Wednesday, August 6, 2008

City Council Meeting August 5, 2008 (notes)

The City Council of the City of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas met in regular session starting at 6:00 p.m. and dealt with the business as set out below:

Present: Reynolds, St. Columbia, Wilson, Hollowell, Dean, Johnson, Hunt, Etherly, Mayor Valley, S. Ramsey, City Clerk; Attorney Valley.

Absent: Jarrett, Williams and Boone


UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

Amended Budget (employee pay raises)

Council Approved Mayor Valley's Proposal to Pay 116 Full-Time employees a one-time stipend of $250.00 each. The total pre-tax and pre-benefit cost to the city is $29,000.00. This money will be paid August 6, 2008.

Resolutions Election(s) (Mixed Drink Election – Mrs. Latoya Harris or designee)

Resolution 16 which was passed at the last council meeting was revisited. The City Council authorized the Mayor to get with the Election Commission on a date for the Mixed Drink Election. This basically granted the Mayor the authority to change the election date from September 16th to a more workable date.

Resolution 18 which was basically tabled at the last meeting was discussed and narrowed. Adrian Messina spoke against Sunday sales proposal. Elder Vandell Bland, Sr. Attorney at Law, spoke in favor of the Sunday sales proposal. There was hearty discussion of the issues. The council essentially agreed to propose to the voters a resolution calling for an election on the question of Sunday sales in restuarants or relevant businesses holding valid "on-premises" liquor permits between the hours of 12:00 p.m. (noon) and 10:00 p.m. The restuarants need to sale food and the ratio of food to alcohol sales should be consistent with ABC requirements which is believed to be 60% food to 40% alcohol.


APERS Resolution
The City Council voted to authorize the City of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas to join APERS (Arkansas Public Employments Retirement System)(http://www.apers.org/). This means effective September 1, 2008 all city employees not currently covered by another state sponsored retirement will be placed into APERS. The employees will pay a 5% pre-tax contribution and the city will match with 11.01% or whatever amount is required by APERS. The current amount is 11.01% which is down from 12.54%.

Humane Society of the Delta:

Jay Hollowell gave a report of the meeting held in his office with several representatives interested in animal care and control in Phillips County, Arkansas. Jay's presentation was fairly consistent with the account recently reported in The Daily World. There is another meeting planned for August 12th at 3:30 p.m. at Jay's office and if there is an overflow crowd then the meeting will be moved to city hall in the city council chambers. The group will develop a plan to be discussed at the August 12th meeting. Then Jay Hollowell will present a request for the city's involvement at the August 19th council meeting. Spaying and Neutering clinics are expected to be key components of any proposal.

Street Paving Discussion:

The City Council was given a deadline (self-imposed) of September 8th to present the streets that they are requesting to be paved. This discussion, which took place amid the employee stipend discussion, was made necesssary by virtue of the Ward 2 representatives statements that we need to do more for our citizens. A hearty discussion followed. Mayor Valley explained that he has been working on a street paving project. These links will help with the discussion of the street projects:

April 24, 2008:

http://jfvalley.blogspot.com/2008/04/street-and-drainage-repair-project.html

May 6, 2008:

http://jfvalley.blogspot.com/2008/05/city-council-meeting-5608-agenda.html

July 22, 2008:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcj2f4rn_130dc69jdcc


NEW BUSINESS:

Cell Tower Update-David McGee (AUGUST 19TH)
Mr. McGee was not able to attend the meeting and will be placed on the agenda for August 19th.


Competitive Bidding Ordinances:

Helena Community Center Air Conditioning Project: Mr. Oshea Burrell presented the information on the project which will put a heating and (more importantly) cooling unit in the Helena Community Center. This project is made possible by a grant through the federal government's rural development program. The council directed that bids be solicited for the project. Competitive Bidding was not waived.

Municipal Golf Course Project (Mowers): The council, having previously been presented with the plans and the research done by Mr. Burrell, approved the ordinance waiving competitive bidding on the greens and fairway mowers. The mowers are John Deere Mowers.

Municipal Golf Course Project (Golf Carts): The council did not approve the request to waive competitive bidding on the Golf Carts from Ladd's. The council directed Oshea Burrell and the Mayor to do what they could to rectify the situation. Ladd has threatened to pick up the carts. Burrell thought that the process he followed was okay. It was not. He replaced the 10 worn-out golf carts with 10 brand new 2008 golf carts. The additional cost for the new carts is $100.00 per month or a total of roughly $6,000.00 in new spending. Mrs. Billie Moore commented that the city needs to "follow the rules." Mayor Valley apologized for the shortcoming on this project.

Travel Ordinances (not presented).

Meeting Dates :

Alderman Red Johnson requested that our meeting dates be cut back to one scheduled meeting per month. Last month the majority of the council voted favorably on the same MOTION. However, because our meeting dates are set by ordinance, an ordinance was required to change the Ordinance. Attorney Valley presented the Ordinance. Red Johnson move for approval of the Ordinance. Tommy Hunt seconded the motion. After what was another hearty discussion, Mr. Hunt withdrew his second and Mr. Johnson's motion died for lack of a second.


Retirement Ordinances:

Not presented. See August 19th agenda

Master Plan Power Point Presentation (8/14/2008): Announcement was made on this important matter and the council was encouraged to attend this presentation.

PROPOSED NEW BUSINESS:

Occupational Licenses Fee Structure -- See August 19th agenda.

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