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Board appointments highlight monthly Samburg meeting

Board appointments highlight monthly Samburg meeting
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A familiar face is returning to the Samburg board of aldermen.
Former alderman Johnnie Johnson has been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Gerald Reed, who resigned last month.
Johnson attended Monday night’s Samburg mayor and board of aldermen meeting and will officially return to the board next month.
He was one of two city residents who expressed interest in the vacant seat. Grant Reed also attended Monday night’s meeting and had asked to be considered for the vacancy. However, a motion by board member Eddie Fickle to appoint Johnson to the board was approved by a 3-2 vote. Voting for Fickle’s motion were board members Fickle, Shelly Arnett and Juni Fickle. Voting against the motion were board members Joe Denton and Sharon Cunningham.
Johnson had previously served on the board, but did not seek re-election this past fall.
Also during Monday night’s near 50-minute meeting, the board appointed Mrs. Arnett to the Reelfoot Lake Regional Utility and Planning District board to fill Al Hamilton’s vacancy on that board.
Mrs. Arnett’s appointment was approved by a 4-1 vote and followed considerable discussion about controversy involving the utility board.
“We need somebody to vote ‘no’ at this meeting,” Denton said as he referred to a meeting scheduled for Thursday involving a final vote on a 15 percent rate increase.
Voting for Mrs. Arnett’s appointment were board members Eddie Fickle, Denton, Ms. Cunningham and Mrs. Arnett. Mrs. Fickle voted against the appointment as she lobbied to put off appointing a city representative to the utility board for at least a month. She pushed to delay action on the appointment and give some time for controversial issues to be resolved.
Initially, the board tried to appoint Mayor Larry Gene Davis to the utility board, but he stated he had a conflict due to his work as a basketball referee. His nomination was turned down by a 3-2 vote. Voting for Davis were board members Denton and Mrs. Arnett, while voting against his nomination were board members Eddie and Juni Fickle and Ms. Cunningham.
The Samburg board discussed ongoing legal issues as well as financial issues facing the Reelfoot Lake Regional Utility and Planning District. Another issue facing the utility board is its level of responsibility to help Samburg pay for needed street repairs. A recent engineering study documented the deteriorating condition of 13 streets on the north side of town.
The engineering survey was actually done in November 2012 by L.I. Smith & Associates Inc. of Paris and the street report was presented to the Samburg board at its meeting last month. Company representative Larry Smith recommended the city do the street repair work in phases. There has been no official cost estimate to repair the city streets.
In other action Monday night, the board:
• Authorized Davis and Samburg Police Chief James Hack to spend up to $17,493 to purchase a new police car for the city.
The city’s current police car was heavily damaged during recent storms that flooded the intersection of Highways 21 and 22, known locally as “the Y.” Hack responded to a dispatch to assist a woman trapped in her car on the flooded roadway. During his rescue of the woman, his patrol car sustained significant water damage and the insurance company declared the vehicle totaled. That resulted in an insurance settlement of $17,943.
The city used $450 of the insurance settlement to buy back the totaled patrol car and will use the rest of the proceeds to purchase a used patrol car from another law enforcement agency.
The city also can use a $5,000 state grant to equip the new patrol car.
The mayor and police chief are expected to travel to Jefferson City, Mo., to look at some used Missouri Highway Patrol cars. Meanwhile, Hack is using a patrol vehicle on loan from the Obion County Sheriff’s Department, for which he publicly thanked the local sheriff’s department at Monday’s meeting.
• Tabled action on a proposed job description policy for the city recorder. The proposed policy is expected to come up for a vote at next month’s meeting.
• Was informed by Fickle that he will resume work on the new City Hall building and he expects to begin moving in to the new facility by next month. Also, a layer of gravel is scheduled to be installed in the parking area this month, according to Fickle.
Published in The Messenger 2.5.13