September 17, 2014 Edition

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WR city employees to receive raise

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge city employees will receive a 50-cents-per-hour raise effective Sept. 15.

Alderman Ed Lawson said the raise, which will be the first salary increase in three years, is long overdue.

"They stuck with us and helped out when the city was experiencing a slow economy and money was tight," Lawson said. "I certainly think they deserve a raise now that we can afford to give them one."

Mayor Don House introduced the subject of raises at last month's council meeting, also commending the employees for their hard work and loyalty.

The raise excludes the city attorney, who received a pay increase earlier in the year. The mayor is also excluded because the motion for the pay increase was made by Alderman Ed Lawson, who is a mayoral candidate in the upcoming election.

Mayor House told the council that things are going well for the city as the economy rebounds. "We weathered the decrease in revenue without increasing taxes and still were able to improve our water and sewer systems," House said. "Our employees are to be commended."

The council also discussed the wording of a vicious dog ordinance, intended to protect citizens from dangerous animals. Several questions were raised about the ordinance, which was written by the committee appointed at last month's meeting to deal with the issue. The ordinance is still being discussed and no action was taken. It will be on next month's agenda or a special meeting may be called to pass the ordinance.

Councilmen were asked to join the mayor in celebrating the 227th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States during National Constitution Week Sept. 17-23. A proclamation declaring Sept 17-23 as Constitution Week in Walnut Ridge was unanimously approved.

Clay Sloan, an attorney and lifetime resident of Walnut Ridge, and retired Lt. Col. Lloyd Clark of Powhatan, a Lawrence County native and retired civics and history teacher, were appointed to the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Board of Commissioners. Sloan will complete Neil Vaccari's unexpired term, and Clark will complete the remainder of Billie Gail Dunlap's term. Both Dunlap and Vaccari recently moved away from Lawrence County .

In other business:

  • the council passed an ordinance accepting the Hilburn building at 209 West Main as a gift from Annette Hilburn and the Hilburn family. Mayor House expressed gratitude to Hilburn and her family. The council was informed the city will pay closing costs and that taxes on the property are up to date.

  • an ordinance to waive bids for trash pickup was passed and Downum Waste Service, Inc., whose contract with the city has expired, will sign a new contract for 2014-2015.

  • council members passed an ordinance waiving competitive bidding on a new police car that will be financed through Iberiabank. They will borrow $25,027 at 3.49 percent interest for up to 60 months.

  • progress being made on demolishing the condemned building adjacent to the Workforce Center on West Elm and repairs to a building owned by Jack Krepps at the airport were discussed. Progress is slow but is underway, according to Mayor House. The building on West Elm is supposed to be demolished and the slab cleared by Oct. 22.

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