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Magnolia Awarded $20,000 Grant for Improvements to City Hall

The city of Magnolia has been awarded a $20,000 grant for improvements to be made at city hall. 
Mayor Vann will request that the improvements include a new air conditioning unit for city hall in order to lower the utility expense.  This is a General Improvement Funded Community Enhancement Grant (GIF) from the Arkansas Department of Rural Services and can only be used for the purpose of improvements to city hall.  The mayor would like to thank Sen. Bruce Maloch for his efforts in this grant process. 
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Magnolia Wins for Main Street Preservation

Sidewalk_Pics_before.pdf   Sidwalk_pictures_after.pdf

Courtesy of Magnolia Reporter

Magnolia has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Arkansas Business City of Distinction in the Main Street Preservation Category for cities with a population of 5,000 - 20,000.                                                                      

Presented by Crews and Associates and in partnership with the Arkansas Municipal League and Crafton Tull, City of Distinction awards honor outstanding work in cities across the state.                                                        

The application was sent in on behalf of the sidewalk project to downtown Magnolia which was completed in 2013.

Mayor Parnell Vann extended his appreciation to the city employees and collaborators that worked on the sidewalk project.

Magnolia will be recognized in an Arkansas Business magazine special supplement in December 2014. Awards will be presented at the winter meeting of the Arkansas Municipal League.

In 1999, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department issued an 80/20 grant to the city of Magnolia for funding of the sidewalk reconstruction. In 2011, most of the money provided by the grant had been used but only three of the four phases of the project were complete.

In 2012, the City Council voted to budget $25,000, which was 20 percent of the funding, to complete the sidewalks. The project was officially complete in May 2013.

Maintenance of the sidewalks has not been a nuisance or major expense. City employees are able to power wash and seal the sidewalks to restore the color.

The project was the first of its kind in Magnolia since the original sidewalks were constructed. No repairs or reconstruction work is anticipated for at least 25 years.

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Press Release Regarding City Pound

PRESS RELEASE

August 18, 2014

The conditions at our city pound are not ideal, and for that I am sorry. I do want everyone to understand how this has occurred. Part of our City’s animal control officer’s job is to pick up stray dogs throughout the town as complaints are received, or the dogs are observed roaming unchecked. The officer must then take them to the city pound. Sadly, most owners do not come forward when their dog is taken to the pound. At the time the dogs are picked up, the health condition of the dog and its history of care, if any, is unknown. It’s important to state that the city pound is a holding facility, not a rescue shelter. The city provides the pound as a service to the citizens in an effort to reduce roaming animals. However, no tax dollars are appropriated for animal care at the pound. If a dog comes in sick, there is a good chance that dog will infect the rest of the dogs in the pound. The pound doesn’t have the funding or manpower to prevent this. We only have one animal control officer for the entire city, and he essentially works 7 days a week and is on call 24 hours a day. He is a one man show, and his job is understandably overwhelming at times. He does clean the pens, water and feed the dogs daily in an effort to provide basic care while they are at the pound.

Our City’s ordinance provides that the city may hold the dogs for up to 5 days. If no one claims the dog within those 5 days, then the city is authorized to euthanize the animal. This is a procedure by a local veterinarian for which we must pay. We obviously have not been utilizing this ordinance effectively, which has led to a situation that nobody wants. We have tried to find shelters or rescues to take the dogs so that we did not have to euthanize them, but that takes time. The circumstances leading to this current, unfortunate situation occurred when our animal control officer – while trying to do his job -- continued to take in dogs, and the numbers quickly added up to an unmanageable amount. Animal control did make this mistake, but it will not happen again. Animal control and I personally do not desire to enforce this ordinance by putting animals down, but we do have a responsibility to take difficult actions, when necessary, that are the most humane under the circumstances. It is our hope that these animals can be adopted out or picked up by their owners, but frankly, we receive such a large volume of animals due to negligent owners that I’m concerned that we will not be able to keep the appropriate numbers at the pound without euthanizing some animals.

In the meantime, the City is working to improve the pound as an overall facility. But it’s important to keep in mind that it will not likely ever measure up to all expectations, as it is not intended to be a long-term rescue shelter. It is not funded or manned for that.

The City of Magnolia’s population is around 12,000 and we have one animal control officer. We struggle with a dog population problem that can only be helped by our own citizens. Dogs are dropped off in our town every day, plus we have dogs running loose that belong to non-compliant citizens. I want to encourage all dog owners in the city limits of Magnolia to buy a dog tag. This will ensure that your dog will get back to you. If you would like to help, we ask that you educate your family, neighbors and peers on the importance spaying and neutering dogs. The city pound would not face the challenges it has if these dogs had responsible owners. The compassion I have witnessed over the past few days has been great in volume, and I appreciate your concerns. I ask that you please use that compassion and concern by volunteering your time at the pound or donate money for vet care. The city pound is located at 922 S. Washington and is open to the public from 7:30-4:30.

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Verizon Boost in Coverage Throughout the City

Mayor Vann and Robert Baxley, manager of the Magnolia Water Utility, had a meeting with Verizon Wireless engineers regarding Verizon’s tour of Magnolia in search of locations for small cell sites.  A small cell is a small box that will be attached to a structure to increase cell coverage.  They are more cost efficient and a lot less application than a tower. Magnolia will be the first town in Arkansas to receive the small cells.  The sites will act as capacity relief for the local Verizon tower.  
 
The Verizon engineers are looking at four sites in Magnolia.  Those sites are the water tank on Joy Street, an antenna located at the Magnolia Fire Department, on the street light at Main and Vine, and on the old water tower located at the Magnolia Water Maintenance Plant on West Union.  
 
After installation of the small cells, Verizon customers will notice an increase in their coverage.  Chad Tarver, one of the Verizon Wireless engineers, stressed that Verizon is only in the preliminary phase of implementing the small cells in Magnolia.  He said that a date has not been set for completion but hopefully it will be this year.  After the new cell sites are in place, Verizon will evaluate the coverage and more can and may be added to Magnolia.  
 
Mayor Vann has signed a contract with Verizon for the small cell project.  He is excited about the new small cells not only because Magnolia will be the first in the state to offer the extra coverage, but also because of the extra revenue.  Verizon will pay the city $2,500.00 per site on an annual basis.