Synopsis of Tuesday’s city board meeting
The city board will hold their first meeting of September on Tuesday night to engage in deliberation over a number of issues on their agenda. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and there will also be an update regarding the relocation of the rodeo grounds beginning at 6:00 p.m. Both will take place at City Hall and are open to the public.
Among the most significant of items on Tuesday night’s agenda is an ordinance that would rezone the .49 acre property located at 817 N. Mt. Olive St. from R-2 (residential, medium) to R-4 (residential, multi-family), according to a city staff report. The item will be on its first reading and its arrival to the board has been the result of a couple of months of discussion. It was first reviewed by the city’s planning and zoning commission during their June 10 meeting, who sent it to the board on their July 3 meeting, providing no recommendation. The board then remanded it back to the planning commission with a directive that they provide a recommendation. During the commission’s Aug. 14 meeting, despite considerable opposition from residents who live nearby the property, it was approved in a vote of 5-1.
Another notable item is an ordinance that would authorize a service fee on all debit and credit
card transactions that take place in the city; particularly those that pertain to the payment of utility bills, according to a city staff report. The ordinance will be on its first reading and comes after a June 10 workshop the board held, in which they considered four different options to alleviate rising costs being incurred upon the city from credit card processing fees, particularly from users of “purchasing” or business cards. Unlike typical credit cards, these cards charge the city a flat-rate processing fee of 2.7 percent. The city paid out just over $150,000 in credit card processing fees in 2017, and just over 40 percent of that came from purchasing card users. Due to this, city staff’s takeaway from the workshop was that the board felt it was necessary to let users pay this expense for the purpose of offsetting the amount the city lost in 2017 and to ensure that non-credit card users are not indirectly subsidizing those who are using them.
There is also the board’s consideration of an ordinance that would eliminate an incentive offered to industrial-scale energy users that own their own electrical transformers, according to a city staff report. The incentive provides these customers a permanent five percent discount on their electric bill. City staff recognized that this discount ends up covering the cost of a transformer in approximately two years, Due to this, it is their opinion that the continuation of this discount would have adverse effects on city revenue, according to the report. If the proposed amendment is approved, current recipients of the discount would not be affected; only customers in the future. There are also several other items up for the board’s consideration, which are summarized below.
• The decision to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $11,497.50, requested by the police department for the purpose of replacing a heating ventilation and air conditioning unit, according to a city staff report.
• The decision to approve a request from James Melton to sell his privately-owned airport hangar located at 4600 Smith Field Drive, and to simultaneously decline the city’s right to purchase the property, according to a city staff report. Melton has a ground lease with the city at the location of the property, and provisions of the lease agreement state that the city has the first right of refusal to purchase the property and city staff is recommending this refusal because they see no potential benefit in doing so.
• The decision to approve an ordinance that would rezone the 5.56 acre property located at 1996 E. Hwy 412 from R-2 (residential, medium) to G-I (general institutional), according to a city staff report.
• The decision to approve an ordinance that would vacate the right-of-way located in an alleyway that runs east to west on the 500 block of West Tahlequah Street, according to a city staff report.
• The decision to approve an ordinance that would amend a section of the city’s zoning code that pertains to P-K (parks) zones. The code change is being requested by the city because under the current regulations, the approval of significant development permit is needed in order for the city to be able to do things such as erect structures such as restroom facilities or to carry out tasks related to routine maintenance, according to a city staff report.
• The decision to approve a resolution that would authorize a significant development permit that would allow for the construction of four multifamily dwelling units at an existing apartment complex located at 620 Hwy. 16 E., according to a city staff report.
• The decision to approve a resolution that would authorize a significant development permit for the 2.45 acre lot located at 1510 E. Main St, according to a city staff report. The applicant, JWT Properties, LLC, wishes to construct a 15,000 square foot poultry supply facility on the property.
• The decision to approve a resolution that would authorize the property tax rate assessed to property owners in 2018 to remain the same in the year of 2019, according to a city staff report.
The Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce gathered human resources representatives from various companies on Thursday afternoon at the Courtyard Event Center to educate them on some initiatives being undertaken by Siloam Springs High School that are intended to help Career and Technical Education students find employment after they graduate. Leading the presentation was the high school’s assistant principal Ross White (right) along with Nathan Reed, (left) the chamber’s director for economic development and finance.