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City Council Hires Police Officer; New Venue for Recycling Looks Promising

By Sue Curry Jones

Convening for the last business session in May, the Ava Board of Aldermen met on Tuesday, May 24 at 5:00 p.m.  Councilmen present were Stan Lovan, Leon Harris and Burrely Loftin. East Ward Alderman Keith Jones was absent.

Acting on recommendations from the planning and zoning commis­sion, councilmen approved rezoning two city properties as requested.  The application for change, on both properties, had been submitted by Century Bank of the Ozarks.  The request included the following locations: 1006 SW 4th Avenue, owned by Larry Allen, which was changed from R-2 Two-Family residential to B-3 General Business; and 1102 SW 4th Avenue, owned by Richard Allen, which was changed from B-2 Central Business to B-3 General Business.  Public hearings on both sites were held Tuesday, May 17.

Councilmen approved the recom-mendations with a 3-0 vote.

Mayor David Norman reported the City of Ava and Douglas County are working together to find a recycling venue for the community, and the project is showing promise.

Norman noted he has been working with Douglas County Presiding Commis­sioner Lance Stillings to find a solution, and the two recently visited the current recycling site at 1306 NW 9th Street to inventory items and get a better idea of what was available for use.  Norman said it was difficult to determine what equipment was actually obtainable, but after the visit, both parties had a better sense of what needed to done.

Analyzing equipment offerings, Norman said it appeared there were 2-3 fork lifts in working condition, and 2-3 that were non-operational.  He noted 12 homemade trailers, a pallet jack, balers, compactors, and a scale.  Additional equipment pieces, such as a glass crusher were on site, but after looking at the apparatus, it was difficult to assess whether or not it was in working condition.

Norman advised that Stillings had already discussed recycling with Jeff Searcy at J & L Recycling, south of Ava, and both officials visited with Searcy at his business location last week.  After discussing prospects, and the current recycling situation, Norman said Searcy was open to the added responsibility.

Norman stated city and county personnel have promised to support Searcy’s recycling efforts with in-kind gifts and grant opportunities. And, at present, he was encouraged by the progress and the prospect of a new site.

Norman noted a meeting with Jim Brown, administrator of the current recycling center, had been scheduled last week, but was canceled for personal reasons.  Another meeting will be rescheduled.

The Mayor reported estimates on additional city projects are still underway.  Norman noted he had contacted Huff Asphalt about the City Hall parking lot and Wickman Gardens about landscaping around the building; however, he was not ready to present bids until additional estimates were submitted.  The three upgrades under consideration are focused on City Hall and include landscaping, maintenance on the retaining wall, and refinishing the parking lot.

Addressing a request from the last city council session, Mayor Norman said the ordinance banning use of motorized bicycles, electric scooters or unlicensed vehicles on city sidewalks and streets will stand as an illegal offense subject to fines.

Norman advised that city staff members had contacted several municipalities to inquire about their rules on the issue, and findings were split –– Mansfield and Gainesville have no rules dictating the use of “motorized bicycles,” but Mountain Grove and Seymour ban the vehicles.  Consequently, Ava will keep the ordinances.

In closed session, city councilmen hired Julie Nieson as a police officer for Ava Police Department.  Nieson currently works in the department as a part-time dispatcher, but has experience as an officer and is post certified for police officer safety training.   The vote was 3-0.

Norman advised the pump for the gasoline system at the airport, which cost the City $4,000, did not fit the system as planned.  He said the aviation gas provider is working on the issue.

The board of aldermen will meet again on Tuesday, June 14, at 5:00 p.m. at Ava City Hall.  Meetings are open to the public.