Council concludes 2018 city business
In the final City Council meeting of the year, city officials approved two rezoning requests, two annexation requests and three ordinances governing building and planning. All four council members were present as was one of the newly elected council members, Cody Keene.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Jackie Crabtree thanked both outgoing City Council members Lance Sanders and Bob Cottingham for their service over the past four and 13 years respectively.
Adopting Resolution 419, city officials amended the budget for 2018 as recommended by City Clerk Sandy Button who told council members: “If any one line item goes over, not necessarily all … it has to be amended.”
Overall, the 2018 budget increased from $5,978,845 to $6,231,421, according to the total 2018 amended budget. The breakdown reflected and increase from $3,789,79- to $4,256,200 in city general, $178,725 to $220,900 for City Park; a decrease from $956,000 to $587,000 for the Fire Department; an increase from $130,350 to $1,526,300 for the Police Department; $61,830 to $94,321 for the Library; a decrease from $792,500 to $753,000 for the Street Department; and an increase from $200,000 to $320,000 for the Street Fund. Button said the Street Fund increase was due to repair from storm damage that will be reimbursed by FEMA.
Button explained that increases in income in city general in both the county sales and “regular” sales tax was more than anticipated, required allocation to various city department funds and therefore amending of those budgets.
She said the disposal service expenses had increased as had group insurance. She also said the city lost about $10,000 on the mule jump this year.
“The mule jump expenses were a lot and income was not so much,” Button said. “We kind of went in the hole, but we love to do that for the city. I don’t consider that a money making thing.”
“The weather wasn’t very kind to us on that,” Mayor Jackie Crabtree said. “We usually kind of break even.”
City attorney Shane Perry said: “I would consider some of that money… the mule jump is part of the identity and brand … it generates a lot of good will.”
Button also explained that the increase in the parks budget was partially due to the $75,000 grant received for the splash pad.
“You have to spend the money, send in the bills to show you’ve paid, then get reimbursed,” she explained, adding that the splash pad is about 80 percent complete. “The city is out a little bit of money, but waiting to be reimbursed.”
The mayor said the decrease in the Fire Department budget was because of a grant applied for but not received.
As for the library, Button said: “The library went over quite a bit and I’m not exactly sure why. They bought more books.”
Council member Lance Sanders said it appeared there were quite a bit of donations received by the library.
“Those were from the Friends of the Library,” Button said. “They spent some from savings and covered all their expenses.”
Council member Ray Easley said he didn’t see salaries in the library budget and Button said city general pays all the library salaries.
In other business, the council:
• Approved Ord. 626 rezoning 309 S. Curtis Ave. from agricultural (A) to multi-family residential (R-2);
• Approved Ord. 627 rezoning 135 N. Davis St. from commercial (C-3) to multi-family residential (R-2);
• Approved Ord. 628 and Ord. 629 annexation two pieces of property on Slack Street (Ark. Hwy. 72) into the city at the request of the landowners;
• Approved Ord. 630 addressing home occupations and requiring placement of a sign on property being considered for a home occupation permit;
• Approved Ord. 631 addressing building permit fees and exemptions;
• Approved Ord. 632 addressing preliminary plats, final plats and incidental subdivision; and
• Approved the appointment of Jason C. Palik to the Planning Commission.