June 19, 2013 Edition

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WR Council rezones property,
passes lease/purchase ordinance

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council rezoned a property on Highway 67 North and passed an ordinance for a lease/purchase agreement for the city's new sanitation truck at their meeting on June 11.

Property formerly occupied by Dr. Thompson's Clinic was rezoned from R-1 (residential) to C-3 (commercial). Alderman Jeff Taylor, chairman of the city's planning committee, told the council that the members of the committee had approved the rezoning and no objections had been raised. The council passed an ordinance to rezone the property, an emergency was declared, and the ordinance went into effect immediately.

The city's audit has been completed, Mayor Don House told the aldermen. "The audit went well, with only a few minor changes for the city to make.

"Auditors requested that an ordinance be passed authorizing the lease/purchase agreement for the new sanitation truck and that we designate a person to collect fines paid to the city."

An ordinance for the sanitation truck was passed and the administrative assistant at the Walnut Ridge Police Department was named to collect all fines in the future. Money collected by the city is turned over to the district court clerk on a weekly basis.

The council also passed a resolution allowing the transmission of water through the city's water transmission system to the city of Sedgwick. The water line will connect the Walnut Ridge water system along Highway 91 to Highway 63. This will allow a tap to be available for future development of the area.

"The Water Authority will hook onto us for a line to Sedgwick, and Sedgwick's water will be metered," Mayor House said. "It won't cost our city anything, we will not lose water and it will not have anything to do with our sewer system. It might even bring our water rates down as more people connect to the Water Authority."

The council discussed the advantages of an eight-inch main over a six-inch main. The cost differential is $35,000, but Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens said the hydrant in that area has low pressure and that the fire department would like to see the water pressure increased by having the eight-inch main.

A delegation of citizens who live on Northwest Sixth Street addressed the council about property owned by JR Rogers that adjoins theirs.

Maxine, Heather, Sherry and Clarence Moore told the council that they are having problems with lots of snakes, mice and other rodents. They said they believe the trailers and vans are responsible for the problem, as well as the back half of the lot that they said does not get mowed. They provided councilmen with pictures of the property.

They said they just want the vehicles and trailers moved further back from their homes and to have the tall grass cut. They expressed concern about their children being able to play outside the way things are now.

Alderman Jeff Taylor told the Moores that he would talk to the men who work for Rogers and see what they might be able to do to help correct the problem. Alderman Wendell Jones asked that city code enforcer Robert Rice check on the situation. Mayor House said he would talk to Rice the following day.

Alderman Ed Lawson said, "We did quite a bit of work on an adjacent ditch in that area last year that seemed to help a lot."

Mayor House told the council the city is planning to do even more work on the ditch this year, which should help get rid of standing water.

In other business:

  • Joe Gray was presented with a plaque commemorating his 29 years of service to the city. Gray recently retired from the street/sanitation department.

  • Mayor House presented Cody Woodworker of Walnut Ridge with a certificate for participating in the "Shadow the Mayor for a Day Program."

  • Alderman Ed Lawson announced that the city's department heads are doing a good job staying within their budgets.

  • Mayor House told the council that city employees worked on the city pool for three weeks to get it ready and that it passed inspection by the health department. He added that 111 children swam in the pool on opening day.

  • Mayor House informed councilmen that one of the tractors used for mowing in the park has broken down and will cost more to fix than it is worth. "It will have to be replaced, but for now the street department is providing us with a tractor to mow there," House said.

  • Alderman Jones asked for permission to talk to County Judge Dale Freeman about the city's 9-1-1 contract. "We don't want to see it lapse," Jones said. Mayor House told the council he will get a copy of the contract for them to see. The city pays $4,750 a month for 9-1-1 services.

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