The regular meeting of the Cherokee Village City Council had a full agenda for their Jan. 26 regular meeting at Cherokee Village City Hall.
Before the Dec. 17 meeting minutes could be approved by council, Alderman Peter Martin said he would like to have a change made under Article 17, which was a vote taken by council on the annexation ordinance to annex Big Oak Estates into Cherokee Village. Martin wanted council to note the reasons for his opposing the ordinance to be included. He said he voted no to the annexation because the citizens who lived in the area being annexed were not required to pay the 33 percent SID assessment required of other property owners in the Cherokee Village city limits and he said subdivision rules were not in place for the property as well as there being a current ordinance regarding the discharge of weapons within the city limits and said he felt these contradicted each other. This was included in the minutes of the prior meeting.
Before approval of the Jan. 6 minutes, two additions were made including one by Alderman Verna Mae Newman, stating that the amounts recorded in the document were incorrect and the figures for Ordinance 2009-H which is an ordinance establishing the base rate of pay for incoming mayors and the clerk/treasurer. The salary amount should be $19,000 for the mayor and $17,500 for the clerk treasurer.
Following the approval of minutes, the department heads gave their reports to council. Police Chief Ricky Crook told council that domestic batteries were down to zero from November while theft charges were higher. He attributed this mostly to the holiday season and said it was also due to part-time officers working, so full-time officers could take some of the time off they were due. Crook assured council the thefts were scattered and most were at homes of part-time residents.
Crook also gave the Animal Control department report. He said the request for the gate at the facility to be widened and moved back is being worked on by the city street department. He explained that the group of volunteers responsible for the spay and neuter clinics must bring a fifth-wheel trailer through the gate and the concern of them hitting the gate is the main reason for the gate being widened. Alderman Newman said it would be helpful if there would be an end of month balance provided to council from the facility regarding the number of animals taken in, as well as going out during the month. She said in regard to the current book keeping methods, "We don't have an accurate picture of what we have." In addition, Alderman Billie Shelton told council the facility can get damaged pet food from Walmart if they fill out proper paperwork and submit it to the main office. He explained that this only has to be done once and once the shelter is put on the list they will receive damaged pet food. Crook said he would relay the information for them to begin receiving the food.
Street Superintendent David Crayne updated council on December's activities. He reported the street department was winding down on the debris removal from the 2009 ice storm and finalizing invoices with FEMA and ADAM for reimbursement and he said the staff has been working on road clearing. Crayne reported the department has also installed some street signs and gave the council an update on damage from the October 2009 flooding. He said FEMA has visited the area and approved 15 sites for funding and is continuing with the site inspections. Crayne also told council the dredging is complete and currently the city is preparing for upcoming winter weather. Alderman Martin asked Crayne whether the city should keep their permit for the FEMA approved burn location. Crayne said FEMA requires new permits each time a burn facility opens with each disaster, but said, because the city already had a facility to burn debris, it would be easier to obtain one in the future. He said the burn facility generated a lot of potash, and said although farmers were given a lot of the material, FEMA requires any that is not utilized by the time the burn facility closes, it must be taken to a certified disposal site such as the IESI.
Jerry Adams gave the report for Planning and Zoning and Code Enforcement and Tom Hrezo handed copies of the requested subdivision rules for the city and instructed them to write any questions they might have on the copies. These copies were to help clarify any misconceptions in upcoming annexation issues. He said the committee would then review the recommendations and questions before sending the copies to Little Rock to reflect any changes that might need to be made.
Charles Deloach, with Code Enforcement announced the department had hired an applicant for the Code Enforcement officer. He also reported to council that on the next monthly meeting, Planning and Zoning will be adding the cost of inspections and permits to their reports to give city council a more accurate representation of the income generated for the city, rather than a whole number total of the job as is currently the practice.
In unfinished business, the third reading of Ordinance No. 2009-D/F was passed by council with only Alderman Martin and Shelton voting no. This ordinance was to amend ordinance 99-2 approving and adopting certain zoning documents and technical codes known as the Cherokee Village Zoning Code. This ordinance will also establish permit fees and penalties for violations.
In other unfinished business, Ordinance 2009-D was also passed after much discussion and disagreement between two alderman and members of Planning and Zoning. This is the ordinance annexing Big Oak Estates into Cherokee Village. Again, both Martin and Shelton voted against the annexation for the same reasons as stated before. Martin said that issues including the fact that both annexation ordinances are in direct conflict with Ordinance 99-12 and 13 (ordinances that relate to firing firearms in the city limits) are the reason for his disapproval of the annexation. He said he feels they should first amend or make a new ordinance before moving forward with the annexation.
Ordinance 2009-F was also passed after discussion about the residents not being required to pay the 33 percent assessment others in the city are required to pay. This ordinance is the same as 2009-D but the area annexed is a 160-acre island surrounded by Cherokee Village.
After finally approving a designated dollar figure for new incoming mayors and clerk/treasurers for the city, city council passed the second reading of Ordinance 2009-H. This ordinance, if eventually passed will set a base rate of pay of $19,000 for a mayor and $17,500 for alderman.
In new business, Resolution 2010-1 was passed. The resolution was to authorize the city to pay a stipend to city council members of $1,200 yearly.
Resolution 2010-2 also passed. This resolution established dates and times of city council meetings and also helped define the difference in working and regular meetings. Historically, the city has had one working meeting and one regular meeting monthly, but at working meetings, council has been legislating and voting on items. City Attorney Jon Abele told council that for all intents and purposes, working meetings were to be informal in nature and no legislation should occur. He also advised council to alert the press if the meeting is working or regular. During discussion, city council also agreed to move the meeting time back to 6:30 p.m. rather than 7 p.m. The reason for this resolution is to better inform the public of relevant meetings so they may attend if desired. Alderman Martin added the council should also consider establishing bylaws to adhere to in the future. Abele also added that if the meeting is called as a working meeting that council cannot change their mind after getting in the meeting and then make it a regular meeting, including voting.
In other new business. Alderman Russ Stokes asked permission to have Mayor Lloyd Hefley write a letter to Charter Cable Television regarding the poor service and ask the reason high definition programming and other services are not available in the area. Hefley said, " I have in the past and will be glad to do it again." Council voted to allow the mayor to write the letter on behalf of the citizens of the city.
2010-A was another proposed ordinance discussed in new business. This ordinance was proposed to amend the weapons use ordinance already in affect. It would not restrict weapons use for hunting purposes only. Abele suggested the city consider repealing the old ordinances and creating a new one and adding exceptions as well as outlining guidelines for special hunts.
In the final topic of new business, Charles Deloach presented a proposal to council regarding hiring a community service manager. He said this position would be created for a person to supervise workers from the Cherokee Village court. Because many fines are left unpaid, he said this would be free labor for the city and outlined the plan. After discussion about liability, Crook also spoke to council and explained the system to be similar in nature to the one Sharp County currently utilizes. He also explained the workers were not hardened criminal. Stokes made a motion to have a meeting Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. for council to vote on the issue.