The Lepanto City Council voted to hire Robby Betts to manage the sports complex after the previous manager quit.
Michael Pierce and Kevin Truelove gave a sports complex update to the city council, which resulted in the decision. Pierce said Anthony Smith, the previous manager, became overwhelmed and was not performing the duties required of him, such as mowing and bringing in tournaments.
“There’s a lot of Bermuda grass growing where the baselines were cut out,” Pierce said. “We need someone to maintain it. Eventually, tournaments could help the sports complex pay for itself once we get that going.”
“It’s an absolute embarrassment to the city,” Truelove said. “The sports complex belongs to the city. The city should be managing it. Ninety-five percent of the work has been done by volunteers. The city has done nothing to promote it. Is it totally the responsibility of volunteers to get things done?”
Pierce and Truelove are part of an advisory committee for the sports complex that the city council set up, but the committee has no authority to make any decisions, such as hiring people to run the ballpark.
The city council decided it was time to appoint a commission with authority to run the sports complex, but that requires an ordinance. The council will have to wait until next month’s meeting for an ordinance to be prepared. In the meantime, the council voted unanimously to hire Betts at $300 to mow and maintain the sports complex.
The council also voted to buy trimming equipment and to have irrigation installed on the two fields that do not have irrigation. The trimming equipment will come to around $1,000 and the irrigation will cost $2,500 per field.
The council passed an ordinance abandoning the west end of Russell Street, which has not been used in more than five years. This was after the planning committee voted to abandon the property and no opposition was raised at a public hearing.
The council reviewed an ambulance purchase agreement and passed a resolution authorizing the agreement. Riverside Ambulance Inc. wishes to purchase the ambulance from the city. The ambulance is worth $940 salvaged and the council offered to sell the ambulance for $1,000. Riverside Ambulance Inc. will give an answer after upper management has the chance to review the offer.
Mayor Steve Jernigan gave an update on the dog pound. He said the slab is poured and the water hooked up. All that is needed now is a roof structure and a dog catcher. Jernigan estimated the dog pound would need a budget of $5,000 to finish out the year but noted that money is tight. The council could not find a place in the city’s budget to take the needed money from and took no action on the matter. Jernigan said city hall receives several dog complaints every week.
The council also heard from Bob Cordrick, a spokesman for Delta Environmental, regarding garbage collection. Cordrick said Delta Environmental had brought in new people and retrained their current employees. He added he had looked at the routes and fixed them. Instead of having only one truck available for residential pickup, there will now be three trucks, which he said will help get all the garbage picked up. Together with the two days of commercial pickup, “we’ll have a total of five trucks in Lepanto every week,” Cordrick said. “The problems will be solved quickly. We’ve got all the trucks in good shape now and have the drivers trained right.”
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality fined Lepanto $2,400 for operating without a sewer pump. The council authorized Mayor Jernigan to sign the consent order if the penalty is waived.