Tuesday, July 9, 2019

City Council Votes To Redeem Property and Authorize Fire Fees

All six members of the Warren City Council were present Monday, July 8th for the July meeting of the Council.  Mayor Pennington presided.  The members reviewed and approved the minutes of the June 10th meeting and the financial reports.  City Clerk Helen Boswell reported that the general fund had an $11,000.00 net gain for the month and the street fund gained $21,000.00.  She went on to state that the City sales tax generated $76,022.67 for the month and the City's portion of the County sales tax was $49,452.17.  Both were increases of of 4%.

Acting Fire Chief Mike Ashcraft presented a plaque to retired Chief Howard Edwards inducting him into the Arkansas Fire Fighters Hall of Fame.  Chief Edwards served 51 years as a fire fighter, including his tenure as Warren Fire Chief.  Chief Ashcraft stressed the fact that few people are inducted into the Hall of Fame until they pass away.  He stated this spoke highly of Chief Edwards and his accomplishments as a fire fighter.

Next, the council voted 6-0 approving a resolution honoring the "Life of James Moseley, Jr.", a former member of the Warren City Council.  Known as Jimmy, Mr. Moseley was a longtime resident and businessman in the city, who served with distinction as a member of the Warren City Council.  Mayor Pennington read the resolution and made the presentation to the Moseley Family, including Mr. Moseley's wife, Council Member Emily Moseley.

Mayor Pennington made three nominations for appointment to city boards which were confirmed by the council.  The appointments were as follows:
*Michael Kee to the Warren Planning Commission
*Brenda Bass to the Warren Parks & Recreation Commission
*Marty Reep to the Warren Board of Adjustment & Appeals
All three were approved 6-0.

The Mayor then presented a resolution to the council accepting a grant from the State Historic Preservation Commission in the amount of over $133,000.00 to be used to continue renovating the Rail Road Depot on Cedar Street.  The City will match the grant with $27,500.00.

In other action the council approved contracts of obligation and a letter of credit to comply with requirements of the State Department of Environmental Quality relating to closed out solid waste facilities.

Reports were submitted by Police Chief Shaun Hildreth, Acting Fire Chief Ashcraft, Building Official/Sanitation Manger Mike May and Street Foreman Ricky Joe Davis.  Chief Hildreth reported the Police Department is currently fully staffed.  Chief Ashcraft stated the Fire Department responded to 28 calls in June, 15 of then the night of the storm.  Mike May told the council the extreme heat is hard on the Sanitation workers, but they are working hard.  Mr Davis indicated the Street employees are being stressed to keep up with the work load due to excessive rain and the high winds.  He said they are working hard to cover all the needs and answer complaints called in.

Council Member Marshall, Chair of the Sanitation Committee reported the Committee is still working on plans to pursue property cleanup.  Council member Burks asked about the status of the city purchasing the tax delinquent property known as the "Old Bryants Building"on Main Street.  This matter has been under discussion since November, 2018.  Council Member Burks made a motion for the city to redeem the property  and take ownership.  After some discussion, the council voted 5-1 to purchase the property for the redeemable price of $6,178.21.  After making the purchase the council will discuss plans to remove the dilapidated building and make use of the property.  It was suggested the property can be used to benefit Main Street and the Tomato Festival as well as serve other needs.  Council Member Frazer voted no.

The council also adopted an ordinance authorizing the Fire Chief to bill insurance companies $500.00 for answering fire calls.  This will apply only to those policies that make provision for such payment.  Several council members asked questions about how the procedure will work and wanted to be assured that home owners and business owners will not be charged or held liable for payment.  The ordinance contains language relating to calls responded to outside the city limits as well.  The ordinance was approve by a vote of 4-2.  Council Members Burks and Tolefree voted no.

Council Member Emily Moseley, Chairman of the Street committee stated that plans are underway for a public hearing on street needs later this year and bids will be accepted soon for streets previously approved.

Council Member Joel Tolefree set a meeting of the Community & Economic Development Committee for July 15th to further discuss and try to come to a recommendation as to the type program to use to recruit new industry and jobs to Warren.  This matter has been under consideration since January, 2019.

The council then voted 6-0 to pay a bonus to city employees based on tenure.  Total cost to the city will be $8,690.40.

The council members reviewed all minutes of boards and commissions that met in June and voted to assist with the closing of portions of St. James and Cobbs Streets in conjunction with the "Back to School Extravaganza" planned for August 3rd.  The event will be sponsored by the Youth Department of St. James A.M.E. Church.  It will be conducted from 12:00 noon till 5:00 P.M.  Activities will consist of free haircuts, food, health fair, pony rides, RJ's bar-be-que, school supplies and other activities.

The next agenda meeting is set for August 8th at 7:00 A.M. and the next scheduled council meeting is planned for August 12th at 5:30 P.M.

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