The City of Crossett was approved for and received burn permits to dispose of debris from recent storm damage.

Public Works Director Jeff Harrsion reported Monday to the City Council that the permits were in and the city was ready to start burning at their approved site near the Crossett Sports Complex.

Harrison said the location was chosen because it was the most fitting for what the ADEQ required and because it was a natural gulley. Harrison also told the council that the city purchased an ad in the local newspaper to notify the public that the site was off limits to the public and no other person could dump in the area.

The city’s permit is for 120 days, but Harrison said that he expected to have to ask for an extension because of the high amount of debris that has already been collected.

Councilwoman Lynn Rodgers told the council she was happy to see a temporary solution, but the city needed to do something permanent about the lawn and limb problem.

The city picked up more than 2,000 loads of limbs in August and already picked up nearly 1,000 in September so far.

The council also discussed the city’s response to August’s storms, and Rodgers asked Police Chief J.W. Cruce to give a report on the power point presentation the city had been provided regarding disasters and disaster funding.

Cruce reported that the power point requested that the city have three designated people responsible for the paper work and reporting required by FEMA. Cruce said that the first responders were generally tied up during disaster events and so the record keepers would need to be either volunteers or city workers from other departments.

Cruce also suggested that the Crosssett Sports Complex be set as the staging area for natural disasters or other chaotic events like the major fire at Georgia Pacific’s former plywood mill last year. Cruce said that area works well because of its size and location.

In other news:

4The council approved Councilwoman Crystal Marshall’s plan for Halloween in Lakewood.

The Crossett Police Department will block off the Lakewood neighborhood to traffic, and alternative drop off points and parking will be announced at a later date. Marshall pointed out that the goal of the new plan is to ensure safety and not keep people out.

The neighborhood businesses and residents are planning activities to welcome people to the area, but designated parking will be across the road and pick off and drop off points will be clearly described in a map that will be published at a later time.

“The way the traffic was, an ambulance couldn’t get in there if needed and it just wasn’t safe, and we want to stress that this more about safety not about keeping people out,” Lakewood resident Lori Walsh said. “We want people to come, but we want the emergency responders to be able to navigate the neighborhood as well.”

4Fire Chief Bo Higgonbotham discussed the fire department’s ambulance policy with the council because some of the council members were concerned about the “no additional riders” policy currently in place at Crossett.

Higgintbotham explained that when traveling at high rates of speed, he wants to limit any unnecessary people in case of an accident, and therefore the current policy only allows minors, people with communication barriers, and other special specific situations.

Rodgers suggested that something be put in writing so that it can be handed out in the event of an emergency and that the ambulance drivers weren’t discussing policy when they needed to be driving someone to a hospital.

“This is so they aren’t standing there fighting when they need to be moving,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers also suggested a waiver of liability, but City Attorney James Hamiliton explained that the the city was only liable for up to $25,000 per person as that was the what the current insurance policy stated.

“Other than that, there is no liability.” Hamilton said.

Rodgers requested that a policy be put in writing.

4Representatives from the Crossett Water Commission announced that they were approved for a loan and should be purchasing new water meters soon. The current meters are old and not only causing the city to lose money, but also causing confusion with the customers.

4Claude Spainhour with the Crossett Sewer Commission presented the council with numbers of the current rates, which are $15.38 per household, and said he figured that they would need to be increased to around $33.88 per household in order to fund the East Crossett sewer project.

The number was hypothetical because the city still doesn’t know what grants it will receive in connection with the project.

The council decided to talk about the matter again once the grant applications were rejected or denied.

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