Monticello has extended until May 2012 its agreement to operate a rural water system and authorized the Monticello High School East Lab to construct crappie beds at Lake Monticello.

The city council Thursday night unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing Monticello Mayor Allen Maxwell to extend its operating agreement with the Mt. Zion Water Association.

Over the last year, the Mt. Zion Water Association has installed a new board of directors which has made considerable progress in getting the troubled water association back on track and the city of Monticello has contracted temporarily to operate Mt. Zion’s water system, including the billing and maintenance. Mt. Zion, however, has asked Monticello to take it over the system permanently so that it can take advantage of the state Board of Health’s offer to waive $27,000 in fines and Community Resource Group’s offer to discount the water association’s $69,000 note.

“At some point down the road the city needs make a decision whether we’re going to accept that system or not, but we will have six more months of experience with them…,” Maxwell said. “So far we have almost no problems.”

In other business, the city council authorized the Monticello High School East Lab to construct crappie beds at Lake Monticello.

East Lab students Rex Henderson and Hunter Hickham explained that the crappie beds would improve fishing at the lake and attract more tourists. The beds would be constructed with concrete-filled 5-gallon buckets and bamboo. The students said they are not asking the city to fund the project, except maybe the cost of the concrete.

Maxwell said the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission thinks it is a good idea and Game & Fish officer Scott Lane said AG&F would be willing to assist the students if needed.

After the council agreed to the project Maxwell told the students, “Y’all come see me about the concrete.”