A&P fund­ing re­quest fails, bud­get ap­proved

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Sarah Perry [email protected]­ton­courier.com

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.

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