By KEVIN BOWDEN
Samburg city officials are facing tough decisions on whether to sell the City Hall building and how to replace the city’s police car, but at Monday night’s hour-long mayor and board of aldermen meeting the board did approve a tourism plan submitted by board member Eddie Fickle.
At Monday night’s session, Samburg resident David Luat formally offered the city $75,000 for its City Hall building, which is located next door to his residence. The board tabled action on the proposal until next month’s meeting, which will give Fickle time to look into the availability of property in the city and also the costs involved with building a new City Hall.
A decision by the Samburg board is also pending concerning how to replace the city’s patrol car.
Samburg Police Chief James Hack recently totaled his patrol car in a crash caused by deer in the roadway. An insurance settlement of $6,634 has been offered to the city to replace the patrol car, and the city voted Monday night to buy the totaled vehicle for $500 and transfer some of the equipment from that vehicle to another patrol car.
It was announced Monday night that the Hornbeak Police Department has offered to sell Samburg one of its two patrol cars for about $1,600. Samburg Mayor Larry Gene Davis, city recorder Mary Swain and Hack were scheduled to attend Tuesday night’s Hornbeak mayor and board of aldermen meeting to discuss the purchase of the patrol car.
Hack recommended to the Samburg board that the city buy the patrol car from Hornbeak, saying it was a good investment.
It was during the opening minutes of Monday night’s board meeting that Fickle recommended the city spend about $3,600 a year, which will cover the cost for a new website promoting Samburg and Reelfoot Lake to tourists. He told the board the website will cost about $300 to get established and it would cost about $100 to $150 a year to maintain.
Most of the $3,600 would go toward a new billboard that will be set up between Sikeston and Hayti, Mo., off I-55. The billboard will be lighted at night and will feature a sunset image of Reelfoot Lake with the caption, “See the sunsets on beautiful Reelfoot Lake!”
The city’s new website address will be printed across the bottom of the billboard.
Also, the billboard will be changed every six months, with the winter billboard promoting Reelfoot Lake to waterfowl hunters.
The city will work with General Outdoor Advertising of Sikeston to set up the billboard, according to Fickle. He told the board the city has about $11,000 in its tourism account.
“I’ve done a lot of work on this already,” Fickle said.
He provided board members with a six-page report from General Outdoor Advertising, which documented an average of 18,625 vehicles passed by the billboard daily in 2009.
Only board member Woody Cook voted against spending the money for the website and billboard.
Fickle described the website and billboard project as a “double barrel” approach to tourism development.
“The Internet draws a lot of people,” he said.
The new billboard is expected to be up within the next month.
Also during Monday night’s meeting, the board:
• Was advised that due to insurance concerns the city cannot rent out city equipment for use on private property.
• Discussed, but took no action on, more than $20,000 that is still owed to the city from a legal settlement. The mayor said he would look into the city’s options to collect the settlement and will report to the board next month.
• Approved a $2,400 bill from Bonnie Hamilton’s attorney, Kent Gearin, that will have to be paid by the city following a ruling in Obion County Chancery Court.
• Listened to praise related to the city’s response to last month’s flooding. The mayor praised all those involved in helping the city deal with all the flooding in late April into May. Last month’s flooding even canceled the board’s May meeting.
• Was advised of concerns related to board member Johnnie Johnson’s alleged behavior. Several parents attended Monday night’s meeting, along with a couple of youngsters, to complain about Johnson’s actions at the city park.
It was Cook who was the most vocal among board members, saying he had received complaints regarding Johnson.
Johnson was absent from Monday night’s meeting, and in his absence there was considerable criticism about his recent behavior.
“He’s out of control,” Samburg resident Butch Archer said during Monday night’s meeting.
Cook described the situation as “a pretty big problem” and said he was “irate.”
There was a lengthy and lively discussion about how to handle the problem, but at the end of the board meeting the mayor announced he would talk to Johnson about the complaints against him.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.8.11