November 30, 2016 Edition

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WR council passes penalties
for park vandalism

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council approved an ordinance addressing vandalism at its Nov. 21 meeting. While covering all city common areas, the ordinance is focused on parks due to the recent revival of the Christmas in the Park display at Stewart Park.

The ordinance states it shall be unlawful to remove or damage decorative items. If deemed guilty, the vandal will be charged with a misdemeanor and shall be fined no less than $1,000 on a first offense and no less than $5,000 plus three days incarceration on a second offense.

Mayor Charles Snapp said the ordinance was put into place to protect the investment that many local individuals and businesses have made in the Christmas in the Park display.

Tornado siren
project updated
Also at the meeting, the council received word that the tornado siren approved to be placed at College City would not arrive before the first of the year. Snapp explained that since the cost was to be split between Walnut Ridge and College City, and since College City would cease to exist due to the consolidation in 2017, that the project would have to be reevaluated.

Snapp said the siren will have to be bid out since Walnut Ridge will pay for the full cost, which exceeds what a single municipality can fund without the use of bids. He added that the expense has already been factored into the 2017 budget and he expects the installation to happen in spring 2017.

The council also reviewed a proposed 2017 budget. Snapp said the city's finances are doing well and the consolidation with College City has the potential to save up to $85,000 annually due to the elimination of the College City mayor, city council and city clerk positions, as well as other expenses.

The council will be presented the budget to vote on at the December meeting.

In other business, aldermen:

approved a rezoning on property at 905 Southeast Seventh Street that would allow a single duplex to be built there. The motion passed on a 6-2 vote.

heard a brief report by the Economic Impact Committee on research conducted on possible outcomes of a Walnut Ridge and Hoxie consolidation. Alderman Jon Walter presented some figures and shared some on what they may need to prepare for if a consolidation was ever brought to a vote and passed by the people. A detailed report will be given after the first of the year.

reappointed Clay Sloan to the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport Commission.

authorized a renewed lease agreement with Jumpstart Animal Shelter.

voted to continue to contract with Ryan Cooper as city prosecutor in 2017.

voted to renew the one-millage tax designated for the firemen's pension fund.

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