February 17, 2016 Edition

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Sanitation rates in WR
set to increase this year

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

During Monday night's meeting, the Walnut Ridge City Council, in an attempt to offset a predicted deficit of $77,000 in the sanitation department, passed an ordinance on its first reading to increase monthly residential and commercial sanitation rates $5 per account.

While the increase will help, Mayor Charles Snapp said it won't offset the deficit completely for this year due to the time it will take to go into effect with subsequent readings and legal delays.

Alderman Jeff Taylor said it is his hope that the department will eventually become financially stable enough to upgrade equipment, allowing for a more efficient and safer trash route.

Residential rates have remained at $7 since February 2006. Research also shows that commercial rates have not increased since 1981. The Northeast Arkansas Regional Solid Waste Management District increased its rates by $1 per one ton compacted garbage to $10.25.

Also at the meeting, the council passed a rezoning ordinance for property at West Elm and Southwest Sixth, the site of the future Lawrence County Jail and sheriff's office.

The ordinance was passed on a first reading but failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass it under an emergency clause as Aldermen Wendell Jones and Allen Smith were absent and Taylor cast a nay vote.

Taylor said he is still hesitant to use the green space in the center of the city for a jail. Taylor added that several from his ward, in which the jail is to be located, have voiced concerns about the location of the jail. "Everyone I've talked to is not particularly against the jail, we all know we need the jail."

The state of the city was also given by Snapp. He spoke about how Walnut Ridge is set for a substantial amount of economic growth with new industry coming into the area creating the need for more gas stations, restaurants and retail stores.

He added that the main thing residents can do to attract new businesses is shop locally. "We have to show support for the businesses we have, that's why shopping local is so important."

In other business:

the council authorized the purchase of a 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicle and two Ford Police Interceptor Sedans to be purchased from Cavenaugh Motors and financed through Regions Bank. The purchase will be used to replace some older vehicles used by the department and will save the department in repair costs, which Chief Chris Kirksey said is already down 40 percent for the year.

renewed the contract with Light Mowing Service and authorized Snapp to renew the contract through the remainder of his term should rates remain unchanged and the work remains satisfactory.

discussed adjusting the width of the right-of-way on West Poplar Street in front of Sonic, which has submitted plans to renovate and expand their current facility. An ordinance was prepared for the council to look over but was tabled to allow for a public hearing to be held.

passed the 2015 budget clean up.

increased the mayor's spending limit without council approval to $10,000.

approved the final reading to rename Vulcan Road to Compulast Drive.

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