The City Council of Forrest City, Arkansas, met in regular session on January 20, 2015. Mayor Pro Tem Twillie called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. Alderman Williams offered prayer. The following answered roll call: Mayor pro Tem Twillie, Clerk Cochran, Attorney Cline, and City Council members: Williams, Echols, Hollowell, Breeding, Fields, Capps, and Oswalt. Mayor Bryant was absent due to illness.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve the minutes from the January 6, 2015 regular meeting. Motion second by Alderman Fields. Roll Call: All Ayes.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Alderman Oswalt said a personnel committee meeting was scheduled for yesterday at 5:30 p.m. but at the time he did not realize it was a holiday; the meeting was canceled and will be re-scheduled for a later date.
Order of City Council
Alderman Oswalt gave out recommendations at the last meeting on the order of business for the city council. Alderman Oswalt asked the council if they wanted to make any changes to the recommendations. Mayor Pro Tem asked if the agendas could be mailed out three working days prior to the meeting in item #1.
He also asked in order of business #4, if public speaking could be limited to four minutes instead of three.
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie questioned order of business #5, cells phones or electronic devices must either be turned off or put in silent mode. Alderman Oswalt said he noticed people holding conversation during the meeting or someone answering the cell phone as they walk out the door.
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie asked about order of business #6, no motion, resolution, or ordinance shall be considered during the announcement portion of the agenda. Alderman Oswalt stated all items should be placed on the agenda to give the council proper time to review it.
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie said on order of business #7, he thinks that public comments should be moved up after the approval of the minutes. Alderman Capps suggested public comments should go after department head reports, in case the department head may report or talk about some of the issues of the public complaints.
Alderman Echols said she had a problem with order of business #4, where it states a citizen should be placed on the agenda and shall be sponsored by a city council member. She said what if the person cannot get a sponsor. Alderman Oswalt said that part of the order of business could be removed.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion that the city council approves the format of business for the 2015 council meeting with the necessary changes. Second by Alderman Hollowell. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie said Mayor Bryant told him once the format was formed to announce that he would like for the chairman of the personnel and finance committee to report to him any economic development situations and then the report would be made to the full council.
Permission to Purchase Old Ridout Building for Solid Waste Facility
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie stated that Mayor Bryant said if the council had any question concerning the purchase of the building, they could call his cell phone.
January 20, 2015 Minutes cont.
Attorney Cline told Alderman Oswalt he checked with the Attorney General on bidding and it does not apply to the purchase of real estate. Attorney Cline said he thought it would be a good idea to pass an ordinance like the council always does to protect the city.
Alderman Oswalt said looking at the e-mail that was sent concerning the sale of the property, a decision must be made by 25th of January, 2015 or they will start looking for other avenues to sale the property. He also said the council does not have an ordinance ready for tonight.
Alderman Williams expressed his concerns on a solid waste facility being placed in the area. He said he had several calls from his contingents and officials from nearby churches expressing their concerns with contamination and other problems. Alderman Williams also said he would like to hold a town hall meeting for Ward 1 residents to continue the discussion.
Alderman Echols agreed with Alderman Williams, she said further discussion and research should be done before a solid waste facility is placed in the area.
Alderman Capps said he understood what Alderman Williams is saying. If the city purchased the property it should not be a problem keeping it clean, because the council would be the one to monitor the facility. He said it is an excellent price on the property. The council has to consider if someone else purchases the property, what would be placed there because the property is commercial.
Alderman Echols stated if they were concerned about what type of facility it may become, why the city does not purchase the property. Attorney Cline said the property would still have to be re-zoned regardless.
After a lengthy discussion Alderman Williams made a motion to purchase the Ridout property for $75,000.00 with the exception of putting a solid waste facility there.
Attorney Cline said the matter would have to be voted on again at a future meeting and the motion could be amended before a final vote is held. Motion second by Alderman Hollowell.
Alderman Oswalt stated by eliminating the property for a solid waste facility, the property could not be purchased with bond money, but if the land is purchased for other reasons, the money will have to come out of the general fund. Mayor Pro Tem Twillie said no, the money will have to come from other sources.
Roll Call: Alderman Hollowell, Fields, Capps, Williams, and Echols. All Ayes.
Alderman Breeding and Oswalt said No.
Attorney said the council will need a formal resolution to that effect.
Condemnation Bid Opening
Attorney Cline asked if there were any bids in the audience for 430 Trenton condemnation; there were none.
One bid was opened from Perdew Construction Co., Inc. for $5,600.00; Mayor Pro Tem Twillie said Mayor Bryant and Code Enforcement Officer Muqtasid will look at the bid.
An Ordinance Waving the Requirement of Competitive Bidding; Authorizing Expenditure of Fourteen Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars to Contract with Southern Environmental Management
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie recognized Heather Pettus, Project Manager with Southern Environmental Management & Specialties, of Baton Rouge.
Ms. Pettus told council that PMI did a Phase II study for one of the banks that apparently wanted to use the property as collateral. The council was not aware that the study was done and contamination was found until much later. She said Attorney Cline gave her a copy of Phase II
January 20, 2015 Minutes cont.
study, and at that time, she jumped on getting all of the requirements done for the state of Arkansas, which says you have to notify within 24 to 72 hours of any contamination found.
She said Attorney Cline was not notified until several months after contamination was found and now the city is in a time crunch of February 20, 2015 deadline to do everything the state of Arkansas wants, which is to go out and delineate the extent of the contamination. She said what was found was gas and diesel in the soil from tanks that operated in the 1990's and removed in 1997. She said the study that was performed by PMI was ordered by Delta Regional Airport Authority, after officials with First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas requested the study as part of an effort by the DRAA to receive a line credit on the airport property. After further discussion, Attorney Cline said he prepared an ordinance so the council would not have to do competitive bidding.
Attorney Cline read An Ordinance Waving the Requirement of Competitive Bidding; Authorizing Expenditure of Fourteen Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars to Contract with Southern Environmental Management Sponsored by Alderman Oswalt.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to suspend the rules and read the ordinance for the second reading by title only. Second by Alderman Capps. Roll Call All Ayes.
Attorney Cline read the ordinance by title only for the second. Alderman Oswalt made a motion to suspend the rules and read the ordinance for the third reading. Second by Alderman Fields. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Attorney Cline read the ordinance by title only for the third reading. Alderman Oswalt made a motion to adopt the ordinance. Second by Alderman Fields. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to adopt the emergency clause. Second by Alderman Fields.
Roll Call: All Ayes.
Attorney Cline asked if there were anyone present with concerns on the 812 N. Rosser Street condemnation resolution; there were none. Attorney Cline read A Resolution Providing for the Condemnation and Removal of Structures; Finding A Public Nuisance; Providing Lien on The Property; And For Other Purposes Alderman Oswalt made a motion to adopt the resolution. Second by Alderman Capps. Roll Call All Ayes.
Attorney Cline asked if there were anyone present with concerns on the 321 W. Elise Street condemnation resolution; there were none. Attorney Cline read A Resolution Providing for the Condemnation and Removal of Structures; Finding A Public Nuisance; Providing Lien on The Property; And For Other Purposes Alderman Oswalt made a motion to adopt the resolution. Second by Alderman Fields. Roll Call All Ayes.
Bid Opening for RFQs and RFPs for Architects and Engineers for Multi-Purpose Track, Pool.
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie said in the December council meeting Mayor Bryant requested permission to seek RFQs and RFPs for the different facilities. Mayor Pro Tem Twillie told the council that there are nine copies of each proposal and each council member could take a copy. Attorney Cline asked if there were anyone in the audience with any proposals; there were none.
Bids were opened from: Brackett Krennerich Architects, Jonesboro, Arkansas
McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas
ETC Engineers & Architects, Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas
ETFC Garey Architects, West Memphis, Arkansas
Renaissance Group, Lakeland, Tennessee
Fennell/Purifoy Architects, Little Rock, Arkansas
Attorney Cline said the process would be to narrow the six RFQs and RFPs down to three then pick the best qualified company.
January 20, 2015 Minutes cont.
Library Board Re-Appointment
Alderman Breeding made a motion to re-appoint Lindsay Hodges (Ward 4) to the Forrest City Library Board. Alderman Oswalt said he thought that was the mayor's appointment, but he did say Mayor Bryant had signed the request. Alderman Oswalt then second the motion. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Delta Regional Airport
Mayor Pro Tem Twillie recognized Dr. John Kerr of the Delta Regional Airport.
Dr. Kerr applauded the council's efforts to address the issue on the contamination. He requested that the council expedite its efforts to get an appraisal on the property so the property could be sold in order to release those funds to the DRAA.
Attorney Cline said he felt it would be best to wait and see the results of the study being performed by SEMS before seeking an appraisal on the property.
Alderman Breeding agreed with Attorney Cline; wait until the study is done, to see exactly what they are going to find and how much it is going to cost so the city can get an accurate appraisal.
Dr. Kerr said that the DRAA is in need of funds from the sale of the airport to assist with matching funds for state and federal grants. He told the council that close to $24 million had been spent to build the facility and he anticipates that the final numbers will be close to $33 million once a terminal and other amenities are added to the facility.
GENERAL FUND BILLS
Alderman Oswalt made a motion to approve and pay the General Fund bills totaling $9,495.62. Second by Alderman Echols. Roll Call: All Ayes.
STREET FUND BILLS
Alderman Hollowell made a motion to approve and pay Street Fund bills in the amount of $8,391.36 Second by Alderman Breeding. Roll Call: All Ayes.
SOLID WASTE FUND BILLS
Alderman Capps made a motion to approve and pay Solid Waste Fund bills in the amount of $32,724.09. Second by Alderman Williams. Roll Call: All Ayes.
Alderman Oswalt asked for a personnel committee Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Alderman Oswalt said at the retreat, there were some discussion about water department employees. He said he found the information in the Times-Herald archives; he will have the information at the next council meeting.
Alderman Capps made a motion to adjourn at 7:30 p.m. Second by Alderman Fields.