Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TOP STORY >> Shut down meth house, council told

Leader staff writer

“There are at least five meth houses in my neighborhood and one across the street. The police don’t seem to be doing anything, and I don’t feel safe,” Candi Potter told the mayor and aldermen during the community-input section at Monday’s Cabot City Council meeting.

“You know it’s a meth house when cars are lined up at all times of the day and night. I’ve even picked up a meth pipe in my front yard. Something needs to be done,” she said.

Potter said that when she moved into the subdivision on Barnwell Drive near Central Elementary School in 2010, it was a good area. But now she has seen a man running down the street with a chainsaw and another shooting up a house.

Potter spent about 10 minutes giving details about the problems in the neighborhood.

She said she was told to record license-plate numbers of the strange vehicles in the neighborhood. “It’s car after car after car. I’ve got a long list,” she said.

Potter said that after calling the Cabot police numerous times and no action taken, she asked Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley to come by. “He did and immediately made two arrests,” Potter said.

She pleaded, “Please tell me what I can do.”

Mayor Bill Cypert responded, “We’ve listened, we hear you, and I’m going to give you my cell number. You can call 24/7 if you see a problem, and I’ll get the police to check it out. I’ll get something done.”

Police Chief Jackie Davis said his department is aware of some of the activity in the area and has increased patrols. He wasn’t sure about the particular house Potter was referring to, but sat down with her after the meeting to gather additional information.

The mayor suggested forming a neighborhood watch or having a town hall meeting with him and the police in a place where neighbors would feel safe to discuss the problem.

The mayor added that fighting drugs has been a tough issue. “We’ve been looking at the budget and the cost of getting a drug dog or setting up a drug task force,” he said.

In other council business:

Aldermen approved an ordinance allowing city employees who own private businesses to compete for city projects and supplies.

The city has an ordinance already allowing this, but it was not quite in line with state law. The revamped version gives more transparency and meets the requirement of the state law. The mayor said there are about 11 city employees that would probably apply under the ordinance.

Aldermen Ron Waymack and Ann Gilliam voted against the ordinance. Waymack had concerns about an employee “who gets a paycheck every Friday” competing against a business where it’s their livelihood. “I just disagree with it,” he said after a back-and-forth exchange with the mayor.

Alderman John Tullos said at first he had doubts about the ordinance, too, but “the bidding rules don’t change. If everyone has to go through the same process then there is no favoritism.”

In the parks and recreation report, Travis Young stated that volleyball participants have doubled since last spring. Flag football had almost 400 participate this season. The Cabot Softball Association had 30 fewer players and the Cabot Soccer Association reported a league of 640 players.

According to the water and wastewater commission report, the Four Mile Creek Interceptor job was being delayed by rain, but was 75 percent complete. The Countrywood Interceptor work is finished. Crews installed a variable frequency drive at the Four Mile Creek pump station and it is working well. Also, work will start soon on the first phase of the Holland Bottoms project and the Timberwood sewer interceptor.

In his monthly report to the council, Police Chief Jackie Davis said the police had 2,281 calls for service during April for a year-to-date total of 8,862. He said 77 traffic accidents were reported during the month, along with 17 domestic incidents, six assaults and 30 cases of fraud.