Gould fire truck target of lawsuit

Just about the time things seem to be quieting down in the Lincoln County town of Gould, the municipality is being sued by a Manhattan, Kan., bank for failing to make payments on a fire truck and an alcohol Breathanalyzer, which the bank has financed for the city.

Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt of White Hall, who has had his judicial share of Gould cases this year, is scheduled to hear the debt suit Jan. 3 in Star City.

The suit, filed Nov. 9, contends Gould entered into a contract with the bank in 2010 to finance a 1989 Hahn pumper tanker fire truck and was obligated to pay the bank a $9,687 annual payment each March until the debt was retired.

The bank claims the city “defaulted” by not making its March payment. Now the bank wants its money or the truck. As of Oct. 29, the city owed $39,424.57, according to the suit.

There is more, of course, because there is always more at Gould.

In April 2011, Gould contracted with the same bank to finance a new police Breathanalyzer machine and agreed to pay the bank $362.80 monthly until the debt was off. The city still owes $7,384.11 on the machine, the bank contends.

Folks who have been following the ongoing saga of Gould may remember that in 2011, the city’s aldermen “zeroed out” the police department’s budget, effectively closing down the department.

Gould has another fire truck that is being held by an Alabama firm that made mechanical repairs and modifications to the apparatus. The company wants its bill paid before it releases the truck.

Mayor Earnest Nash Jr., who has been jailed twice this year, blames two council members who have boycotted recent city council meetings and the fact that no business could be conducted for lack of a quorum.

Nash has also had a running feud this year with Pamela Barley-Gibson, the recorder-treasurer, maintaining she has not cooperated with him. Barley-Gibson sued Nash to obtain physical access to her City Hall office.

The latter involved Nash being jailed temporarily for contempt when Judge’s Wyatt’s orders were not followed as the court specified.

Nash’s home was destroyed in an early morning fire last Saturday morning, but no one was injured in the blaze. The mayor credited his son Jeremiah’s quick actions with alerting the family to the danger and giving them time to escape.

Gould, Grady and Wells Bayou volunteer responded to the fire alarm.

Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division special agents inspected the fire site Monday being notified that same day. Evidence was collected and sent to the State Crime Laboratory. There are preliminary indicators that have agents inclined to suspect electrical wiring as the source.

Cited for service

Sometimes we overlook the accomplishments of organizations in our own back yard. That’s often the case with the Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility, one of our better-run municipal departments.

The utility was recently recognized by a national organization for the quality of the treated water it discharges into the Arkansas River.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies gave the PBWU its Gold Award for Peak Performance in October in recognition of its achieving 100 percent compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits in 2011.

Little Rock Wastewater Utility was the only other water treatment utility in Arkansas serving a population of 50,000 or more to receive the Gold Award.

A tip of the hat to PBWU manager Ken Johnson and his crews for their exceptional service over the years.