Practicing social distancing, the Mena City Council met in the Council Room of City Hall for their September monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 9. All six council members were present for the meeting.
Airport Manager Fred Ogden shared with the Council that fuel sales for August were “just about normal” and crews were laying down the last of the asphalt for Taxiway Bravo with the top coat being laid down during the morning of Sept. 9, 2020.
Charles Hankins provided the monthly report on behalf of the Mena Fire Department. Hankins stated the month was busy answering 23 incidents - most of which were weather related. Of the 23 service calls: 12 service calls, four false alarms, two aircraft standbys, one vehicle fire, one auto extrication, three calls of smoke investigations in structures, five personnel which assisted in a water rescuen the county, three personnel who assisted in a search party at Black Fork Wilderness Trail, two firefights who completed fire academy emergency vehicle driving and three firefighter greeted Louise Durham students during the first day of school. Fire safety inspections were conducted for the Mena School District as well as fire extinguisher training to a local agency and service testing hoses on two trucks. Repairs were made to the tornado siren at station one and mechanical repairs were conducted on two of the department’s trucks. During the recent floods, the department filled and distributed 300 sandbags to area businesses and homeowners.
Jay Quebedeaux, CEO, of Mena Regional Health System shared that COVID-19 tests were still available at the clinic and a unit remains open at MRHS in case of a COVID-19 outbreak in the area. According to Quebedeaux, team members have been able to segregate during emergencies and handle the current volume of patients. August was much closer to pre-COVID-19 numbers. There were 25 babies born, 129 patients were admitted, 96 surgeries, 666 emergency department visits, 2,644 outpatient treatments and saw 1,904 in the clinic. Council member Dwight Douglas expressed accolades to Quebedeaux and his staff members who treated and cared for his wife during the past week. Quebedeaux commented on his appreciation of staff members on their work with COVID-19 and how they have handled the situations “like champs.” Mena Mayor Seth Smith also expressed his appreciation to the MRHS staff members.
During the month of August, Mena Police Chief Tommy Stueart reported 368 total calls for service; 94 misdemeanor, non-drug arrests/citations; 37 felony drug arrests; seven misdemeanor drug arrests, 129 written or verbal warnings and worked twelve accidents.
Mayor Smith reported on the repairs conducted at Prairie Creek from the flooding which included replacing the culverts. Additional work will be done once the are dries out. Also replaced at Prairie Creek at Bethesda was the riff raff and placing field dirt and rock.
The Wastewater Treatment Plant did not have any violations during the month of August.
The Finance Committee met on Thursday, Sept. 3 and discussed sidewalk bids, the purchase of a building for the city, the purchase of an escalator for the street department, discussion of the Williams property and a land purchase for the water department for the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility.
Resolution 1391 was adopted by the Council authorizing the Mayor, City Clerk/Treasurer and City attorney to rectify the acceptance of a 100 percent grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in the amount of $2,996,214.00 for the construction phase of the Runway 17/35 Rehabilitation and to approve the acceptance of a 90/10 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in the amount of $430,452.00 for improvements to the Runway Safety Are (RSA) of Runway 17/35 at Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport.
Resolution 1391 was adopted authorizing the Mena Water Commission to purchase certain real property located off Polk Road 54 for the purpose of constructing a new wastewater treatment facility. The land consists of 73 acres with a purchase price of $210,000 plus closing costs. The appraised value of the land was $215,000. Through the land purchase, there will be a savings of $2,000,000 in the construction of the plant at the proposed location.
Other items of discussion from the evening’s meeting include a new excavator for the street department was purchased in the amount of $115,515.20, Tri-County Services was awarded the bid for the 2020 Sidewalk Improvement Program, an estimated amount of $9,727.60 would be an additional cost associated with the State-Aid Street Program bid for milling and overlay on Janssen Avenue and the Council approved the purchase of a five-inch supply line hose for the Mena Fire Department.