On Tuesday, June 22nd, the Ava Board of Aldermen convened for a business session at 5 p.m.
Chamber of Commerce Agreement
Most of the discussion at the meeting revolved around the renewal of the city’s agreement with the Chamber of Commerce which includes yearly support of $30,000.
Members of the Chamber of Commerce board were present to answer some concerns raised by Alderman Keith Jones at a previous council meeting.
Ava Chamber of Commerce Director Judy Shields responded to a number of issues that had been raised including holiday bonuses, projects being awarded to high bidders, and canceled events.
Last year’s Chamber budget included a line item for $2000 in holiday bonuses. Shields explained that the Chamber board decided to pay bonuses to both herself and assistant Nina Carter to make up for reduced hours and reduced pay the two had taken during a time when the Chamber was seeing a COVID-related reduction in member dues and advertising fees.
Projects & Bids
Director Shields said there was a year where the project of printing the chamber books had been awarded to a low-bidding supplier who then had to come back for another $200 to cover the costs of unexpected edits. That $200 put the total cost of the project higher than the next bidder had submitted (full disclosure – the 2nd bidder was the Douglas County Herald).
Shields said that a number of events had been canceled in 2020 due to the Coronavirus. Additionally the 2019 Glade Top Trail event was canceled due to expected inclement weather.
City Council members made it clear that they weren’t looking to punish or control the Chamber.
“We are behind the chamber,” said Stan Lovan. “It’s just that none of the Chambers in the ten or twelve towns around us get money from the city they are in.”
“We can best support business by funding city amenities,” said Keith Jones. “The pool, parks, the square, streets, water, sewer, and electric that businesses rely on. We’re just trying to be fiscally responsible.”
The City Council tabled the vote to renew the Chamber of Commerce agreement until a full council could be present for the vote.
The Aldermen voted 3-0 to increase the trash rates as discussed at the last City Council meeting.
Request for Qualifications – CDBG Street Grant
Mayor Burrely Loftin reported that he and Aldermen Noel Dye and Stan Lovan had opened bids for the work and chose the company of Bartlett and Martin. Loftin said they would soon have a meeting to map out which streets in the NE quadrant of Ava would be addressed by the work.
The Aldermen voted 3-0 to purchase two digital speed-sensing radar signs for the Ava Police to place around town to show motorists their current speed. The cost for two portable signs was $5500.
Mayor Loftin reported that the new park pavilion was ready for a cement floor to be poured this Friday. BBQ grills were on order.
Loftin said work had restarted on the gazebo in the square now that the Discover the Ozarks festival was done. He said stonework was being applied to the uprights.
During the closed portion of the meeting, the Aldermen voted 3-0 to hire Caleb Miles to the brush crew to replace an employee who left.
Police Chief David Overcast requested to restructure the police officers and promote Corporal Dwayne Butterworth to Lieutenant and Officer David Strubble to Corporal. Overcast also requested a reserve officer program, using retired or deputies that are off work that day to cover shifts in order to reduce overtime. The Aldermen voted 3-0 in favor of both issues.
Alderman Noel Dye was absent.
Video from the Ava Board of Aldermen meeting will be posted to the Douglas County Herald’s website at douglascountyherald.com.
City officials and aldermen will reconvene on July 13th at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.