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Though there was not any new business on the agenda, Noel City Council still heard reports from each department, as well as from a citizen requesting an ordinance to be passed to drive side-by-sides in city limits, during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Departmental reports began with street superintendent Christopher Craig as he addressed the council about making preparations for the Christmas season. He would like to get an early start on Christmas lights this year.

"We need more lights in more locations," he said.

Another idea he has is to bring back paper bags with candles on Main Street and may need volunteers to help accomplish this project.

Mayor Lewis Davis also discussed the possibility of lighting up Christmas City before Thanksgiving this year due to weather.

Craig ensured the council that he has fresh ideas for Christmas lights this year. He also addressed some problems occurring at the city park.

"Concrete was being poured and it got ruined," he said. "People are also gathering rocks from the city park and there's an exposed water line."

Mayor Davis plans to check out the issue because he did not realize the waterline was exposed and active.

The street department is also expecting new road, sidewalk and cemetery signs to come in soon.

Wastewater superintendent Keith Harris shared with the council that he has received the draft for a new permit and will receive the final draft soon. He reported that, from the initial draft, it seems like the permit limits will stay the same.

Fire Chief Brandon Barrett also reported that the fire department received its ISO evaluation, in which an independent company rates the department based on equipment, training and response time and then reports that to insurance companies. The ISO evaluation is conducted every five years and the fire department skipped a cycle due to its number of personnel.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst, the fire department was rated a 6 in town and 7 in the county. This rating did not change but stayed the same, which Barrett attributed to a few factors, mostly due to paperwork.

"We did not get credit for the Lanagan fire station," Barrett explained. "They also want us to have 16 hours of structural fire fighting training and right now we currently have 12 hours but we plan to rectify that."

He reported that the fire department has a top-notch rating on fire equipment, however, the personnel numbers hurt their ISO rating. There are currently nine people on his roster.

"This is something you have to be motivated to do and that can be hard to find," Barrett said.

Marshal Randy Wilson reported that, in the last month, 14 arrests have been made and there have been 134 cases, bringing the total cases for the year to 1,627. He also thanked the city crew and fire department for their help with Sparks in the Ozarks.

The council then heard from Ron Noel requesting that an ordinance be passed to drive side-by-sides in city limits.

"I'm not talking about ATVs or 4-wheelers," he explained. "This is all they drive in Van Buren."

He presented the council with information on side-by-sides including requirements for driving in city limits, such as a $15 fee in which all proceeds would go to the police department.

"You've gotta be insured and have a license. The side-by-sides have to have headlights, brake lights, tail lights and seat restraints. You also have to follow city speed limits," he said.

The council had a few questions about the proposed ordinance and decided to wait until next month before putting it to a vote.

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