Thursday, June 12, 2008

CITY COUNCIL MEETING NOTES 6-10-2008

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The Helena West Helena City Council met on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 in the City Council Chambers and dealt with the Agenda posted at http://mayorjfvalley.googlepages.com/june102008agenda.

Here's a slideshow of snapshots from the meeting:




A couple of items were essential tabled for later consideration including a presentation on the placement of a cellular phone tower on Reservoir Hill near our water tank; and the presentation of Mr. John Crow as a member of the Warfield Committee,

The West Helena Housing Authority, which is an independent governmental agency, has a board of directors. The board of directors nominate, actually re-nominated, Mr. Rochester Johnson to serve another five (5) year term. His appointment was theirs to make subject, only, to the approval of the city council. Mr. Johnson appeared before the council and spoke very briefly about his experience on the board. Mr. Johnson said quite simply that if a person has served in a position for 30 something years there is not a whole lot of talking to be done.

Mr. Jay Hollowell spoke favorably about Mr. Johnson and Mr. Joe St. Columbia seconded a motion by Mr. Hollowell to confirm the pending appointment. Mr. Rochester Johnson was then confirmed by the city council.

Rev. Danny Robinson appeared before the council to discuss several things. He praise the council and particularly his ward representatives, Tommy Hunt and Red Johnson, as well as Mrs. Trece Shepherd Williams for the work they do. He requested a speed bump near his church. Jay Hollowell explained his preference for stop signs. I joined in the same expression as that has been this administration's approach to traffic control issues. We determined that a four-way (4) stop sign would work better and have directed the street department to make that happen.

Rev. Robinson also discussed the Arkansas Street Fire Station and wants the city to decide what is best for the building and fix it or raze it.

Finally, Rev. Robinson complained that a contractor did some work in the Lithicum and Rembrandt street area of Helena Crossing and has caused some drainage issues. That area already has more than its share of drainage concerns because it sits low and is en route to Long Lake and water passes through that areas on its way out to Long Lake.

City employees were granted vacation. Mr. Jay Hollowell moved that the mayor and city clerk be permitted to make the transaction with the State of Arkansas to officially state a retirement plan for our employees effective July 1, 2008. The motion was seconded and unanimously passed. City employees are encouraged to review the 2008 APERS (Arkansas Public Employees Retirements System) Handbook which is available online. The website is: http://www.apers.org/. The handbook is found under publications, I think.

Don Etherly addressed his request for more stringent enforcement of the city's code on vacant lots. His particular concern is the lots with tall grass that hide rodents, vermin and pest. Code Enforcement has been directed to step up its efforts. As a result of that order, Code Enforcement has created a post card called the Chapter 5 Notice which details the potential penalties for failing to comply with the city code. The initial fine could be as high as $150.00. Then, the daily fine for a continuing problem could be as much as $75.00 per day. Those are stiff penalties for lots that would cost about $35.00 on the average to cut.

Marvin Jarrett and Diane Corbin presented a Smoking Free Parks Ordinance. The link to the language is here: http://jfvalley.blogspot.com/2008/06/fyen-smoke-free-parks-ordinance-draft.html. The ordinance was passed by the city council and effective in 30 days all parks in the City of Helena-West Helena will be smoke free areas.

Finally, Joe Dean moved the reappointment of Pat Roberson and the appointment of Trece Shepherd Williams to serve on the A & P Commission and that motion was passed as well.

The next city council meeting is set tentatively for June 24, 2008. I will not be present. I will be at the Delta Regional Authority's 4th Annual Convention. For more information on that see www.dra.gov.

Here's a copy of the audio file containng the recorded meeting. Council Meeting 6-10-2008

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