Manila council meets over the phone

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner met with city council members, city clerk, city treasurer and an NEA Town Courier newspaper reporter on a conference call Thursday. Mayor Wagner updated city leaders on ways the city is conducting business in an effort to stay within the state recommendations during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Council members on the conference call included Donnie Wagner, Wendell Poteet, William Barnhart, Steve Milligan and Jason Baltimore.

Mayor Wagner informed the council the tornado sirens were being tested and would be tested every Wednesday at noon if the weather is clear and the sun is shining.

“We want to get the word out to the public we will be testing the sirens once a week if the weather is good,” Mayor Wagner said.

He also informed the council city workers are on what Mayor Wagner called a ‘virus schedule’.

They are working six hours a day and keeping as much distance as possible.

“That way they eat before they come to work, work six hours and do not have to eat out and when they go home, they can stay home,” Mayor Wagner said. “It seems to be working out well and we will probably keep this schedule through April.”

Cathy Huddleston, city treasurer, said the office staff is going into the office a couple days a week to make deposits on the water bills, etc.

They are working from home and there is a phone system set up so they can answer it at home and direct the calls to the right person.

The revenue office in Manila City Hall is presently open five days a week. Mayor Wagner said only one customer is in the office at a time.The regular schedule for the Manila Revenue Office is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On a normal schedule, the revenue office is open at Leachville City Hall on Thursday and Friday.

Since the Leachville City Hall is closed due to COVID-19, the revenue office is temporarily open in Manila Monday through Friday.

Mayor Wagner said the new garbage truck has arrived.

“I have talked to the employees and encouraged them to take ownership of it,” he said. “The expansion and work at the pool is on schedule. We are not sure if we will be allowed to open on the scheduled date, we will have to wait and see. The first of the new water meter kits are coming in and if weather permits, we will be starting to install the new meters. I am sending you all a copy of the floor plan for the new concession stand at the park. If you have any suggestions or see any need for change, please let me know as soon as possible.”

Mayor Wagner said he would send council members an update on the budget and they can discuss it at the next phone conference on Thursday.

The Mayor and Council will meet for a phone conference at noon on Thursday, April 9, and at noon each Wednesday through April to continue to update the council and share any concerns and issues.

The council decided to meet for the regular April meeting on the third Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Community Center so there will be ample room to arrange chairs in a safe zone (at least six feet apart). Both entry doors will be open.

“If we can get through April, hopefully things will start to get better,” Mayor Wagner said.

He said he is taking his lead based on the Governor’s recommendations on the school closings.

“If it is necessary to close our schools, we need to adhere to the same recommendations for our city and our parks,” he said.

Councilman Baltimore is the IT director for the Manila School District. He said he had talked to Ritter Communications about placing Wifi boosters around the ballpark or other places in town to help kids do their school work online.