Apology for City Council Meeting Zoom on Nov. 18 & Update on Current Agenda Items
Let me start with an apology. In the meeting on November 18th we had an issue with people being able to participate remotely due to our using an incorrect link when we started the Zoom meeting. Since we rarely had more than one or two people attending via Zoom in the past, we didn’t think much of it when no one logged in. However, as soon as we realized what had happened, we basically stopped the meeting with the exception of a couple things that were time sensitive. We have rescheduled the meeting for November 30th at 6:00 pm. Going back to the worst days of the pandemic, it was basically a requirement that we use Zoom since there were mandates in place that prevented public gatherings. However, since those mandates have been lifted, we will offer Zoom going forward strictly as a courtesy.
In the meeting the city council did take action on a couple items. The council agreed to pursue legal action against Carroll County relative to their failure to disburse to the city one half of the 3 mill property tax for roads collected from Holiday Island residents and property owners in 2021. The city and county differ in their interpretation of the law on this so the legal action is simply an effort to put the issue before the courts and have them decide. We value our relationship with the County and certainly do not wish to pick a fight with anyone. However, as mayor, I have no option but to pursue this action since there is an Attorney General opinion supporting the City’s position and I have no authority under the law to wave the collection of taxes due to the city. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.
Another ordinance was considered determining how the council members will be elected in next year’s election. As a result of action taken at previous meetings, by ordinance, there will be three wards with each ward having a Council Member #1 position and a Council Member #2 position. The candidates for these positions must live in the ward that they represent. The new ordinance states that all council positions regardless of ward will be voted on city wide (at large) which is how the elections are done in the other cities in Carroll County and in the majority of the cities in Arkansas. There was considerable discussion between council members and members of the public that attended the meeting. After hearing the discussion, the council voted three yea and two nay. There was a question however as to whether a majority of the council voting yea constituted passage or if a 2/3rds vote was required. Under state law, different situations require different thresholds -- 3/5ths not being at least 2/3rds. That will be resolved in the meeting on November 30th.
The council also passed an ordinance setting the city property tax for 2022 at Zero mills. This sounds funny but it’s required by the county since they collect property taxes for cities. So, we have to make it official.
On the 30th we will complete the agenda items from the 18th, the most significant of which is passing an ordinance adopting a building code and authorizing a building inspector. In order to pass this ordinance, we are required by law to have available at the city office any code we reference in our building code. This can be in electronic format, so we intend to have a computer available with links to the codes. That way anyone that wishes to can review the codes. Hopefully, we will have that in place after Thanksgiving. Examples would be the Arkansas Fire Prevention Code or the Arkansas Electrical code. If you would be interested in the building inspector position, let me know. This would be a good part-time job for a retired construction professional that knows the trades.
Next month we expect to take up the Health and Sanitation ordinance and approve the position of code enforcement officer. This will codify for the city some of the things currently in the unit covenants that are not currently being enforced. If you think you may be interested in this part-time job, please contact me.