Rep. Nicks honored by Marion City Council
State legislator recognized for Municipal League honors
At the recent Marion City Council meeting, Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman presented State Representative Milton Nicks with a plaque from the Arkansas Municipal League, which was given to him earlier this summer, recognizing Nicks for his strong voting record on helping Arkansas’ cities and towns.
“All of our delegation – Nicks, Deborah Ferguson and Keith Ingram were all recognized by the League,” Fogleman said.” “But only Senator Ingram was able to make it to the actual event.
So I picked up the awards for Ferguson and Nicks. I told him that I wanted to give him the plaque and Milton agreed to come to the council meeting.
Milton has been very open minded and cooperative when the League has an issue. So we gave him his plaque.”
In other council business:
• Marion Police and Fire Departments say their new radios sound crystal clear and will allow them to communicate as far away as Little Rock.
“The radios work great,” said Police Chief Gary Kelley. “It was one of the best things we ever did.”
Marion spent $158,000 for 41 new radios for police and 41 for the fire department in June 2018 from Motorola. The radios are only now being put to use because the city had to get permission from Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) to add frequencies to the cell tower at Shell Lake until Motorola is able to build its own tower. Motorola has over 100 towers across Arkansas. The towers provide better radio reception with a broader geographical reach and allow police and fire departments to communicate with over 900 local, state, and federal agencies who are also on AWIN.
Kelley said he called one of his officers on the radio who lives in Harrisburg and the signal sounded like he was talking to him in person.
“We can probably go pretty much anywhere around the state now and talk,” Kelley said. “I could hear him better than I can hear you (on a cell phone).”
Kelley added that the department has also just finished install all of the radios in the patrol cars as well.
• The Council passed a property tax resolution continuing the millage rate at 5 mils for 2020.
• Renewed the city’s health insurance with Cigna for a second year.
Fogleman said they received competitive bids from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and Arkansas Municipal League but voted to stay with Cigna because it was cheaper. “We were actually able to negotiate a reduction,” Fogleman said. “The cost of health insurance going down isn’t something you hear a lot in a sentence. And the employees don’t have to have a new health card and they don’t have to change their doctor/hospital/clinic relationships they’ve had.”
• Building Inspector Jerry Kelley updated the Council on the progress of the addition to the police station and a report on the renovations to Fire Station No. 2. The addition at the police station will add 2,000 square feet and give the department two new offices, an expanded evidence locker, case file storage area, and equipment room. The city served as its own contractor on the project, a first for the city.
“It’s coming along pretty good,” Kelley said. “They are finishing the electrical work and when they get done they will be able to come in and finish putting the ceiling in. Hopefully by the middle of August they can be in there.” Kelley added that they will also begin paving the parking lot this week.
Chief Kelley said he plans to use one of the offices for a training room and is very pleased with the results.
“It’s going to be great,” Chief Kelley said. “We’re going to have a lot more elbow room.”
On Fire Station No. 2, Fogleman said Jerry Kelley put down the footing for the addition and that (Street Department Director) Gordon (Floyd) has laid the foundation for the additional equipment bays.
The city will be renovating the kitchen, sleeping area, rest room, and day area in the existing building, and building a non-attached 60-foot-by-40-foot building with two 21-foot bays with 14-foot-tall doors to store fire equipment. “The last time I was there last week there was a big hole there that was full of water from the rain and they were pumping the water out,” Fogleman said. “Since then they have added more dirt and are compacting it in increments. They get the roller in and they compact it and then they bring another lift of dirt in so it is going to be sturdy and strong. So they are making progress there.” Fogleman said they have not relocated the water and sewer line underneath where the addition to the sleeping quarters will be added yet.