October 18, 2006 Edition

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WR transfers land to airport commission

Gloria Wilkerson
TD Staff

Alderman Dan Mullen, president pro tempore of the Walnut Ridge City Council, presided over the council's October 10 meeting, which Mayor Glenn Murphy was unable to attend. Aldermen voted to transfer property to the airport commission, discussed the city's building code and reviewed results of the yearly city audit.

The council voted unanimously to transfer 1.22 acres of land owned by the city to the Walnut Ridge Airport Commission for the sum of $10. The commission is in the process of building hangars and needed to own the property for future construction The land is located between Frit Industries Inc. and existing hangars at the airport. The resolution was needed in order for the city to present a warranty deed to the airport commission.

City Code Enforcement Officer Roger Duckworth discussed the city's current building code, stating concerns that it might need to be updated.

"The Southern Building Code adopted by the city in 1996 now has five different amendments to it," Duckworth said. "The Southern Building Code no longer exists. It is now the International Building Code, and we need to know if we need to rewrite our code or use it as it is and still be in compliance with the law."

City Attorney Larry Steele told the council that some ordinances would not have to be changed while others will. Steele said he would like to work with Duckworth and American Disabilities Act Coordinator Ron Thomas of Walnut Ridge by exploring the city's current code and advising the council of their findings at a later date.

The Arkansas Legislative Joint Auditing Committee's report was presented to the council. The offices of Mayor Glenn Murphy and City Clerk/Treasurer Carolyn Hayes were found to be in substantial compliance with Arkansas fiscal and financial laws. However, the offices of District Court Clerk Terrell Downing and Police Chief Tommy Blackburn were not in compliance.

According to the report, the district court clerk failed to make timely deposits and settle with applicable agencies on a monthly basis, and the police chief did not identify bonds, fines and costs pending on a monthly basis.

"Auditors don't understand that people often have to make payments on their fines because they can't afford to pay them all at once," Mullen said. "The police chief has to make payments to different funds with the payments they receive when they get them.

"The court clerk and police chief's hands are tied unless all fines are paid in full at once, and I don't see that happening soon," Mullen added.

In other business, the council:

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