April 20, 2016 Edition

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WR Council discusses
additional paving overlay

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

With oil prices being low, Walnut Ridge may look at increasing the amount of asphalt overlay it does this year as a surprising low bid led the Walnut Ridge City Council to discuss dedicating another $100,000 to street overlay during Monday night's meeting.

After appropriating $100,000 for street overlay in March, four bids for the paving project came back. Asphalt Producers, LLC, out of Jonesboro had the low bid of $62.80 per ton, which came in lower than predicted and should allow for work to be done on all the considered streets for this project.

When looking at the cost, Alderman Allen Smith requested looking into allocating another $100,000 as he said prices would not go down any lower than what they are now.

"I know we want to save for a rainy day, but the rainy day is here on these roads," Smith said.

Mayor Charles Snapp said he would consult the budget committee to see what the city is financially able to put toward paving, but agreed that the work needed to be done and it is economical to take advantage of these prices.

Snapp also encourages local enterprises to consider any paving projects they may have and request a bid from Asphalt Producers while their equipment is in the area.

Also at the meeting, the council approved a new cleanup ordinance, which enforces stricter fines for those in violation of property codes. Walnut Ridge residents are required to keep grass cut, remove garbage and eliminate stagnant pools of water. Those in violation will be served a warning.

If property is not cleaned up within seven days after being served, a $250 fine will be assessed followed by an additional $50 a day up to 14 days, which is then followed by a $25 a day fine for an additional 30 days.

Two weeks after the first fine is served, the city is within its rights to order the property to be cleaned at the expense of the resident at a rate of $100 per labor hour. Any fines, cleanup costs or court costs not paid will be placed as a lien against the property.

If the resident brings the property into code, then they may request certain fines to be waived. Fire Chief Frank Owens said the city is not after people's money, but simply is working toward getting properties cleaned up and that the fines set prior to this new ordinance were too lenient to do that.

In other business:

aldermen passed a rezoning ordinance 7-1 on property located at 1101 Southeast Front. The property, which had been tabled by the planning commission, was rezoned from R1 to R3 and is being prepped by Twin City Development for a new quadplex rental unit. Smith was the dissenting vote.

rezonings on two tracts of land were tabled due to mapping errors in describing the property. While only one tract inaccurately mapped its location along Highway 67, both properties were tabled to assure all information is accurate.

Snapp apologized to the owners of property at 319 Northwest Fourth as it was believed to be zoned R1 but was actually C2. An ordinance to rezone said property was stricken from the agenda as it was already in the zone the owners had requested.

the council approved a resolution permitting Snapp Family, LLC, to provide overlay for the alleyway beside and behind The Hotel Rhea on Main Street.

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