Alma officials honored veterans during the Jan. 19 Alma City Council meeting by approving Alma as a Purple Heart City.

Alma City Council members unanimously approved a resolution put forward by Alma Planning Commission member Joe Cannon to name Alma as a Purple Heart City in honor of Purple Heart Medal recipients.

The Purple Heart is awarded to U.S armed forces members who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

Alma’s resolution states that “citizens of our city have received the Purple Heart Medal as a result of being wounded or killed while engaged in combat with an enemy force…(and) the city of Alma seeks to remember, recognize and honor veterans who are recipients.”

Signs to indicate that Alma is a Purple Heart City will be erected at the north, south, east and west entrances to the city, said Alma Mayor Keith Greene.

Also during the meeting, council members approved the city’s 2017 budget. The budget was approved for a total of $2,608,105 with revenue expected at $2,608,437.27.

Budgets approved were the general fund, $612,260; parks and recreation, $72,000; planning, $167,345; police, $1,626,500; fire, $118,000; and social services, $12,000.

Three amendments were made to the budget at the council meeting, including the approval for up to $18,000 in cost reimbursements for the new city attorney.

Council members approved a resolution authorizing the city to contract work with Wimberley Construction, which is owned by the son-in-law of council member Eddie Wakefield.

In the resolution, it is noted that Wimberley “has performed this type of work for the City of Alma in a satisfactory manner in the past, is convenient to our City and has always been reasonable in its pricing.”

Wimberley was awarded a $19,850 contract later in the meeting to build a concrete ramp and gravel turnaround at Lake Alma for boat launching.

City council members waived competitive bidding on the project. Waiving bidding was necessary so that the launch could be built swiftly while lake waters are low, said Alma Public Works Director Mark Yardley.

Wakefield abstained from all votes related to Wimberley.

“Wimberley has done work for the City of Alma for many years,” Wakefield said. “He only became my son-in-law last year.”

Bond money appropriated to the fire and public works departments will be used to share costs on the boat launch.

Council members also approved an ordinance to waive competitive bidding for the design and build of roof trusses for the water treatment plant.

Capital Structures of Fort Smith was awarded the up to $30,000 contract because they can save the city money by both designing and building the trusses, something few other companies do, Yardley said.