The Carlisle City Council questioned the future of the city football league Tuesday night during its monthly meeting.
Despite rumors the council has heard of the city not having a football program next year, Parks Director Ronnie Ashmore said that is not the case.
According to Ashmore, he was approached by two gentleman [Eric Foster and Clint Thornton] about the city supporting a Christian football league next fall.
He said although due to obvious reasons, the city could not join their league and he and Mayor Ray Glover agreed it was not in the best interest of the children to not offer a program through the city.
"They seem like good people," Mayor Ray Glover said. "But the city can’t, as a municipality, not include all kids. We have to go on with a city program."
According to the independent league "Carlisle Youth Football Association Inc." website, www.carlisle-youth-football.com, in their frequently asked questions section, the program is not being started because they are angry with the city.
"Absolutely not. The Mayor and the Parks and Rec Director were the first people we met with to inform them that we were starting a separate organization. In fact, we invited the Parks and Rec director to join with us as a coach and/or City Liaison. We explained that we feel led to use youth football as an opportunity to spread the Gospel to young men in our community. We explained that we believe that it would only take one angry atheist to shut down this ministry if we were under city or school control, since they are bound by "separation of church and state" limitations. We shared with them that The Gideons were recently denied access to the Lonoke School District. Secularism is invading our community and we are fooling ourselves if we believe it can’t happen here in Carlisle. The meeting with the mayor was friendly, ended on a high note and, although the city will be fielding a secular team, we received Mayor Ray’s blessing to move forward. We don’t have an axe to grind. We are simply exercising a right guaranteed to us by the First Amendment of the Constitution and participating in the Great Commission of the Church…..to spread the Gospel."
The website continues to say they do not plan to abandon the league once their players move onto junior high football.
"No. Just the opposite. We believe one of the root causes of Carlisle’s history of losing seasons is because each year, the program, system, schemes, plays, etc. are started from scratch. The ‘system’ for that year revolves around the particular coach and when that coach leaves, so does the "system". Last year, the third and fourth grade coaches invested in an expandable system designed specifically for youth football. We purchased DVD’s and books that not only instructed us on how to coach the players, but how to coach ourselves. The result of this investment was that for the first time in several years, a Carlisle youth football team ended the season with a winning record. More importantly, we didn’t have any players quit on us, most led a team prayer at least once and they all shared Gospel tracts with the opposing teams. For the 2012 third and fourth grade team, morale was high and the number of conflicts was low. Our plan is to start training interested fathers to take active coaching roles using the proven tools (DVD’s and books) purchased last year. We will hand these coaching tools and playbooks down to the upcoming coaching staff. Our plan is to remain on the executive committee and perform administration tasks if needed, even after our boys enter the Jr. High program. We are not going to ‘liquidate’ the association once our boys graduate sixth grade. We have a vested interest in ensuring the upcoming grade levels have a successful youth football experience. In addition to these players becoming our future leaders, our boys will be playing with them in High School.
Ashmore said the city will have a league next year and anyone with any questions about the program should contact him at the city.
"It worked well last year … it should work well this year," Ashmore said.
Last year, the city league had 19 third- and fourth-grade students and 15 fifth- and sixth-grade students, according to Ashmore.
In other business, Stephen Bariola asked the council on behalf of Stratton Seed company to pass a resolution certifying their endorsement to allow Stratton Seed to participate in a tax back program offered through the state. Bariola said Stratton Seed will be adding onto their warehouse and building a fertilizer plant. He said the new $1.8 million facility will opening a minimum of four new jobs in the community. According to Bariola the state has an incentive program that will offer a rebate on the sales tax of materials purchased from the construction of the fertilizer plant and warehouse addition. According to the resolution, Stratton Seed Company will be endorsed by the city for benefits from the sales and use tax refund provided by section 15-2-2706(d) of the Consolidated Incentive act of 2003 and the Department of Finance and Administration is authorized to refund local sales and use tax to Stratton Seed Company.
Alderman Eddie Moore, Jon Plafcan, Ann Anderson, W.H. Kittler and Chad Bennett were in favor of authorizing the resolution. Alderman Mike Walker was against it. The motion passed 5-1.
Kittler said after repairing one of the mosquito trucks, they are not ready to begin spraying. Kittler said chemicals have been ordered and, at this time, Robert Barns has agreed to stay on to strictly oversee the operation due to his licensing and to do some driving.
"We are ready to start the first of June," Kittler said.
Last months city-wide clean up yielded a low collection amount, according to Public Works superintendent Jeff Ward. Ward said they filled up three dumpsters this year, which was not as much as they normally collect.
Ward also said bridge work on Reid Street will begin as soon as they get good weather.
Glover told the council he has been talking with Jack Trumper about re-issuing the city bond used for work on the oxidation pond years ago. The bond, which is to mature in 2024, currently has an interest rate of 4.367 percent. Glover said, according to Trumper, by re-issuing it the city can lower the rate to around two percent, saving the city $118,000 over the next 11 years. Glover said he has asked Trumper to make a presentation during a special meeting at 6 p.m. on May 30 on reissuing the bond for savings and what potential the city has of raising funds to purchase a new water meter reading system.
Before the council meeting, the council gathered at the new police and court building for a walk through. Glover said construction manager Jason Patterson said the building should be ready to move into by the middle of July.
During the meeting, Chief of Police Eric Frank presented the council with three bids on a security system for the building, which will include access controls, video visitation capabilities, camera system and intercoms.
The highest bid was from Reliable Fire Protect LLC of in the amount of $38,546. The lowest bid was from Life Safety Associates of Maumelle for $36,432.
Glover informed the council that the system will be purchased through the city Court Automated funds, once approved by District Judge Joe Svoboda. The council unanimously approved the purchase of the security system from Life Safety Associates for $36,432 which will be paid from court automated funds upon the authorization of Svoboda.
There will be a special council meeting at 6 p.m. on May 30 in the Civic Center. The next regular scheduled council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on June 18 in the Civic Center.