to $5,000. The funding will come from a carryover from the 2009 police budget as well as about $6,000 received from a wrecked police car.
• Passed a resolution setting a public hearing for 7 p.m., Aug. 17, for the closing of Oak Street. The portion of the street, said Fred Fowlkes, city engineer/code enforcement, is a portion of land between some duplexes and a lot owned by Steve Sanson.
"It’s never been used as a street, it’s just platted on the 1912 map," Fowlkes said. The proposal will now go to the planning commission prior to the public hearing.
• Approved the purchase of a portable generator welder to be installed on the back of a bucket truck at a cost of about $3,000.
• "The news is good," Firestone said, concerning some projects underway in the city. Bids have been taken on both the tennis court lighting project and a sidewalk project with both "coming in within our money" along with grant money, he added. Central Industrial Electric was awarded the low bid on the tennis lighting at $28,326. The sidewalk project, Firestone said, is anticipated to cost about $182,348. Bids, he also said, are to be opened at 9 a.m. Monday concerning the installation of a backup generator system.
• Street paving projects are anticipated to begin July 29, Firestone said. He estimated the total costs to be between $138,000 and $140,000. Approved projects include Simpson Road, overlay at Camily Court (397 ft.); North Coker, repair overlay street from Highway 64 to Frederick’s Place (2,050 ft.); German Lane (overlay from Highway 64 to city limits (1,050 ft.); Hawk/Hummingbird Intersections, replacement pavement at the intersection (350 ft.); Cemetery St., entrance, 225 feet past ballpark and past the cemetery and Graddy Loop from the pavement to Highway 64.
It was also said that "a lot of work is going on all over town." On that note, King complimented the street department for "getting things done and getting it done well."
• Fire department — Chief Keith Hillman said the department is short a couple of firefighters.
• Police department — McNew reported on the newly instituted reserve program. He estimated having it going in about a month.
• Planning commission — A meeting is planned for July 29 with a couple of "minor issues," on it Fowlkes said.
• Parks and recreation — Saturday was the Mayor’s Cup tournament at Greenbrier, Firestone said, with the trophy going to Greenbrier. Vilonia is set to host the event in 2011, he said
• Chamber of Commerce — Debbie Townsend, chamber president, announced that Jill Bonnema has been hired as the new executive officer. Bonnema has been serving on the board as treasurer.
She also touched on information regarding Bargains Galore on 64 (garage sale from Beebe to Fort Smith to be held Aug. 12-14. She also said a town hall meeting is planned for the fall with all political candidates invited.
• Code enforcement — For the year, Fowlkes said, 38 building permits have been issued including 24 single family and five duplexes. In June, he said, 21 building inspections were issued and 11 in July.
Sewer department It was said a part-time employee has been hired to man the office. They are continuing to take applications for a plant operator.
• Resident Don Smith questioned the council and Firestone regarding the Vilonia Sports Association’s financial statements. He challenged the council concerning their leniency, he said, in requiring the organization to submit them monthly for public review.
"Why isn’t the city council getting itemized statements,?" he asked. There was discussion concerning VSA collecting money from gate intake and concessions. It was said the VSA uses the money to go toward running the athletic programs as well as doing the field work while the city pays for all utilities and maintenance.
Smith reminded the council as to their requirement of the sewer department as well as the other city entities to provide complete financial statements.
"When are we going to have oversight on the VSA and where the money is going?," Smith reiterated. A couple of council members voiced that there has been requests to the VSA for itemized financial statements but are yet to be provided. Firestone ended the discussion telling Smith "I’ll make that request."