Ash Flat Council moves forward with highway dedication resolution

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
An Areawide Media archive photo of Nelson Gatewood during a 2014 veterans event.

The Ash Flat City Council held their regular meeting Jan. 14, passing a series of resolutions and receiving updates from department heads.

Fire Chief Stacy Horton was first to give his department report. He said the department had 38 calls for service since the last meeting.

“We had 23 medical, one vehicle accident, three grass fires, one structure fire, eight public assists and two false alarms. For the year, we totaled 347 calls,” Horton said.

He told the council calls were down from 2018.

Police Chief Steve Powell said since the last council meeting, his department had 95 calls for service, 145 traffic stops, served two warrants, 48 citations, 10 warnings, 11 motor vehicle accidents, investigated five thefts, unlocked 18 vehicles, four alarm calls,” Powell said. “In the near future we’re wanting to purchase some ammo to qualify with and some safety and first aid equipment also. We’d also like to sell the blue Charger in the near future if we can.”

Under the parks report, it was noted the old fencing had been removed from areas at the Ash Flat Sports Youth Complex and the wire fence would soon be up to replace what had been removed.

The road department said several loads of gravel had to be hauled to Saddle Club Road following the recent heavy rains.

Code Enforcement officer Bill Myers said he had inspected some homes and delivered some business permits.

A discussion about encouraging a certain businesses in the city to place fencing around their facilities to help corral trash, or encourage them to clean up the areas around their establishments.

The city’s code enforcement officer, Bill Myers said he would go and visit with the business which had been mentioned.

Susan Funnell, library manager provided her report next.

“I think you remember we had an open house for the library the night of the lighting of the tree. We had over 100 new faces come into the library. We posted a Christmas story time on Facebook that reached 1,688 people and the video was viewed over 900 times,” Funnell said. “The library is getting a new mural on our reading room wall. Molly and April Harrington are two local artists who have displayed their work and have agreed to come and paint the mural for free and should be done hopefully next week.”

Moving on to unfinished business, the council discussed an ordinance to establish procedure for citizen participation at city council meetings in the City of Ash Flat.

A motion was made and passed to suspend the requirement to have the ordinance read three separate times. A motion was also made to implement the emergency clause in the ordinance.

Whether or not to raise water and sewer rates for the year 2020 was also discussed.

“It seems like before, we’ve suspended [an increase] it all but one time and we only raised sewer at that time,” Mayor Larry Fowler said. “If you don’t suspend it, it will automatically raise.”

The rate increase which has been suspended is 25 cents above the current rate.

The council ultimately voted to raise the water rate by 25 cents for the initial 2,000 gallons and an additional 25 cents per 1,000 gallons used above the initial use for residential use.

The vote passed four to two with Danny Traw and Mike Nix casting no votes and the remaining members voting yes.

The council voted unanimously to suspend the sewer rate increase leaving the sewer rate as is.

The council then passed a series of housekeeping resolutions; establishing procedural rules, authorizing submittle of ACEDP Grant, citizen participation plan and more.

Resolution 1-E-2020 was briefly discussed by the council, a resolution honoring Phyllis and Nelson Gatewood and the efforts to have a stretch of the highway which runs through the city named in their honor.

“This is a resolution honoring Phyllis and Nelson Gatewood to name the stretch of highway from 56 to their house; naming it the Nelson and Phyllis Gatewood Veterans Memorial Highway,” Fowler said.

Following the passage of all resolutions on the table, the council moved on to other business.

Discussion to sell one of the city’s trailers that is not currently useful to the street and road departments in order to use the money to purchase a new better suited trailer was held.

The council did not vote, but opted to hold off on the sale until a new trailer had been purchased.

Hazelle Whited spoke to the council regarding economic development. Ordinance number 7 was passed in November of 2019 to reinstate the Sharp County Economic Development Commission but as a working committee comprised of Whited, Bart Schulz and John Bellar.

“I wanted to go around to each of the cities and let each one know what we’re doing. The quorum court gave us a year as a research team to see what we could do,” Whited said.

Whited provided a list of goals including making other areas aware Sharp County exists through a partnership with Intermodle.

Partnerships with area businesses, Ozarka College and more were also discussed.

Joey Whited talked to the council about efforts to get NEXT in the area. The council expressed interest in obtaining NEXT for the area.

The Ash Flat City Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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