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Horseshoe Bend may seek to increase council terms

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Staff Writer

Horseshoe Bend City Council terms could increase from two to four years if the council puts the issue before the voters.

The council debated the issue at the Sept. 15 meeting. The council also voted on a first reading to increase the number of MRID commissioners from three to five.

No action was taken for the proposal to change alderman terms. To change terms the council will have to call for a special election to be held prior to February 2004 to see if the public would allow the change.

Alderman Erv Metzinger voiced concern about the cost of the special election. He said council members had the choice to run again in two years. Metzinger said a four-year term could discourage new applicants from running for the position. A second consideration was that residents could be stuck with a bad councilman for four years, he said.

Mayor Bob Spear said the topic could be further discussed at the October council meeting.

The following ordinance to change the number of commissioners was placed on first reading:

"The ordinance provides for the following amendments: The increase of commissioners provided for in Ordinance 2003-11 is intended to only apply to the Municipal Recreation Improvement District and the number of commissioners will remain at three for the Crown Improvement District until changed at a later date by a specific ordinance applying to the Crown District.

"The initial terms of the two new members shall be selected by drawing with one new member to serve an initial term of two years and one new member to serve an initial term of three years."

A second ordinance for changes to the zoning code was also placed on first reading.

Council members approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to file a grant application for a walking trail to promote physical exercise.

The application will be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for a Trails for Life Grant.

Based on the Finance Committee's recommendations the council also approved donating $250 to the Horseshoe Bend Chamber of Commerce for the fireworks display. The chamber had requested $3,000 from the city.

Spear read a letter from Sen. Blanche Lincoln about the closing of the Horseshoe Bend Post Office. The mayor had previously contacted Rep. Paul Weaver on the matter, then he contacted Lincoln. Lincoln's letter said the U.S. Postal Service is independent of Congress so she would contact the Little Rock office of the Postal Service about the closing and relay information to Weaver.

The Planning Commission gave an update on Twin Contractor's new subdivision, Woodland Greens. Mitzi Ballman reported the design for the first model has been completed and is in the hands of the Batesville architect.

Al Comen, Sewer Committee, said additional grant money is needed before the committee can upgrade the sewer system.

Nelson "Bulldog" Drummond said sponsors are being sought for advertising along the golf course. Metal signs 1-foot by 2-foot can be leased for $20 a month or sponsors could split the cost with a second sponsor for $15. Each sign would contain the sponsor's number, address and phone number.

Sponsors would also have a second option to have their names printed on a sign at a cost of $100 per year to be placed at hole 10. This sign would have the MRID's logo and a thank you to merchants.

Police Chief Fred Mitchell submitted a report for the activity in August: six thefts, one burglary, two batteries, one breaking or entering, one assault, one forgery, one harassment, three domestic disturbances, one vandalism, six disorderly conduct, one terroristic threatening, one DWI, one shoplifting, 14 traffic citations, 24 traffic warnings, one traffic accident, five juvenile cases, one death investigation, 18 miscellaneous complaints, three criminal cases cleared, 420 security checks, three medical assists, two fires attended, 12 motorist assists, 12 citizen assists, two visitor escorts, seven warrants served, four telecare checks, four emergency welfare checks, 16 educational hours, 16 boat patrol hours, 7,323 miles driven by the police department and six prisoners were held in the city jail.

Spear announced Planning Commissioner Ed Carrier has resigned due to health problems.

The fall cleanup week is scheduled for the week of Sept. 29.

The mayor reported $15,928.66 in sales tax revenue for August at the Finance Committee meeting Sept. 10.

Spear also announced that agenda items for Finance Committee meetings should be in the recorder/treasurer's office no later than noon on the Friday preceding the meeting. Agenda items for city council meetings should be in the office no later than noon on the Thursday preceding the meeting.

Smiley Lenhard requested the city hire an additional employee in the street department next year. Spear said the 2004 budget work will begin next month and the public works manager will be asked to review the matter.

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