Piggott City Council Meets

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Piggott City Council members handled a variety of issues at Monday night's regular meeting at city hall. Council heard an update on the community center roofing project, an overview on changes to the plans for the new Sonic Restaurant and adjusted the pay for employees at the swimming pool to reflect the increase in the federal minimum wage. A resolution was also passed which voices support for the collection of sales tax on local sales made online, and the impending crack-down on four wheelers on city streets was reviewed.

With all members in attendance, along with key staff, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Poole. During the review of the clerk's reports, Councilman Mike Cook questioned reimbursements made due to street department personnel working on the city's parks. Poole indicated the parks system “could not survive without it,” in reference to the in-kind labor provided, and noted they were nearly finished with the tree trimming and clean-up effort at this time.

Following a brief discussion on the matter, Cook offered the motion to accept the reports, and minutes of the previous meeting, as presented. Both were approved on a vote of 4-0.

The mayor next provided an update on the community center roofing project, which was scheduled to have been finished earlier in the spring.

“They're going through the punch list right now,” Poole offered. “But, they've still got a lot of work to do inside—some due to the water damage from when they had the roof off.”

He noted there was damage to ceiling tiles and cabinets, along with the handball/racquetball courts—all being repaired by the contractor.

“On the bright side, we had two and one-half inches of rain, and for the first time in about 20 years the roof of the community center didn't leak,” he added.

Council also approved a resolution in support of a grant for the municipal airport. Recently, it was announced that the city would receive funding to install a rotating beacon light on a 55-foot tower. The estimated cost of the project was set at $73,298, with 90 percent slated to come from the FAA. The other 10 percent is to be covered by the city, although funding may be secured from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. The resolution was approved on a vote of 4-0.

A pay adjustment was also approved for employees of the Piggott Public Pool, as the 50-cent increase in the federal minimum wage was not taken into account in this year's budget. “It was my fault, I overlooked it,” Poole explained.

Council then approved the increase in pay for lifeguards to the $8.50 level, with senior lifeguards increased to $8.75 and pool managers to $9.50 per hour.

The mayor also reported the pool is doing well so far this year, as attendance has increased.

A resolution was then presented which seeks to have state lawmakers levy sales taxes on purchases made online. “This is part of the Fair Tax Act and it will be sent to all of our state and federal legislators,” Poole offered. “It's about Marketplace Fairness, and seeks to level the playing field and make it fair for local businesses trying to compete.”

He noted online retail giant Amazon.com has already begun to charge local residents sales tax, and the city received its first-ever payment recently.

Following the discussion the resolution was approved without dissent.

Later in the meeting Utilities Director Brian Haley updated council on the Sonic Restaurant project, noting the company building the new business has acquired additional property.

“The folks from Sonic have acquired the property at 181 North Thornton Avenue, and closed on it June 21,” Haley reported. “They'll have 30 days to vacate, and this will allow them to go with an alternate plan with the restaurant to be built facing south with the main access from Main Street.”

He also indicated the city has all of the necessary items on-hand to facilitate adding the new restaurant to the services of the municipal light, water and sewer department.

Although the acquisition of the additional property will allow for expansion of the project, it will delay construction by an undetermined amount of time. “They've indicated they can complete construction in 60 days, so they're still looking to try to open before Labor Day,” he concluded.

Council members also amended the agenda to hear a report from Piggott Police Chief Don Poole concerning an upcoming effort to stop the use of four-wheelers and side-by-sides on city streets.

Poole pointed to increasing complaints, and problems, related to the matter and indicated his department would begin to issue warnings to those caught riding on city streets. (see additional story this issue) Afterward, they'll begin to ticket those breaking the law.

“It has become more and more of an issue, and we just can't ignore it,” he explained. “We can't allow it to continue.”

Chief Poole also indicated county officials would soon be addressing the issue as well, and reviewed the stipulations the law provides under certain circumstances.

In other business the council--

--Accepted the resignation of Greg Mallard from the airport commission.

--Granted the request from the local Make-A-Wish Committee to use the community center, without charge, for their annual Daddy-Daughter Dance as long as they continue to hold the event.

--Were presented with an update on operations of the NEARK Landfill.

--Discussed the city-sponsored Lake Side Market event, set for Oct. 7, at Heritage Park. An Oktoberfest-style event is in the works, and vendor space is available.

--Heard an update on the new email server, which will provide the city with its own domain, cityofpiggott.org Efforts to develop the city's new website and online billing systems were also reviewed.

--Were updated on the recent calibration of electric meters in the city.

--Discussed the possibility of providing council members with their information by way of an Ipad, as opposed to printing the various reports and other documents for each meeting.

Prior to adjourning, Cook voiced support for the acquisition of a curtain for the stage of the community center, noting “we've needed one for awhile, and now that the roof is fixed we should try to get one.”

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