MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
FORREST CITY CITY COUNCIL
FORREST CITY, ARKANSAS
October 6, 2015
The City Council of Forrest City, Arkansas, met in regular session on October 6, 2015. Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Alderman Fields offered prayer after which the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The following answered roll call: Mayor Bryant, Clerk Cochran, and City Council members: Williams, Hollowell, Breeding, Capps, Oswalt, and Fields. Alderman Echols came in at 6:10 p.m. and Attorney Cline and Alderman Twillie were absent.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve the minutes of September 15, 2015 regular meeting. Motion second by Alderman Williams. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Capps made a motion to approve the minutes of the special called meeting September 23, 2015. Motion second by Alderman Williams. Roll Call: All Ayes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Alderman Capps stated he e-mailed a list of questions to David Hodges, Architect, concerning the new fire sub-station; he would like the questions to be answered by the next city council meeting by the fire chief or the mayor. Mayor Bryant stated they would get with Mr. Murdock and Mr. Hodges.
DEPARTMENT HEADS REPORTS
Mr. Gaines was absent. Mayor Bryant reported that there will be a new caterer at the civic center. He also stated that all doors have been fixed; hopefully the parking lot will be paved by the end of this month.
Code Enforcement Officer Muqtasid gave an update on the following: New business to open was Cecil Café.
Under new construction: The Power House Warehouse is 90 % completed. The new two story motel is 30% completed. Under major renovation: the Boar’s Head Wellness center is 99% completed. The workout area is 75% completed. The AT&T building is completed. Condemned properties: The old school administration building has been condemned. 109 Cook Street has been condemned. The owner of the Jackson Hewitt building has completed the demolition. The Old Bonanza building was demolished by the owner.
Councilman Oswalt requested an update of the burnt structure on the corner of Grant and East Broadway. Code Enforcement stated that the property owner has made contact and is awaiting the asbestos test results prior to proceeding with the next step.
Mayor Bryant stated that he has some written questions for Code Enforcement and the Police Department to go through later.
Alderman Breeding asked if the city had opened an RV park on Broadway. Code Enforcement stated that she was not aware of one. Alderman Breeding then questioned why are there 2-RV campers sitting across from Vaccaro. Code Enforcement stated that she would like heads up of things prior to the meeting then she would be happy to give a report.
Alderman Hollowell told Code Enforcement that earlier today she told him she could not condemn a place if someone is living in it. She stated that is correct. Council Hollowell asked even if it is falling down. She stated it doesn’t matter. Code Enforcement stated that she believes you cannot tear a house down if it’s the primary residence and someone is living in it. She then stated that she is not an attorney and you may want to check with Attorney Cline. Alderman Capps stated that condemnation is based on whether or not the utilities are on.
Mayor Bryant stated he would ask Attorney Cline to look at the law to make sure a person’s property rights are not being violated. Councilman Oswalt asked about the property on N. Water and Ash Streets. Alderman Fields stated that they have already looked at that property.
October 6, 2015 Minutes cont.
Chief Ruffin reported for the month of September; there were 87 medical assists and six building fires which made a total of 128 runs.
Mayor Bryant reported on the new fire sub-station that the red steel has been put up and the first panel of siding went up the other day.
Park & Recreation
Recreation Director Kenneth Taylor stated that the equipment that the council gave him permission to purchase has been purchased. He said contracts have been signed with Blue Cross Blue Shield for Silver Sneakers and Heathway. The members will have free passes to the Multi-Purpose Center and it will be paid for by Blue Cross.
He said the next few months they will be working on the bridges at Stuart Spring Park; they will be stripping the parking lots and doing maintenance since this is their slowest time of the year.
Alderman Oswalt stated he recently received a compliment from a lady that lived here in the 1950’s regarding how well kept Stuart Springs Park is.
Mayor Bryant stated that the city is working on a grant with Parks and Tourism to use the 12 acres that was donated to the city for more nature trails and to clear out some areas so the people can see how beautiful the park is.
Chief Lee gave handouts and reported that there were: two openings in dispatch, three openings in patrol, Sergeant McNutt retired and that position is vacant. He stated that the department’s equipment is in pretty good shape. The police department was awarded a $25,000 USDA Rural Development grant to help purchase and fully equip three vehicles and a Livescan Digital Fingerprint system which will be installed on Thursday.
He also stated that the police department was awarded $11,001 from the Department of Justice the Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to help with upgrades and to purchase radios.
Activities for the month of September included 1,040 calls for service. Also two homicides, and two armed robberies which took place at the Flash Market on Deadrick Road; arrests were made in both incidents.
Mr. Murdock presented the city council with a monthly report for the Forrest City Water Utility on revenue for customer payments and locks and pulls for September. Mr. Murdock also passed out reading material and articles from other cities’ solar project system. In the package, there was also an article on Ford Motor Company that worked with Michigan utility DTE energy on the installation of the largest solar array in the state.
Mr. Murdock stated a cross connection control device needs to be put on the fire hydrants to monitor the water because some contractors are hooking to a the fire hydrant and getting 1,000 gallons of water for the fee of $10.00. The city cannot continue to give the water at that price. He said he would be asking the council for an approval of an ordinance to increase that rate; a minimum of at least $250.00.
Public Works Director Rooks was absent.
Committee President Dr. Stuart Towns reported that three members of the executive committee and Mayor Bryant met yesterday with representatives of Baldwin and Shell, the firm selected as the construction manager, and ETC the architectural firm of Little Rock. It was a worthwhile meeting and everyone seemed to be in agreement with what is going on. He stated the committee received a copy of the contract from Baldwin and Shell today; the executive committee will study the contract then present it to the council for approval at the next meeting.
He stated that the committee received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that their 501c3 application had been received. Hopefully, they will get an answer within 90-days so they can start the fund raising effort and applying for grants.
October 6, 2015 Minutes cont.
Mayor Bryant read for the second reading An Ordinance Defining The Procedure For Procurement Of Professional Services; And For Other Purposes sponsored by Alderman Breeding. Alderman Breeding made a motion to read the ordinance for the third reading by title only. Second by Alderman Hollowell. Mayor Bryant read the ordinance by title only for the third reading. Alderman Breeding made a motion to adopt the ordinance. Second by Alderman Capps. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to leave the current millage rate at 3.8 mills. Second by Alderman Capps. Roll Call: All Ayes.
GENERAL FUND BILLS
Alderman Breeding made a motion to approve and pay the General Fund bills in the amount of $37,954.95. Second by Alderman Hollowell. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Fields made a motion to approve and pay Street Fund bills in the amount of $21,757.08. Second by Alderman Echols. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve and pay Solid Waste Fund bills in the amount of $5,243.87. Second by Alderman Echols. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Capps made a motion to adjourn at 6:38 p.m. Second by Alderman Fields.
Larry Bryant, Mayor
Derene Cochran, City Clerk-Treasurer