A&P funding request fails, budget approved
The city of Bryant is set to begin the new year after the Bryant City Council approved the 2020 budget during the final meeting of the year Tuesday.
The approved budget includes updating the pay scales for both Bryant police officers and firefighters, as well as education pay for all city employees.
In the budget, city officials outlined four focus areas — public safety, health and quality of life for residents and visitors to Bryant parks, connectivity and smart growth.
When presenting 2019 financial reports and budget amendments, Financial Director Joy Black told the council she expects the city to end the year on budget.
Continuing an ongoing discussion, the council voted on Advertising and Promotion funding requests. After voting to dissolve the Advertising and Promotion Commission and repeal the tax earlier this year, the Bryant City Council is tasked with spending the remaining tax revenue. During the November meeting, the council had approved event funding requests, but tabled project proposals. The council approved a request to construct a pavilion at Bishop Park at a cost of approximately $152,000.
Parks Director Chris Treat told the council that the pavilion was part of the original plan for Bishop Park. Following the council’s approval, Treat will bid out each piece of the project.
The council also approved a request to place benches along the trail at Mills Park. This request was made by Thelma Poole, president of the Riverdale Garden Club.
She asked to council to give consideration to seniors who are encouraged by their doctors to exercise, but can only walk for a short distance before needing to sit.
The cost for four benches is $3,322.62.
The Bryant Parks Department’s request to install additional lighting in parking lots at Bishop Park and electricity for festivals was denied by the council. Aldermen Butch Higginbotham, Lorne Gladden, Rob Roedel, Wade Permenter, Carlton Billingsley and Star Henson voted against the request.
The proposed cost for the project was approximately $535,000, according to Mayor Allen Scott.
Scott asked the council at the end of the meeting to discuss this project again at a later date since the lack of lighting at the park is “a public safety concern.”
The council approved the purchase of a 7.88-acre tract of land near Bishop Park at a price of $7,880. City Engineer Ted Taylor said the city needs the land as an easement for drainage improvements.
The land ,which was purchased from Reynolds Metals Co., is located in a floodplain, so uses for the land is limited, Taylor added.
After being in the works for more than two years, the council approved an amended stormwater management manual and revised stormwater management regulations, operations and guidelines. The council approved emergency clauses for both items so the new regulations will be in place at the start of the new year.
The manual had not been updated since 2008 and the management regulations had not been updated since 1992, according to Public Works Director Mark Grimmett.
Other approved items on the agenda include:
•Several agreements between the Bryant Parks Department and various organizations. These agreements include the Bryant High School swim team, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bryant and the Bryant Senior Wellness and Activity Center.
•A resolution involving an Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment Division of Environmental Quality Consent Administrative order. This order stems from a $500 fine the city received from ADEQ. A vendor paid the fee after taking responsibility for the error, said City Attorney Josh Farmer.
•An ordinance involving setting franchise fees for telecommunications systems. Farmer told the council this ordinance is needed since Uniti is in the process of acquiring Windstream equipment in Bryant.
•A resolution supporting House Joint Resolution 1018 of 2019 to continue a onehalf percent sales and use tax. This tax is set to expire in 2020 and will be voted on by residents next year. If the tax is not reinstated, the city would lose about 15 percent of its street department revenue, Scott said.
•An ordinance to rezone a property 4214 Springhill Rd. from R2 to R1S.
All meetings of the council are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.