VILONIA — Fire Chief Keith Hillman informed the Vilonia City Council this week he is searching for land to build a new substation on the west side of the city.                                           

"We need one over there for ISO (fire-fighting capabilities) points," he said. "I’ve started actively looking for land, and I may have something solid in February to bring back to you." 

The council held its January meeting Tuesday night with only a few items on the agenda. Following Hillman’s report and with little discussion, the council also approved his request to hire two part-time firefighters Eric Duvall and Stan Jones.

Other business                                                  

• Mayor James Firestone made five appointments for 2011 including retaining Hillman as chief and Brad McNew as police chief. Also, he announced Danny Rasmussen will remain as the city attorney, Stephan Hawks as city judge and Marcus Vaden as city prosecutor.                                                                                        

• At the request of officials with the Senior Citizen’s Center, the council approved the appropriation of $135 per week for three months to the center allowing them to pay a current employee for 18 hours a week. It was said the monetary assistance will allow center officials time to find an alternative funding source.

• A housekeeping matter, the council approved an amendment to the 2010 budget resolution.         

Additional reports

• Alderman Art Pischke said he and alderman Kathy French have met once as a committee and have begun to explore ways to deal with stray dogs running at large in the city. He also said he has discussed possible ways of approaching a solution with officials at the spay and neuter clinic in Springhill where, he said, three veterinarians volunteer. He talked briefly about some ideas that, he said, are being proposed in the county including a countywide shelter. There are plans, he said, in the works to move forward regarding finding a solution. 

• Police Department — McNew said he has one police officer that is currently undergoing 13 weeks of training at the state training academy. He also said he will be hiring another officer within a short time. McNew said there has been no official determination yet as to the cause of the fire that occurred at his house earlier in the month burning a city vehicle as well as his wife’s personal vehicle and damaging his garage.                                                                                    

• Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce — Jill Bonnema of the chamber, said the organization has received several nominations for awards that will be handed out at the annual banquet to be held Feb. 19 at the Vilonia High School cafeteria.The board will meet Monday night, Bonnema said, with allowing officers to vote for Business of the Year, Youth of the Year, City Employee of the Year, School Employee of the Year, and Citizen of the Year.

• Firestone said he has not received the updated census report yet. However, he said, he is anxiously awaiting the arrival.