Economic commission takes first step

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The first official step has been taken to form Piggott's new economic commission to encourage business and industry to locate in the city.

The Piggott City Council approved a list of committee members as presented by Mayor Gerald Morris at Monday night's regular council meeting.

Morris and Clay County Judge Gary Howell be ex-officio members, and Jerry Morgan will serve as commission chairman.

The other 11 members and their tenures are Larry Holcomb, Junior Wiley and Shirley Schoettlin, one year; Pat Patterson, Rodney Rouse, David Gregory and Chad Taylor, two years; and Alan Morris, Chuck Schulte and Jim Watson, three years.

Morris said he may request the council to consider an additional member to bring the total to 12.

Also, he said he will be meeting with potential associate members, who will serve as informational sources and "for them to help us open doors." He said they will be announced later.

Morris said the commission will meet to form a mission statement to present to the city council.

He said other potential goals will include creating a detailed brochure and an Internet web page and promotional efforts targeted at class reunions and retirees.

Morris said Jim Pickens, director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, has assigned an employee to work with Piggott and the economic commission.

He said it will help Piggott "bond" with Paragould and Jonesboro in recruiting potential industry.

Other Business

In other business, the council:

Honored animal control officer Harold Cook for his almost 15 years of service to the city.

Completed the first reading of an ordinance to accept a street near the Muse property off Magnolia. The second reading will be considered at April's regular meeting.

Agreed to have Morris monitor the ice storm debris storage area for non-related rubbish being dumped there and to what extent.

Tabled condemnation proceedings at 612 East Jackson. Morris said the property has been sold and is currently under clean-up.

Voted to defer a proposed drug-free policy into the employee handbook, which will be reviewed for an update.

Completed the first reading of an ordinance concerning excessive dog barking, yelping and howling. The second reading will be considered at the regular meeting in April.

Tabled discussion on recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission concerning the Milde Subdivision until the March utilities meeting.

Voted to have a new survey conducted on an easement to the new Industrial Park property and a report presented to the council.

Approved waiving the city yard sale permit requirement for one day only for the citywide yard sale on Saturday, April 5.

Agreed to replace the yield sign with a stop sign at the intersection of Clay and Court.

Approved Morris sending a letter to L.A. Darling to decline its request for an electric rate adjustment. Morris said he told company officials he didn't feel it could be done at this time since the city has increased its rates and cut costs to keep the system financially operational.

The company's request will be reconsidered at a future date.

Approved the city attorney's monthly bill and agreed to pay the $100 annual membership fee fir the Arkansas City Attorney Association.

Voted to have the city attorney to draft an ordinance to address unsightly problems at various Piggott residences.

Discussed holding the annual spring clean-up at a date following the citywide yard sale in April.

Heard from Morris and City Attorney John Lingle on the status of the issue of whether the city's low income housing can be considered taxable property. Morris said a meeting was held with the state Assessment Coordination Division.

Lingle cited the 1937 Arkansas Housing Authority Act and Hughes vs. North Little Rock (1940) as support of Piggott's housing being considered for "public purpose." He said any property public owned and used exclusively for public use is tax exempt under the state constitution.

Heard Morris announce an appreciation coffee will be held at the tourist information center at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Was informed by Alderman Jim Poole that Stan Watkins of Jonesboro wants to meet with city and county leaders at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the community center to discuss the film premiere of "A Painted House."

The film is based on John Grisham's novel, and much of the filming was done in Northeast Arkansas.

Was presented with a resident's complaint by Alderman Mike Patterson concerning the "demand charge" on utility billing.

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