VILONIA — Five tornado related resolutions were approved, Tuesday night, by the Vilonia City Council.
The first resolution, 2014-2, allows the city to enter an agreement with Faulkner County for the removal of tornado debris. Mayor James Firestone said he is grateful to County Judge Allen Dodson for partnering with the city. The partnership will allow the county to recover costs from FEMA. Firestone also spoke briefly about the “volume of the job.”
“We didn’t have the personnel or the equipment for the job,” Firestone said. “There is a lot more debris than in 2011.”
If a homeowner has insurance to pay for the removal of the debris, Firestone said, it will have to be done by a private contractor and it can’t be dumped at the city dump sites.
“FEMA doesn’t want to pay twice,” Firestone added. The debris removal period is 120 days from April 29. The ordinance also has a section regarding damaged vehicles, left abandoned, which says the police department may have them moved to a central storage location.
The second resolution, 2014-3, provides for a waiver of building permits and fees for repairing or rebuilding of houses and businesses for a one-year period.
The third resolution, 2014-4, gives Firestone the nod of approval to apply for a $150,000 road paving grant, through the Arkansas Rural Development, in regard to S. Mount Olive Road. The fourth resolution, 2014-5, allows Firestone to apply for a grant, through the ARD, in the amount of $150,000 to construct a new maintenance building.
The last resolution, 2014-6, allows Firestone to apply for a $50,000 grant, through the ARD, for repairs to the existing fire station.
In other business, the council approved entering into a contract with Diamond Crete at a cost of $31,900 for a city hall floor project. The money for the project, Firestone said, is an overage of tax money that was left over when the city hall was paid off and the funds must go to a building project.
The council also approved a bid of $79,647. 82 to Paladino & Nash Inc. in Conway, for a water and sewer contract, on S. Mount Olive to the ballpark and a new city maintenance building. Firestone said there were nine bids.
Fire department: Chief Keith Hillman said there was tornado damage to the main fire station building. He anticipates it being fixed by the end of the week.
Planning commission: Fred Fowlkes, city engineer/building inspector, said there will be a meeting at 7 p.m., May 29, where the Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA) will address the commission regarding rebuilding Vilonia.
“They want to talk to us about branding Vilonia,” Fowlkes said. Also, he said they are suggesting that Vilonia adopt a theme “as we rebuild.” MLRA is a coalition of 12 counties (Clark, Conway, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lonoke, Perry, Pulaski, Saline and White) dedicated to central Arkansas becoming recognized as the premier location for new and expanding business within the mid-south. Another presentation, Fowlkes said, a representative of Vilonia Tech is also scheduled to provide energy saving techniques that can be built into homes.
Code enforcement/building permits. There have been no new building permits in the past month Fowlkes said. However, he said there has been three permits for the rebuilding of houses as a result of the tornado He anticipates he will be issuing “a lot more” over the next couple of weeks.
He said he has also had an inquiry regarding Complete Block Company, a Missouri company, opening a business in the city.
Police Department. A repeater for the police department “went down” due to the tornado and another one had to be purchased, said Chief Brad McNew, during the immediate aftermath of the tornado. An emergency situation, Firestone approved the purchase at a cost of $6,430. Also, a deer was hit by a patrolman causing about $4,000 in damages to a police cruiser. The insurance has sent a check and paid the repair costs minus the deductible, McNew added.
McNew said new tires need to be purchased for the entire fleet of police vehicles due to the scattering of glass and nails as a result of the tornado. “We keep plugging and plugging,” Mc New said. “And, we keep having flats.”