June 17, 2015 Edition

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WR City Council hears
report on armory

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

SFC Richard Davidson spoke at the Walnut Ridge City Council meeting Monday night about the efforts to keep the Robert Armory active. After being informed of possible consolidation with the Newport center, residents and politicians were able to keep the local armory in service through phone calls and letters.

"It's personal for me, keeping the armory," Davidson said. He grew up in the area and attended Hoxie School. He said he was grateful for what had been done for the armory but that doesn't mean it will be safe forever. "We won a battle, we did not win the war."

Davidson said periodically armories will be closed and the deciding factor on which ones to close is based on unit strength. He said in order to keep the armory active, the unit strength has to be improved over the next couple of years. He urged aldermen to inform people of the benefits the National Guard has to offer, including insurance and tuition assistance.

He also said he wants the local soldiers to do more community service in the area as a thank you for everyone's support and to get the local guard more involved.

In other business, the third and final reading on the minimum square footage ordinance was passed. Alderman Jeff Taylor continued to show opposition to the ordinance and voted against the proposal.

Taylor said he believes it offers a way for many to have a home who might not otherwise and from what he's seen, people living in mini houses, since their mortgage is lower, have more money to spend locally increasing sales tax revenue.

Alderman Wendell Jones said this ordinance isn't preventing anyone from building under the set 600-square-foot minimum, they just have to get a conditional use permit to do so. He said this is just to prevent a mini house being built next to a $500,000 home and lowering property values.

With Aldermen Anthony Pinkston, Jon Walter and Everett Hart absent, Mayor Charles Snapp cast the deciding vote with the majority and the ordinance passed.

Also at the meeting,

aldermen passed the first reading of an ordinance that would eliminate health insurance benefits for elected officials unless set by a separate ordinance for that position. The ordinance, if passed, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

action on an ordinance to adopt a combined emergency operations plan and an ordinance correcting a typo in ordinance No. 505 were tabled due to the lack of the quorum needed to pass items with emergency clauses.

the council reviewed Vector Disease Control International's May report on mosquito control. The report showed the average number found in traps increased from less than five at the middle of the month to nearly 25 at the end of the month. Snapp said while the mosquito population has remained low so far, the data shows that they are increasing and for residents to take precautions.

Taylor informed the council that the city did not qualify for an asphalt/paving grant this year but that the street and sanitation committee is looking into projects for 2016.

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