Nelson tapped for NMSD board

By BRENT MAZE,

The Newton Board of Aldermen have selected Arthur Nelson to serve on the Newton Municipal School Board.

He takes over for Jimmie Evans, whose term expired in February after he chose not to seek reappointment this year.

The move was made during the Feb. 20 meeting with a 3-1 vote, with Aldermen Eric McCalphia, Ray Payne and Bob Bridges voting “yes” and Alderwoman Linda Wash voting “no.” Wash was planning to make a motion to appoint either Eva McDonald or Katrina Tingle, but she chose not to enter the motion since Nelson had been approved.

Alderman Michael Hillie left the room to avoid a conflict of interest during the discussion, as he is an employee of the school district.

In other business, the board asked city attorney Robert Logan to review a set of ordinances that would make Newton smoke-free. Jamara Dunn from the Smoke-Free Coalition addressed the board about the ordinances and possible money that would be available if the city decided to go smoke-free.

She said the city could apply for funding to help the city educate the public on the new ordinance and help promote a smoke-free community. One in particular was a $5,000 reimbursable grant to help educate the community on the new policy. The city could also apply for other grants up to $50,000 with the 100 percent smoke-free ordinance. The board was planning to take up the matter during a March meeting.

In other business, the board of aldermen discussed long-range planning and would likely use a board workshop to plan how they would move forward.

Carlois Walker addressed the board about improving the lighting around Pilate Middle School, especially when they have events such as basketball games and other night activities to improve visibility.

The board approved payments of more than $500,000 for the rail spur project. The board also discussed updating its noise ordinance.

The city will send a courtesy letter to the owners of the old skating rink on Frontage Road about cleaning up the property, the roof of which collapsed in December during heavy snowfall.

The city allowed Wal-Mart to perform onsite immunizations later this year for city employees for several vaccinations including the flu shot.

Public Works will purchase a new city sweeper for $32,000 from Puckett Machinery.

The police department will now purchase a Ford Interceptor after learning the Chevrolet Impala was discontinued.