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Peabody City Council hires new city attorney

Staff writer

Heading the agenda of Monday night’s Peabody City Council meeting was an interview by council members of Norm Manley, an attorney from El Dorado.

City Administrator Mac Manning introduced Manley, who is a partner in the law firm Davis, Manley, and Lane, LLC. Manley serves as city attorney for several communities in the El Dorado area.

Manley gave a brief review of his background and his experience in municipal law.

After the interview, the council approved the hiring of Manley on a $500 per month retainer effective Oct. 1.

In other business:

  • Compensation was denied for Marty Stevenson and Terry Clover for items removed from their property in 2008 as part of a nuisance complaint by the city. Council members instructed Manning to contact the couple and inform them there will be no settlement, and the cost of the cleanup will be added to their property tax if it is not paid.
  • Doe Ann Hague asked for financial assistance to keep the HUB, a downtown youth center, open. A grant on which they depended for HUB operating expenses was denied. After lengthy discussion in which council members agreed the city has no money to offer, Councilman Tom Schmidt suggested the Hagues host a community meeting to raise awareness about the financial problems they have encountered. “If the community is interested in keeping it open they will attend the meeting and help with a funding plan,” Schmidt said. The city will consider providing water, sewer, and trash service at no charge after reviewing the cost of the services at the next meeting.
  • On a recommendation from Peabody Economic Development Committee, the council agreed to accept a bid from Chris Young for $3,000 to purchase the former city shop. The money from the sale of the building will be set aside to provide incentives to attract new businesses or assist existing businesses. The city will retain a “first right of refusal” option if Young should decide at some point to sell the facility.
  • Property that once housed the city steam plant will be given to USD 398 if the district agrees to pay any legal or publication fees to transfer the deed. The steam plant property, adjacent to the north end of the school track, is large enough to accommodate a parking lot, alleviating parking problems at school track meets.
  • Schmidt presented final costs to replace some playground equipment at the city park. The money will come from the Gladys Hart and Andy Shank memorial funds, city funds earmarked for the park, and from a donation made by Peabody Community Quilt Project Committee. The council gave unanimous approval for the installation next month of five spring riders and a supernova at a cost of $16,000.
  • The economic development committee had been asked to propose the establishment of a community sign for business use only. Council members briefly discussed the topic, but since there was no firm proposal, no action was taken.
  • Peabody Main Street and Peabody Economic Development Director Shane Marler reported that the organization had been nominated for three Governor’s awards, work is progressing on façade renovation of the American Legion building, and a new “Shop Peabody” promotion is in the works. Marler said economic development members would host work sessions on business development policies and business incubators. He also noted that the popular Peabody Bucks program is being modified to make the bucks easier to use and redeem.
  • Health and Safety Officer Tammy Whiteside reviewed a list of nuisance properties with council members.
  • Manning reported progress at the new city shop building. Sheet rock has been installed in the police department.
  • Manning also reported that public works employee Ronnie Harms would begin a more aggressive plan to search for waterline valves that may have been “lost” during the past 100 years. Manning and Harms think some of the repairs and construction that had taken place may have by-passed or sealed valves that should still be a functioning part of the distribution system.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2009

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