Sales tax revenue, limiting the number of council members who serve on the planning and zoning committee, and safety issues with the old hospital were among topics of discussion at the Cherokee Village City Council meeting May 17.
During the city's financial report, Clerk Lana Hamilton said the city had collected over $21,000 in sales tax revenues since the city passed and enacted the city's 1 percent sales tax. "This is working out very well," she said.
Alderman Tom Thone questioned ways to address loose animals within the city. He asked if there was any way to limit the number of outdoor pets a homeowner could own.
Thone explained he had received complaints that Shorlyn Morris, the city's animal control officer, was not responding to calls. Thone asked Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey Crook if he had a solution to the problem. Crook assured him that Morris returned his calls and to his knowledge returned any complaint calls. Crook said, if anyone had an issue, to direct them to his office and he would ensure the issue with the animal was dealt with in a timely manner. Crook said another problem the city deals with is strays that homeowners feed yet do not claim as belonging to them. Two stray dogs recently had to be put down because they had no permanent home.
Glenn Harris, with Planning and Zoning, explained to Thone that he had reviewed ordinances in other cities and, other than the ones the city already has on record, he said he did not find any others to help deal with the stray animals.
During the Code Enforcement segment of the department reports, Harris answered a question by Thone about the status of the old hospital building on Allegheny Drive. Harris explained to Thone the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality recently filed a suit against the former owners. Harris said the court is seeking to notify the owners who live in various parts of the country.
According to Harris, the abandoned building contains hazardous materials including, radioactive isotopes in x-rays and other chemicals, which are not secured. The hospital has been broken into several times. He said the process of holding previous owners responsible could be lengthy.
The number of council members who also serve on the planning and zoning committee brought forth a lengthy discussion. Alderman Lynn Maxedon and Thone were in agreement the number should be limited to prevent the appearance of "self fulfillment," Maxedon stated.
Mayor Lloyd Hefley explained the state law dictates the number of members who can serve on the committee from council. Currently Cherokee Village has three council members who are also on Planning and Zoning, which accounts for a quarter of the council members.
Maxedon stated he felt this matter should be addressed in the upcoming election.
In one of the final orders of business, council voted to rent the fenced in pasture area near the city's animal control facility to Arkansans for Animals to temporarily house 2-3 horses. The pasture will be rented for $100 a month for short term stays for horses until they are able to be placed in permanent homes. The organization will be responsible for feed and veterinarian care of the horses.
Due to space restrictions, council members decided the city could not allow more than two or three horses on the property at the same time. The city's attorney, Jon Abele, assured council they would not be responsible in the event of injuries. The only responsibility included watering the animals, something community services workers will do.
Arkansans for Animals have been instrumental in the monthly Spay and Neuter clinic held at the shelter, which provides a cost effective means of altering animals to prevent overpopulation.
The contract with the organization can be terminated at any time if issues arise.
Cherokee Village City Council meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 at Cherokee Village City Hall. The public is always welcome to attend.