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Convention Center Public Meeting -VIDEO from UAM Fine Arts Center

November 11th, 2011 by

Approximately 50 local residents attended Thursday nights public meeting to see the presentation of the proposed Convention Center at UAM’s Fine Arts Center.

The video of the meeting is posted above, along with the question and answer session.

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Convention Center Public Meeting – Tongiht 7 pm, UAM Fine Arts Center
Nov. 10, 2011

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MJHS Public Meeting at MJHS for Convention Center Input
Nov 8, 2011

 
The second of 3 public meetings for the community to see the convention center committee’s presentation about the proposed project was held tonight at the Monticello Jr. High School Auditorium, with 24 in attendance. 

The first meeting was held last week at Drew Central, where approximtely 30 attended; where several residents asked questions and made comments about the project.  Everyone is also invited to attend Thursday’s meeting at UAM’s Fine Arts Center.

Report from Convention Center Public Meeting
Nov. 1, 2011

UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter presented the community with a video “fly around” and detailed layouts of the proposed SEARK Community Center during Tuesday night’s meeting at Drew Central auditorium.

Chancellor Lassiter stated that the idea for the community center started back in 2004 when around 60 people met at the college for the purpose of making plans for the city. The need for a community center was repeatedly discussed.

Lassiter stated that the first step needed in the initial planning phase of the construction of the center was funding. So far, 20 for the Future, MEDC, and UAM have contributed funds to help get the project started. Other funding has come from the 3% hotel tax instituted by the city. The Advertising and Promotion Commission was created to manage all sales tax generated revenue. The hotel tax raised $9,000 in the first month and while it was said that isn’t enough to fund this project, “it does provide some things to do initially,” such as hire an architect.

Six people from the community center’s project committee have visited 9 different centers to see what was positive and what was negative about each one. With the help of Witsell Evans Rasco, an architect firm out of Little Rock, plans for the community center have been developed as to what will best service Southeast Arkansas.

The current plans call for a 150,000sq ft building that features a gymnasium/multipurpose facility, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and an exhibit hall that connects the two. Chancellor Lassiter said, “The question may be – can we afford a building this size?” He stated that plans can be altered if funding is not available for the entire center currently proposed, but “if we can get all of it, I want to get all of it.”

It was asked by an audience member if the proposed location of the center (HWY 425 and University Drive) is the definite placement of the building. Lassiter said that nothing was set in stone, however since the center could be built on UAM’s 30acre plot, with a long-term lease present, no money would need to be exchanged and it would be, “$1.5 million we don’t have to raise.” He also said that grounds upkeep there is already done by UAM, and it would save on that maintenance as well.

The center’s purposes were said to be endless, and the goal is to have it open to the public for many different things, such as walking tracks, swimming for fitness, a public gym with trainers, and even things such as birthday parties and family reunions. With so many health and fitness factors going into the creation of the building and grounds, it will help with the funding process. Lassiter explained that a lot of federal, state, and grant money wants a focus on health. Later, during the question and answer portion of the meeting, he also stated that there is no interest in raising taxes to help fund any of the project.

After the presentation, the floor was open to the public for questions from the audience.

 

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Public Meetings for Community Center Continue Monday at MMS Auditorium
Nov. 1, 2011

3 public meetings have been announced between now and November 10 to invite the community to hear the Convention Committee’s presentation, see photos of the proposed facility, and ask questions about the suggested structure and it’s possible benefits.

The meetings are planned for Tuesday, November 1 at Drew Central; Monday,  November 7 at Monticello Schools;  and  Thursday, November 10 at UAM’s Fine Arts Center.  All meetings begin at 7 pm.

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City Council Hears Presentation on Community Center
Oct. 21, 2011

Dr. Jack Lassiter, Chancellor of UAM, briefly addressed the council during their regular meeting Thursday night in regards to the much anticipated community center.

Dr. Lassiter stated that their board meets every Friday at 7:00am to go over plans for the building, and he presented the board and audience with print outs of the facility’s layout.

Many features were discussed, including a full-sized competition court, seating for 4,000, dressing rooms, locker rooms, and an Olympic-sized, 8-lane swimming pool.

To save money on energy costs, the center is being designed to allow as much natural light in as possible. Dr. Lassiter stated that other “green” measures are also being considered for further savings.

The community center’s purpose will not only be for entertainment purposes, but it will also have a large focus on health and wellness. Dr. Lassiter informed the council that with a focus on health and wellness, funding is more readily available to get the project completed.

The center was said to be a 150,000 sqft building with a cost of $30 million.

“What about maintenance?” – Beverly Hudson asked in regards to how upkeep of the facility would be funded.

Dr. Lassiter said that one possibility would be to take the hotel tax money and apply it to a maintenance fund once the building’s construction is complete.

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Convention Center Committee Discuses Fundraising, Public Meetings, & Photos
October 20, 2011

At a recent meeting of the meeting of the community center planning committee, revised drawings were present to the group, and a preliminary “fly around” video, showing the proposed structure from all outside angles, including potential landscaping, parking, etc. 

Funding for the project was also covered, with Dave Dickson being appointed fundraising chairman. The committee, along with their supporters and staff have compiled a list of approximately 75 foundations and other funding sources that could be contacted about making financial contributions to the project, based on the level of “life improvement” the facility could possibly bring to southeast Arkansas.

Community meetings were also discussed, with Tim Chase and Michael Jones being chosen as the co-leaders of that effort. Public meeting will likely be presented at several times in the upcoming weeks.

Dr. Jack Lassiter is on the agenda of Thursday night’s City Council meeting, to update them on the progress of the committee, and possibly present photos and plans.

MonticelloLive with announce meeting times when they are scheduled.

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A&P Commission Meets (on Steps) to Discuss Convention Center
Oct. 12, 2011

When the Monticello Advertising and Promotion Commission met Monday evening (city and county offices are closed on Columbus Day), their usual meeting place, the MEDC building was locked, so the members present met on the building’s steps.

Items discussed included consequences for a hotel tax payment being mailed after the collection date (the 2% discount is forfeited by the hotel), and highlights of the Convention Center Sub-committee’s recent meeting.

The A&P commission meets on the second Monday of each month, and oversees the distribution of the city 3% hotel tax, which is designated for the proposed Convention Center. 

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Drew Central School Board Considers Becoming Part of Proposed Convention Center
Sept. 16, 2011

During Thursday night’s regular school board meeting, Superintendent Wayne Fawcett brought forth discussion to the board on the potential to become part owners of the proposed convention center.

“I recommend we do not pursue partial ownership,” Fawcett stated. “I think it’s more than we can deal with, honestly. Part of my concern is liability issues.” “It will be great for our community, but as far as ownership… I don’t think that’s right for Drew Central.”

No votes were taken during the meeting on this issue. A decision will be made by the board at a later date.

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$30 Million Cost Estimated for Community Center Project
September 6, 2011

At Friday’s bi-monthly meeting of the community center planning committee, an estimated $30,000,000 cost was mentioned several times, as the expected price of the proposed structure.  This amount may vary, since the specifics of the facility haven’t been confirmed.  UAM chancellor Jack Lassiter estimated that this type of structure cost approximately $200/square foot, with the current expectations looking toward a 145,000 sq/ft structure.  The largest variable in the expenses will likely be swimming / aquatic pool area, and the pools that will eventually be included.

The architects presented a deeper version of the conceptual floor plan for the groups approval, which focused on the importance of having individual rooms designed for multi-purpose uses.

The arena is expected to contain 3200 seats, but the amount of seating in the swimming area broght about a wide range of suggestions.  One committee member, familiar with the Monticello Marlins swim meets, said, that this facility could “own swimming in the state”, when completed.

The exterior of the building will likely have a wood, brick, and stone appearance.

The project’s ownership was briefly mentioned.  The options of it being “owned and operated by UAM” was mentioned, as was “a common ownership, based on percentages.”  It was reported that Drew County would not be able to be a part of the project, due to funding and budget issues, which was later confirmed by Drew County Judge Lampkin.  It was also questioned if the local school districts could take part in an ownership partnership, but that will have to be researched.

The next meeting will be at UAM on September 16, with public meetings expected to begin in October.

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Information Updated & Drawing Presented on Community Center Project
August 25, 2011

The Community Center planning committee met Friday, along with representatives of Witsell, Evans, Rasco Architects, who presented preliminary drawings of the proposed Community Center.

The architects’ presentation showed the facility to be constructed on the southwest corner of HWY 425 South at the UAM entrance, on an estimated 30 acre plot. 

The drawings indicate the new complex will have approximately 145,000 square foot of space; including a 50 meter pool, a therapy pool, a walking track, an exercise room, multiple dressing rooms for UAM and local school teams, an arena (for athletics and other events) with seating capacity for up to 3,200, parking areas for. 1,500 cars and 16 buses, and floor level and seating level entrances to the facility.

Dr. Lassiter said, “The ideal multi-purpose facility is similar to the one at Alma High School,” which was included on a recent tour by inerested parties, where several community centers were visited.

Ownership of the complex (or a partnership) has not been decided at this time.  That issue is expected to be discussed in the near future by the city mayor, county judge, both school superintendants, and college chancellor..

A final decision on the location has also not been made yet; but the architects are impressed with the HWY 425 UAM entrance’s land features. 

One comment made about the project is how both school districts and UAM are working together with a commong goal.

The Community Center planning committee meets every other week, and expects to have cost estimates for the faciltiy available from the engineering / planning firm at their next meeting.

Community meetings are planned in the near future to discuss the proposed facility.

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Advertising & Promotion Commission – Considering “Hamburger Tax” – Postpone 3% Motel Tax to July 1 – posted May 24, 2011

Monticello’s new Advertising & Promotion Commission met Monday night at the MEDC office to discuss items relating to the upcoming 3% motel tax, but spent a large portion of the meeting discussing a possible citywide hamburger tax.

The 3% motel tax is scheduled to begin June 1.  The commission agreed that due to early reservation issues and third party reservation agreements (Priceline, Expedia, etc), the new motel tax should not begin until July 1.

The 6 businesses that will be required to collect this tax include Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Days Inn, Super 8, Economy Inn Express, and the Trotter House.  It was asked if any local RV parks or campgrounds should be required to charge this tax.  Any apartments that rent daily or weekly were also discussed.

Multiple commission members seemed anxious to discuss implementing a 1% hamburger tax, and presented a list of 27 local restaurants, who would be included in the hamburger tax were to be enacted.

One member said, “If you’re eating out three times a day, $.30 isn’t really going to affect you.”

Other comments included, “Are we just collecting this money to build a convention center?”,  “Put some Monticello billboards up in Pine Bluff. Who wants to stay in Pine Bluff? “,  “There’s “anti-tax sentiment everywhere.”, “If they only understood what this could bring us.”, and “If we get six months behind us, then we can look at it (hamburger tax)”.

One committee member mentioned their concerns with public opinion over the 11 year wait to build a new fire station, “Now, it’s going to take 10 years to build this?”  “The whole point of this committee is to advertise and promote Monticello.” was also spoken.

Neither City Council member on the A&P commission, Sherrie Gillespie or Josh McKiever, seemed to support the hamburger tax issue.

Commission officers were elected last week, with Sheila Etheridge (Holiday Inn Express) committee chairperson; Andy Patel (Super 8) vice-chairperson, and  Kim Patel (Hampton Inn & Days Inn) secretary-treasurer.

The next A&P commission meeting is scheduled for June 6 at 5:30 location to be named later.

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City Council Approves Advertising & Promotion Commission & 3% Motel Tax
May 3, 2011

MonticelloLive on Vimeo

At a special, called meeting of the Monticello City Council, the council approved an ordinance to establish an Advertising and Promotion Fund and an Advertising and Promotion Commission; but they have nothing to do with advertising and promotion.

It was described as a legal way (according to state statute) to collect the 3% motel tax, that was presented to the City Council 10 days earlier, in their April 21 meeting by UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter.

The A&P commission is made up of Sheila Etheridge (Holiday Inn Express), Kim Patel (Hampton Inn and Days Inn), Andy Patel (Super 8), Glenda Nichols (Chamber of Commerce), Nita McDaniel (MEDC) and city council members Josh McKiever an Sherrie Gillespie.  The commission will meet as needed, and appoint their own chairperson.

Money collected from the 3% motel tax can only be used for specific purposes (see insert from resolution, below), but the only mentioned purpose has been the 3,000 seat convention center, which has been proposed to be built at UAM.

Alderman Al Peer asked how the tax would benefit the citizens of Monticello. Mayor Allen Maxwell explained how the tax funds would be used to cover the engineering, architectural, and start-up expenses of the convention center, if we build a civic center. It would be used as on ongoing fund for maintenance for the civic center.

Peer asked about the relationship between the city and the university. Maxwell answered that the city would be able to use the facilities, and hopes that the county becomes a partner, and helps fund it, also.

Beverly Hudson asked, “If this gives the city “use of” only, then who is actually going to own the facility?” Maxwell replied that the physical agent for the project would be the MEDC. It will be owned by the city, hopefully the county, and possibly, to a small extent, the schools, and the university.

The votes to approve the tax and the commission passed unanimously.

 

 

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3% Hotel Tax to Build Community Center Discussed by City Council
Posted April 21, 2011

MonticelloLive on Vimeo.

UAM Chancellor Dr. Jack Lassiter presented the concept of a multi-purpose community center to the Monticello City Council at Thursday night’s meeting, which would be funded in the beginning by a 3% hotel tax.

A group of local community leaders has met 4 times since January to discuss the possibilty, which would be used by UAM, Monticello and Drew Central Schools, the City of Monticello, and Drew County.  Lassiter described a “partnership” between those entities, as well as the MEDC and “20 for the Future.”

The 3% hotel tax would provide the start up funds for the project, and then continue to be collected in order to provide financial support for ongoing operations.

Lassiter told the council that this proposal had the support of  all of the local hotel owners.

The community center would include “a multi-purpose arena that converts from a regulation gymnasium to a performance hall, with a minimal seat capacity to accomidate up to 3,000 patrons.”  An olympic size swimming pool will also be included.  He pointed out “the facility will not attempt to duplicate any facilities already in our community.”

The proposed facility could be used for many porpose by the  partners listed, and have many other uses.

The city council unanimously agreed to have city attorney Bill Daniels proceed with the issue of the motel tax, and seemed anxious to get to work toward making this a reality for the Monticello / Drew County area.

Lassiter didn’t allude as to where the facility would be located, but he did say, “We have 1,800 acres out there,” motioning toward UAM’s direction.

No other financial matters were discussed, as to how much the community center would cost to operate and staff, aside from the $90,000 expected to be raised yearly by the motel tax.

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74 Responses to “Convention Center Public Meeting -VIDEO from UAM Fine Arts Center”

  1. Doc says:

    Finally someone with vision!! This is a much needed item for our city and has been neglected for years. Meanwhile, wasted dollars on splash pads, potential of another disaster with an amphitheater, no traffic lights, etc. Then add on the fact of the various buildings around the SQUARE (which is getting a upgrade?) that are in a category of hurricane destruction…..sorry, I digressed.
    I would love to have a community center in Monticello but I don’t think 3000 seats would be enough if the venue would be used properly. With potential concerts, conventions, tournaments, and other uses Monticello might start to grow. Oops, I shouldn’t have said that. Now all of the BIG MONEY people will make sure this doesn’t happen!!!

  2. D George says:

    Did I not say before the Mayor was planning a new swimming pool for UAM. I see he has figured out a way to make it look like someone else’s proposal. A 3per cent tax on anything is a tax hike. I’m sure the propsed site will just happen to be adjacent to UAM. If they want a new pool they should be paying for it themselves, not unsuspecting visitors to Monticello. Monticello was offered a new center which they refused. Now some are all for it. UAM can afford the new practice facility, but not a pool. I think they just need to look at their priorities and build there own. They can always work out a pay as you go for Monticello residents who want to use their facility. Just another game of politics under the table. Sneaky! Sneaky!

  3. D George says:

    At the rate of 90,000 dollars a year it means more dollars will come from the city of Monticello, if this is to be completed. 90 thousand ain’t going to build many facilities like the one proposed. The mayor needs to be congratulated on his end around play. This tax is not going to build or maintain anything.

  4. Tax Payer says:

    I would certainly like to know what we would use a 3,000 seat center for. I’ve never seen the theater in the fine arts building at UAM filled. We have at least three gym’s, not counting those in church buildings ind Drew county. What in the world would the schools use it for? And, do you really think $90,000 a year will pay for the project and also fund staffing and maintainence. As much as I respect Jack’s abilities, I think he may be off base on this proposal.

  5. Hawkeye Pierce says:

    I agree 100% with Doc!

    This sounds like a great project, would enhance the community tremendously and it would be paid for by visitors through a hotel tax.

  6. say what says:

    Instead of that, why not create a health center/YMCA instead? With the state of our nation’s health and well being wouldn’t it be to the better interest of the community if we built that instead of a center focused on concerts and conventions? Build an olympic size pool for whom? If we had a YMCA we get revenue from the monthy memberships, jobs for our folks, and improved health that is affordable to the general public.

  7. justlovinlife says:

    I think the proposal facility would be an asset to our community! If Monticello is going to move forward, better and innovative facilities should be added and utililized! People are always going to complain when advancements are made to this community! Great job Dr. Lassiter and committee for wanting to improve Monticello!!!

  8. granmaw says:

    I knew it!!! Higher taxes

  9. Greg Martin says:

    I do a great deal of traveling and all hotels have a higher tax the this. It will only affect those that are complaining if you plan to stay at one of the hotels. I just don’t understand why everyone in this town can’t work together.

  10. all for it says:

    hey im all for this. and everyone thats doing all the complaining i bet you dont mind paying those high taxes when you go out of town and stay in a motel or hotel. and as far as that goes i be alot of you didnt know that alot of towns in arkansas charge a hamburger tax also. for every hamburger you eat in some towns you pay an additional tax on it to help out with some kind of revenue in that town. so for all you that love to go out of town and stay in those nice hotels and motels and eat all those hamburgers. dont complain if your one of them. cause you shouldn’t better another city with out wanting to better ours first.

  11. Amanda Nall says:

    I think this is a great idea! I agree with all for it. I do a lot of traveling and taxes are way higher than we have it here. There are many times the schools, churches, and other organizations could use this much room. Many times I know that different organizations use our schools auditoriums because there is not a community center. Monticello has many outstanding citizens that have been nominated to high positions in different organizations. This will help bring people in for different conventions that they need to head up.

  12. D George says:

    Monticello will still have no community center. UAM will have a new swimming facility thanks to the folks in Monticello. State of Arkansas saves money by not having to spend state dollars on a state facility. Monticello already has one of the highest, if not the highest, tax rate in Arkansas. Don’t know where Nall travels, but in Arkansas you win the prize for high taxes. Why would the county contribute? They’ll be able to have access regardless because it will be located on a state property and you can’t keep them out. You folks should consider investing in a particular bridge in NYC! This is the mayor’s pet project and he is using Lassiter as his scapegoat should it fall down around him. Wake up Monticello, you need a center, but not at UAM.

  13. School kids parent says:

    I think it is a great idea now we can have graduation in the air condition and under a roof. Lets make it to seat 5000 or more.

  14. steve sandlin says:

    im trying to restore my house one gallon of paint each payday one board at a time can we find a tax that i can have to beautify my neiborhood

  15. granmaw says:

    The city needs to take care of the city and leave the college alone.Some of you need to talk to the fair board befor you jump on this!! 90,000 won’t even pay for the ground work. Is this going to bring full time jobs with insurance and retirement?Lots of questions need answers the Mayor seems to not be able to answer them .Listen to him close. jmo ….The mayor needs to clean the town up like he said he was going to do that should be easy it has not been done!!! That is a STATE highway he can’t get stop lights on the square you people need to look listen and read. Kinda like a media hog the Mayor wants in with the big people in town.They have made theirs we help them keep it jmo

  16. Festus Haggarty says:

    It takes 11 years to build a fire station (in the wrong place), and in 2 weeks they’re ready to build a COMMUNITY CENTER at UAM…………….If Whaley is still empty, why not put the community center there. After all, the kids that want to swim can walk or bike to get there. UAM kids have cars, or can ride a UAM bus. Marlins swimmers already have to get rides…………….If everyone is always critical of the MEDC, why does the council want to give them another $90,000/year. When the $90,000 isn’t enough, they’ll have to ask for even more money, then everybody will be mad at them again………………..Doesn’ UAM already have a FINE ARTS CENTER, if we’re all of a sudden “Partners”, why not have cooler, dryer high school graduations in there?…………..Aren’t one of the hotel owners and one of the city council members already on UAM boards?

  17. LORD HELP US ALL says:

    How many full time jobs with insurance and retirement if I may ask anyone that will give me a true answer ON PAPER PLEASE!!! Rose colored glasses….MR MAYOR your time needs to be to get the Firemen out of that hell hole then do your other whatever!! WHAT IF..NEGATIVE THOUGHT!! The Doctor told you that you had cancer because of mold mildew and funk it could happen it really upset me after I saw what the guys that save lifes homes and will even get your cat out of a tree have to live in.That is what your job is stay down town leave the college alone!! If they want and need that they would have it!! jmo How much will it cost us to buy the land to put this thing he’s talking about??

  18. Gib says:

    I, personally, am all for a community center. There will always be negativity when a community is striving to better itself. I think the benefits will far outweigh the negatives. As for this benefiting the college-yes, it probably will. I believe the college benefits the economy of Monticello and has for quite some time. There are always going to be individuals who are content to keep everything as is as opposed to seeing our community grow. Way to go guys-it’s a fantastic idea.

  19. D George says:

    You so right LORD HELP US ALL! The mayor has his own agenda and it has nothing to do with helping Monticello. Only one he is concerned about is himself and cronies. Don’t let this guy bowl over the good citizens of Monticello!

  20. Cw says:

    If people put as much time into bringing industry and real jobs into this town rather than side shows like slash pads, old hotels, and community centers, we might actually get somewhere. Oh, I guess we do need entertainment like a center to have all these BIG concerts (because you know big name artists want to come here) because we have no jobs to find in this town! (unless you count every fast food restaurant on every corner) Sounds like more smoke screen to keep us “occupied” so we don’t address REAL issues!

  21. Average Joe says:

    I am all for the tax, the community center and a pool as long as there is a clear and concise plan for the building, operating, and maintenance of it. I do not agree with locating it at UAM unless they are a major contributor to the operating and maintenance cost. Since the current administration is against using the Whaley property for a fire station, then the property could be used for the community center.

  22. UAM Graduate says:

    What some people need to realize is “Without UAM, Monticello would have a lot of problems. Very few restaurants, considering enrollment is about 2500 or more, That’s a lot of money brought into this town by students, family and friends that come visit them.

  23. John Gladden says:

    Normally, I post under a monicker, but this time I feel that it isn’t going to hurt to let people know who’s giving this opinion.

    And it’s okay to call me biased. I am. I have hope for my hometown.

    Some people have stated that UAM already has a Fine Arts Center. They say that they have NEVER seen it filled to capacity. I must wonder where these people are during the programs that we hold there. Maybe the poster who thinks the FAC is never filled to capacity would not be the target market for the type of events currently being held, but would like other venues offered. UAM’s Fine Arts Center cannot host a concert by Taylor Swift, Adele, Linkin Park, or any other popular group or artist. We cannot accommodate beauty pageants as we have no runway. We cannot accommodate dance troupes as we have no springboard stage area. We cannot accommodate large conventions or trade shows, as we do not have space. The list goes on. The ability to bring in even a few high quality acts or performers would generate not only excess revenue for our hotels, but also our local businesses.

    For the past four years, the FAC has been filled BEYOND capacity during EVERY freshman orientation. During Fiddler on the Roof, Sweeney Todd, and Oklahoma, we had to turn people away at the doors because we were at capacity. The Fine Arts Center auditorium only seats 440, which is barely enough for some of the UAM-only student functions. Also, we host far more events than most people know. Almost every week for the past few years, we have had to turn people down for reservations because we are constantly over-booked with events. On top of the events hosted at the Fine Arts Center, we also reserve rooms in the campus library and the University Center. The days where we have NO rooms being used are few and far between. We host groups from all over the state, not just local groups. UAM does not charge a fee for these services. And with the exception of the SEARK Concert Association events, and a select few fundraising events by the campus organizations, all events hosted are free to the public. Whether we have ten people show up for an event or 400, there is still no cost involved. This is as a courtesy to our community. UAM has always gone above and beyond to help out Monticello and the surrounding communities.

    The Fine Arts Center is beginning to show it’s age. It was built in the 70s. The structure is now in constant need of maintenance. UAM foots the cost of this maintenance in its entirety. Like I stated before, all events are free to the public. Try going to ANY OTHER THEATRE in the state and tell them you want free admission.

    When the Fine Arts Center was built, it was given flat roofs. Anyone who has lived in south Arkansas for more than a week knows that this is a bad idea. Currently, the Fine Arts Center has AT LEAST seven leaks THAT WE KNOW OF. Five of these are located in Spencer Gallery. The curtains on stage are original, and have not been changed since the building was completed. The orange carpet is original, too. I guess what I am trying to say is that the Fine Arts Center is just not a state of the art complex, and it cannot meet all of the needs of our community.

    Don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to downplay the role that the Fine Arts Center plays on our campus and for our community. It is a vital part of bringing the arts to our area, and without it we would have nothing. But as Monticello begins to grow, the Fine Arts Center stays the same. If we hope to grow in the arts, in our economy, and in our society, we need a building that will allow us to do so. Something we can be proud of, and spread the word that Monticello has something to offer.

    Let’s discuss the UAM pool for a minute. People have asked who would be using a new pool. Over the years, UAM has hosted many different groups in the current pool. For instance, water aerobics for the elderly and others needing water therapy. Also, should the new center be built near UAM, it would be near BOTH schools. Students from Monticello and Drew Central would have easy access. Drew Memorial could also use the pool for rehabilitation purposes.

    In conclusion, the proposed center would be able to fill all of these needs. This could be done without raising taxes for the RESIDENTS of Monticello. It’s time for Monticellonians to have a VISION WITH ACTION of what our community can be, rather than what it was, and rather than complaining about what we don’t have and what we can and cannot do. There seems to be a prevailing attitude in our community that change is bad. People say that “Monticello has the largest economy in southeast Arkansas.” However, all around us communities are in decline because there is no new revenue and nothing to draw tourism or industry to our section of the state. Monticello has the ability to change this concept of our area, but we must ACT, we must CHANGE, and we must IMPROVE.

  24. Suez says:

    I’m just saying the… Mayor needs to take care of the CITY not the College. The Police have No room to turn around in that dump they have to call their office.The Firemen don’t even have room to wash their trucks and the Mayor is out the college doing WHAT??? Mayor stay in your own yard and CLEAN IT UP LIKE YOU SAID YOU WOULD DO!! Build A NEW FIRE DEPT. NOT DOWN TOWN THERE IS NO PARKING THERE AS IT IS.Stop danceing around this we have waited 11 LONG YEARS!! Get this done then go play in others yard but take care of your own FIRST^^^THE CITY!!

  25. Tax Payer says:

    The tax and spenders are at it again. Please tell me when we are paying enought taxes!!!!! I’ll bet they tell us that it’ll only cost each person a few dollars a year!!!

  26. D George says:

    Your new mayor and his many commissions are off to a great start. Tax, tax, and tax. It’s just a little here and a little there. Hee! Hee! Good luck folks! Fortunaltely it take this council so long to actually get something done this tax money will sit in a bank account somewhere benefitting those banks. Maybe that is the idea.

  27. Native American says:

    When do you think this pork barrel taxing will ever end. Sounds like those who enjoy the time eating out with the family may end sooner than one may think. With fuel prices sky rocketing, tax on more eating, building with no limits. One would think that Washington D.C. was living right here in Drew Co. Greed, Greed, Greed. Stop and smell the roses.

  28. tired of it says:

    im so fed up with all the **** going on in monticello that i think me and my family are gonna start looking for another city to move to. im lucky i have a job that i can go just about anywhere and work. im just tired of it.

  29. Confused says:

    Harold west when he was mayor saw the need for a community center and moved forward to locate one on the site of W.C. Whaley School. Why? Because the parking was inadequate, the fire department was falling in and the roof was leaking. Employees were cramped and conditions were unsafe.

    Nothing has changed through two administrations that has amounted to more than window dressing. The square got a pick up but there remains a question about the safety of buildings on the square after one collapsed over a year ago. After a child was killed in a claps in Morrilton, shouldn’t this danger be an immediate priority?

    Instead the city is talking of taxing hamburgers after deciding on a new bed tax on hotels and motels. Why? To build an entertainment arena like that on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. It is being called a community center but it will be located on the university campus on the outskirts of town and will include an entertainment arena to seat 3,000, a swimming pool and
    a retirement facility.

    Why this is labelled a community center is a question. It certainly is not easily accessed for most residents and students on the campus must certainly will have more convenience of. Use than those in the city.

    The difficulty is there is not a tab base to support such plans. The jobs, the pay, the sheer numbers of people and incomes don’t support the building plan. And even worse the economy is far from stable.

    When most families budgets are strained, why would those who are elected toexercise sound judgment be

  30. Confused says:

    If this is such a great idea, why does public and not private money build it? Could it be that the only money in circulation in this economy is public money? And could it be that the private sector is unwilling to risk their funds in today’s economy?

    People in hell want ice water and those who want more ammenities in Monticello need to pitch in the money in their pockets instead of
    Rummaging in the deep pockets of the taxpayers.

    I am still waiting to see the MEDC attract private and not public money. I suspect we will never see that day.

  31. captaintrips says:

    Taxes, hmm let see. We pay taxes on everything we buy, on money we save, on capital gains, inheritances, used cars that have already had taxes paid on them once. I would like for someone to tell me where will it end. I expect one day we will have someone come up with how much air we breath and we will have to pay a tax on that.

    I thought we left England because of unfair taxes? Am I wrong? If I am please correct me. I believe I pay way too much tax now. I do understand the need for people to come to Monticello to stay and spend money. But I believe we need to Bring jobs here 1st and foremost. We must keep our children here for this town to grow. Most kids that graduate college leave here to find a good paying job.

    So please tell me what is more important here? Our future with our children or a community of visitors?

  32. Expectations says:

    Who in the world is the one with the math ability to figure it would only take.30 a day on the hamburger tax. Surely not one of the City Council, and if so please Mr. Mayor do not put them on the budget committee. Also hats off to Sherrie and Josh not to cast a vote right off the bat for the hamburger tax. We can’t get one tax passed until another is brought up. The $90,000 tax each year brought in by the hotel tax won’t be a drop in the bucket. Is this convention center right on the horizon or are you going to do planning like long-range. We have a lot of things on our plate right now, leaky roofs, out-dated facilities, stop lights, economy, splash pools that won’t work. Really the list is too long to even bring it up. I hope the City Council uses their heads on what everything is going to cost and to plan.

  33. ArTravlR says:

    More Taxes! On Food! Isn’t the Governor trying to repeal food tax? Why not tax coke instead? Why not allow the sale of beer & tax that? How about a heavy tax on anyone driving without mufflers? Or Tax those loud Jake Brakes?

  34. Public Servant says:

    I dont want to start any mud slinging here, I dont live in Monticello, but I work in Monticello, I spend 7 out of 14 days here 48 hours at a time, This could force a lot of public servants (even though we may work for private entities) to pay a lot more tax to the city than the common local resident. When we come to work for 48 hours we a lot of times have to eat out do to our job, we cant just run home for a meal. I am not alone in this position, I know several people that live elsewhere but work here, look at hospital employee’s that drive from another city to work here, Fire department people that are here at work for 24 hours. We have no choice but to eat out most of the time. The economy is bad enough already so lets just make it worse.

  35. SETH says:

    IVE GOT AN IDEA, LETS TAX HAMBURGERS, TACOS, SANDWICHES AND WHATEVER ELSE WE CAN THINK OF. BUT NOT FOR A SIGN IN PINE BLUFF OR A NEW CONVENTION CENTER. BUT FOR WHAT…YOU GUESSED IT, HOW ABOUT SOME INDUSTRY? HOW ABOUT SOME JOBS THAT PAY OVER 15$ AN HOUR, SO OUR PEOPLE CAN AFFORD TO BE TAXED. CONVENTION CENTER- I WOULD CALL THAT RECREATIONAL, I THINK THE PEOPLE OF MONTICELLO WOULD AGREE WE’VE WASTED ENOUGH TAX MONEY ON RECREATION. YOU WANT TO PROMOTE MONTICELLO? OFFER SOMEONE FROM PINE BLUFF A JOB, NOT A BILLBOARD.

  36. oy vay says:

    *sigh*.More taxes.Hotel/motel tax.Hamburger tax.Library tax.Tax.Tax.Tax. HELLO? PRIORITIZE! Fire department,people.PLEASE? Is anyone listening? If you are gonna make me pay a tax then please,let it be for a new fire department or repairs on the police department? Cart before the horse,much?

  37. Former resident says:

    Same old, same old……

  38. Carol says:

    I agree! Enough with the taxes. Yes, only 30 cents here….50 cents there….Yea, seems like not a lot, but it adds up and QUICKLY! Everything is going up but wages. I totally agree about getting industry in Monticello. Enough with entertainment. Entertain people with jobs that pay! Come on now… Do you guys want to be one-termers? We saw from the past elections; citizens vote you in and citizens can vote you out!

  39. Get Real says:

    you start taxing food more then you will have less locals being able to eat, then there goes the bussiness. What is the City trying to bring Monticello down to turn into another Dermott or McGehee? If the High rolling Current BIG Bussiness owners would let go of their chock hold and welcome more job compatition than we could get something in here. Many people live her by choice, but the way we are going many will be leaving with no choice…

  40. Tired of this place says:

    Yep folks it’s time to leave this town. Give it maybe 10 years and it WILL be like a Dermott or McGehee. All this mayor is wanting is his NAME to be on this new convention center. I’m getting out of this lame town and won’t look back when I leave. See ya.

  41. 138 says:

    This town don’t need a convention center.
    It needs jobs, not just for 8 bucks an hour, real jobs. Something with retirement, benefits, and a salary enough to pay the bills. And they are worried about this. What a joke.
    More taxes, less money, more welfare.
    Yep, chalk us up for the next Dermott, here we be coming.

  42. me says:

    We Need Jobs Not New Taxes

  43. lauren says:

    i think it would be great to have “community center” in Monticello! My hometown of around 2,000 or less has one and out town of 10,000+ doesn’t have one really?? Come on and everyone is complaining?? Hotel Tax why does it matter how many people who live in monticello stay in a hotel in their own town??? ummm probably none of you so quit complaining!! You don’t have to pay the hotel tax in your own town if you do not stay in the hotels.. So who cares dont rent a hotel stay at your house and you won’t have to pay the hotel tax!!!!

    Everyone always wants tp blame someone else. This is a college and town and as a UAM Graduate there needs to be more things in this town this would be a good asset. This town is not going down the drain like Dermott or McGehee, it is only making this town better, the town people make a town fail and those who don’t support good money makers make a town fail. So stop complaining and look around and see what is good for this town. Who cares whose name is on the Community Center. WE NEED ONE!! Most surround towns even small towns have them if you as me we are a couple years behind them!! What town of 10,000+ doesnt have a Community Center… then a town 30 minutes away with barely maybe a few more than 2,000 people have one..

    I think this is a great idea, however i think it would better located in more of a central area of Monticello rather than at the college so it is more a a community center rather than located on a school campus, which i can see where some would have a problem but either way we need a facility like a convention center/ community center whatever you call it it would be worth it.
    They could rent it out to people as well for events and make money that way too!! Hold COMMUNITY wide blood drive and events the community as a whole already participates in on a yearly basis. this would be great for the Dance places to use for their yeraly recitals… or maybe even community pageants that are often advertised here on Monticello Live, or Auction’s like Log-a Load! This could benefit so many organizations if it is used some of the above ways.. So please think about others that can use not yourself think about our/your children and other in the community that would benefit.

    So stop complaining about something that could benifit the town.

  44. sue says:

    mr mayor our street belongs to the city would you like to see our deed or had you rather see this warter standing on the street now he needs to repair streets all over town and fine theowners of all old run down buildings before planing new the stop signs has taken the city back 40 yrs who would want to move here to raise a family they would be afraid to walk down the st for fear a building might fall on them voting time cant come soon enough what has he done for this town ????????

  45. Come out from under the rock says:

    Sue: Where in the world have you been?

    There has been a lot of repairs to water mains all over town, something the last several mayors invested nothing in. Street overlays are being planned for the next budget year, the 2012 budget is the first one that this mayor will be a part of planning, oh and remember the council members also participate in the budget process. And as far as buildings and absentee property owners, I have noticed a lot of work being done on that.

    Sue, you must not get out very much, bless your heart.

  46. lauren says:

    also. our current mayor was not in charge when the stop signs were put up and buildings were falling around town!! That was our past mayor! i agree i hate the stop signs its hard to get around the sqaure unless you are at a stop sign on the square trying to get out from the road between union bank and their employee parking lot when it is rol thru stop and go traffic at the stop sign is almosy impossible. However our mayor now was not in charge when this was done.. at least he trying to put something like a community center in this town that everyone can use year round rather than a water park!!

  47. J-Roc Former UAM Student says:

    I have a question for Lauren and John Gladden. Who has the money in Monticello to attend these concerts of big name artist? Who has the money to pay for them to come there and put on a show? As you stated Mr. Gladden, events at the Fine Art Center are FREE. With no job market in Monticello, people are hardly making ends meet now. Monticello needs to be thinking JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. It’s fact, the more money you make the more money you can spend. Remember when the Burlington factories were open in the early 90’s? All kind of business in Monticello were doing good. I was in school at UAM and people from all over the state of Ar would come to Monticello because it was the place to be. More money was spent in Monticellio because people had income and didn’t have to travel to far to get to work. Look at it this way, why would you bring another bill into your house when you can’t take care of the ones you have. At this point you get another job or pay the bills you have off first. There is no difference in building this center. How can people help pay for it with no jobs or increase in pay in Monticello. But yet you”re telling them they have to spend more money in taxes. Doesn’t look good no matter how you sugar coat it.

  48. Monticello resident says:

    After the next meeting, everyone should go by to view the new improved town square while there why not take the scenic route by the nice building on the corner of Church St. & Gaines St. (the one that had the Band-Aid holding it together) hard hat not required but recommended then step over for a visit at City Hall and tour the beautiful Fire & Police Department’s. I hear they have a new indoor waterfall or maybe they have just moved the splash pad inside city hall. Make sure to warn them before the tour that an umbrella and rubber boots are not provided so BYOU and BYORB. Also as you visit the busiest city offices in Monticello don’t forget to watch the steps.

    If UAM can afford this so be it but if they have to enlist the city to help fund it then that just doesn’t seem right, at what time will the citizens of our city use this facility? I would say few to none. WAKE UP CITY LEADERS TAKE CARE OF THOSE WHO TAKE CARE OF YOU!

  49. RE: Lauren says:

    RE: Lauren

    We did have a community center that burnt but they are also in the process of rebuilding that now which I am happy they are. Everyone in Monticello has the same opportunity to use the “Community Center” at any time by calling the mayors office to reserve it at your request. This building may not have been nice enough for everyone but everyday working people didn’t mind it at all. I agree if UAM can afford something like this for their student body get to hammering those nails it would be a wonderful asset to UAM but if they have to take away from the people that would never benefit from this why take money from things these tax payers will benefit from? We don’t have a lot of things smaller towns have, and yes it would be nice to have more things but does it mean we should have everything other towns have even if it only benefits one group of people?
    By the way are you still a resident of Monticello? Just wondering since I think we built a new building at the Drew County Fair Grounds for pageants, talent shows, log a load also the community can rent it for family reunions, birthday parties etc several schools have very nice auditoriums that dance recitals/pageants are held at every year I also recall numerous blood drives at different locations in our city but blood drives are not done inside a convention center they are in their mobile blood drive bus so from what I have seen nothing has had to cancel due to not have an extravagant convention center.

    Maybe they could rent or as you put it “make money that way too!!” the community center once its rebuilt for Spell check 101 or in some cases English as a 2nd language.
    May be a good idea to have Comp I and II just before college graduation.

  50. Billie says:

    Why not use the “industrial spec” building for something. It’s only been sitting unoccupied for how long now?

  51. Teacher says:

    Anything that can improve Monticello, bring in more visitors (revenue), create jobs (building the center and running it will produce jobs), and be a positive asset to the county, town, & school; I am all for.
    We can’t move forward by standing still.

  52. Concerned says:

    If we build a convention center, which I think is great, why not remodel the SPEC building on Hwy 35 east of town. There would be plenty of parking, the building is plenty big enough. To me, the SPEC building was a BIG WASTE of money.

  53. John Gladden says:

    J-Roc,

    You’re entire point is predicated upon the assumption that only Monticello residents will be renting/using/participating in events that will held at this center.

    The city park baseball fields host the Babe Ruth tournaments every year, and this brings in TONS of revenue for local business (especially restaurants). Do you think that only Monticello residents are going to those games?

    When Trans-Siberian Orchestra puts on a concert in Little Rock, am I not allowed to attend because I don’t live there?

    Also, there seems to be a vicious cycle of losing people and business from Monticello. There is very little entertainment in Monticello. Young people (particularly newly married couples) don’t want to move here, and most of our college graduates move away after they have completed their degree. This leaves very few people in the workforce. As a result, businesses pack up and leave because they cannot sustain demand for their product while they are here. Because of this, more people move out of town to follow the jobs. Since both of these are happening, entertainment business do not want to set up shop here because the trend is to move out of town. And so the cycle repeats itself.

    The new convention center might not be an overnight fix for these issues, but it’s a definite step in the right direction. During large events, local vendors make a profit from out-of-town patrons. A venue of this size would certainly need a dedicated maintenance staff, providing jobs for our own community. The swimming pool section would need a full-time lifeguard staff. The possibilities for this facility to benefit our town are numerous.

    It’s time for Monticello to pull itself up by its bootstraps and become economically progressive. There is no reason why we can’t use the people and resources that we have on hand to dig ourselves a path out of this “economic recession” that our entire country is in. But we have to be willing to actually DO something, instead of bickering like D.C. politicians about who’s right and who’s wrong.

  54. J-Roc Former UAM Student says:

    Lauren doesn’t matter if I say “make money”, or you say “earn money”. The root cause of problems in Monticello are still the same “FUNDING”. Once again, if Monticello had more jobs offering better pay you wouldn’t be having this problem. And NO I don’t live in Monticello anymore. Had to leave cause the job I had at the Coke Company closed down year ago just like alot of other businesses in Monticello. And by the way, Comp I and II has nothing to do with the way I choose to refer to gaining income. I have a Master’s Degree DO YOU?

  55. J-Roc Former UAM Stundent says:

    John Gladden

    Thank you for your feedback. You have proven my point, Monticello needs JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. There would be no reason to leave if people could find a good paying job in Monticello. The center is going to cost more than people are willing to spend. The answer is not put tax on this and higher taxes on that. How can people afford it if the price on everything increases and the pay stays the same. Answer this, what do you do about maintaining this center monthly when you may have 4 major events there a year? Its not like there will be a big event there each month. There will be a monthly bill that the people of Monticell has to pay and it does nothing for the common household income of Monticello.

  56. Dennis says:

    $30,000,000.00 know wonder no wants to claim ownership for this! I say take about $12,000,000.00 off the top and build a new fire station and a new police station and a new office/court building so one party or the other there can vacate the old post office building. That will still leave $18,000,000.00 to throw down UAM/City/County money pit at the college.

  57. JH says:

    I am all for a convention center in Monticello. What I don’t understand is why we need a 30 million dollar center. What Jobs does that bring into town. I agree that certain things such as the babe ruth world series adds a pop to the local economy while the event is happening, but shouldn’t we look for a more long term solution than trying to make the local restaurants in town have two extra good weeks a year. Why don’t they propose a simple convention center because lets face it, we don’t have the capacity for 3000 extra people in this town to stay and eat. So if —- freezes over and we do have a convention with 3000 people, now we are supporting Crossett and Dumas and Pine Bluff because that is where that “extra income” is going. If you look at this closely it seems that Dr. Jack Lassiter is looking for a addition to UAM the have graduations and basketball practices and additional facilities for UAM. Lets get real and focus on things that matter in this town. Oh and look at all the business our new square and splash pad brought to town. Go Monticello!!!!

  58. D George says:

    Let’s see, if you get $40,000 a year for the hamburger tax/hotel tax or whatever it is called, how many years might it take to pay for this thing? You folks are being taken down the river quickly! These monies won’t even pay for the electricity. UAM greatly appreciates the ignorance of local Monticellonians. A state institute building a facility with local tax dollars. Folks, you can’t afford this! Your mayor is out of touch. What happened to the monies for the water towers? Did he find that $600,000 somewhere or is it just no longer a concern?

  59. Enquirer says:

    Throwing good money after bad!!! Will somebody just get some industry in this town—PLEASE?!? We, as a city, are not far behind the other small cities in SE Arkansas who have dried up and gone away! All along, Monticello has been dubbed ‘The Hub of SE Arkansas’! Hubcap maybe!!

  60. Heather says:

    More money being thrown away. We need to fix what we have before we throw anymore money away. We need to focus on bringing more jobs to the area before we build something like this. Before we spend anymore on ball fields, splash pads or a $30,000,000 Community Center, lets put our efforts into a place that’s worth coming to. Monticello is a dying town. Let’s replace what we’ve lost and build after that. It’s not so far gone that we can’t bring it back…But we need to work on bringing it back. When Burlington shut down, we lost (what was it) 749 jobs. Is this center going to employ 750+ people year around? If not, we need to keep on looking…

  61. Joe says:

    Monticello does not need a convention center it cannot afford. We do need an industry in this town that pays top wages to the men and women in our community. I myself have to drive to Pine Bluff every day to earn my 85k per year. If I could make that kind of money at home in Drew county, I’d jump at the chance. I’d even be willing to work for less.

  62. Bishop Sam Wherry says:

    It is time that the respective school districts of Monticello lay tradition aside and make this momumential opportunity in unity & with the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees with this proposed project. Drew Central, Monticello & UAM canbe one of the cindralla focal points if we can just lay aside traditions and unite these these three institutions toward a common goal with this initative. One School District with affilated ties with the University & joint use of facilities willo give this region the edge it needs in this transitional period in economics in our region. The UAM High School Campus for this county will be the envy of the Mid South and the Elementary, Middle & Junior High Complex in the Health & Education Complex on Jordan Drive will be a model that will attract all entities of economic & cultural enrichment to this region and with the funded I-69 project in process, prosperity, prosperity, prosperity. Please people of Drew County lets lay asisde our differences and consolidate these two school districts and join forces with our University for a comprehensive Academic & Vocational future for our region. We can do this. Let us get it done ASAP.

  63. Arlene Russell says:

    Until we can maintain the buildings now owned by the city and our infrastructure, building seems unreasonable. If you have a water system that is antiquated, building new buildings seems putting the cart before the horse. Nothing would be more frustrating than not having the means to pump water to a newly erected swimming pool.

    Priorities should be put in order by the city.
    Planner

  64. GRANMAW says:

    wWOW… getting this at UAM and the fire station in a flip that office should put this crap on T.V It’s unreal .Spending alot of money … they will put the tax on something just watch more to come

  65. The Accountant says:

    When is the city going to look at how much has gone to “economic development” in Monticello over the years? It is time residents asked what is most important to us as residents?

    Is it more important to have water available in my home at a reasonable rate and spend my tax money to accomplish that or is the “promise” of jobs worth the money that is being spent?

    A grant writer can be hired for $40,000 a year and accomplish what is now costing $150,000 a year in funding for the MEDC. The rest of the money could be used to start addressing the failing water delivery system in the city.

    The piddling money being collected to fund a civic center on the outskirts of Monticello in hopes that it will be built or even generate enough money to maintain a $30 million civic center is ludicrous.

    All the proposed entities of city, county and school districts together don’t have the funds available to put even a down payment on this civic center.

    Why then are we presenting architectural renderings and even more important is the question of who is paying for these renderings?

    Is Monticello, one of the only cities in the state of its size without a City Plan, going to suddenly set goals and priorities starting with a plan to create an infrastructure that will support economic development?

    That’s the big question that will determine the future of the city
    and the county.

    Instead of purchasing or exchanging more property, spending money on architectural renderings or economic development,
    Monticello needs to be addressing a failing water system. The city
    built Lake Monticello to be used for a supposed water supply and there are no water lines to get water from the lake to the city because the lake is outside the city limits in the county.

    I wonder if members of the city council know how old the sewer system is and how much it will cost to bring it up to handle the needs of new industries and businesses interested in locating here?

    Lawmakers are elected to make the tough decisions but this city council and mayor, like the Congress, seem incapable of making
    basic decisions or even focusing and completing one project at a time to move the city forward.

    If the mayor is not willing to break a tie vote as his job description demands, then let the residents of Monticello decide where to locate the civic center and fire department since eventually they will be the ones who will finance it with their tax dollars.

  66. My Opinion says:

    No, No, No! The economy is not near good enough to be building something of this magnitude. We seem to be having trouble maintaining and upkeeping what we’ve got already. Think longterm about maintenance, upkeep, utilities, staffing, etc. on something this huge. Why not play catch up on salaries for employees who have not seen increases in pay while they are seeing increases in their cost of living? In my opinion, this town has plenty of things to keep up without adding unnecessary expenditures.

  67. first things first says:

    im all for things to improve the town…. But I dont think there should be anything built before there is a shiney new Fire Station built on the Whaley lot, untill the city council and the mayor can prove to monticello we can trust them to tax us to build something else they need to produce the New Monticello Fire Station we payed for over a decade ago.

  68. sue says:

    traffic is bad enough now what will it be like if acenter is built the old stop signs in town people would be held up for miles just look at the traffic congestion that we have now i had to stop 3 times from gabert st to square rediculous look at traffic on 425 now

  69. H2o says:

    Anybody visited the fire station recently? It’s shameful. Really, a convention center in a TOWN that is losing business FAST. Come on, give city employees a raise and fix what is already broken and not to mention WAY out of date.

  70. juss sayin says:

    I don’t understand….why don’t you fix the problems at hand before jumping off in another project??? The FIRE STATION!!! If the folks along WC Whaley don’t want it there, and a few council members (that’s not even “their district”)….why not put it where the old hospital was and put the new library at the WC Whaley site??? That ought to be quite enough for them and would look nice too! Duh,
    problem solved. Also….need to elect WHOLE new city council!!

  71. sue says:

    mistake it was 10 times we had to stop between gabbert and the square imagine a consert in town or any event

  72. DC Taxpayer says:

    The citizens of Drew County voted to put the Library on the old hospital site. Swapping the locations is really not an option.

  73. juss sayin says:

    Didn’t they vote to put the fire station at WC Whaley?? or was that just left for the so called “city council” to decide???

  74. random person says:

    this will help tons! it will atract attention, bring jobs, AND that means our “dying town” will livin up

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