Rector Council Advances License Effort

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Rector City Council met in regular session Monday, March 5, and voted to proceed with the ordinance which will allow the use of golf carts, side-by-sides and UTVs in the city limits. During the gathering at city hall, council held the first reading of Ordinance 565, which will regulate the vehicles. In attendance were Kim and Ben Isom, who had originally brought the matter to council. They noted they were on hand to answer any questions the council might have, or to provide clarification regarding the residents' support of the proposed ordinance.

Council member David Romine made the motion to proceed with the first reading and Ryan Lawrence gave the second. City attorney Kimberly Dale read the ordinance which outlined the components of the ordinance. The measure addressed all the issues which had been mentioned by the council and the citizensí request statements. Some of those items include age requirement of 18 or older, liability insurance required, maximum speed limit of 20 m.p.h., head lights and tail lights required if vehicle is in use after dusk, and similar provisions.

The Isoms asked if the ordinance could be passed early enough to permit use of the golf carts during pretty weather. They were informed with three readings, the earliest the ordinance could be passed would be at the May council meeting. The council determined to make plans for the permit applications and stickers to be ready so the process could begin as soon as the ordinance was passed.

Although they could waive the requirement it be read on three separate occasions, council noted the three readings provision allowed for citizen input.

Mayor Teresa Roofe revisited the rural community grant discussed at the February council meeting. She and city superintendent Todd Watson, along with city administrative assistant Kim Romine, have crafted the grant proposal and Roofe has written the letter of intent.

The council voted to move forward on the Arkansas Rural Development Commission Grant, which if approved would be used to purchase a new 8 Epsilon Directional Storm Siren with remote access. A matching amount from the City of Rector is required to comply with the awarding of the grant. Council members Lark Sigsby and Iva Fahr made the motion and second to introduce the resolution to pursue the grant. Council members David Romine and Ryan Lawrence made the motion and the second to approve the grant process and application. Roofe indicated Thursday, March 8, is the final date for submission of the grant application.

City superintendent Watson noted should the city be able to rebuild the old siren, if the computer board could be repaired, it may be placed at another location in the city.

Mayor Roofe presented the council with information regarding the creation of an ordinance to increase city council terms from two years to four years. She indicated she and Attorney Dale will research the provisions of the ordinance so it might be placed on the July ballot.

In additional information, Mayor Roofe reported that an economic development meeting was held in Rector on Friday, March 2. Black River Training Centerís president Dr. Turner expressed interest in using the center for their CAN classes. He also expressed interest in partnering with Rector School District and superintendent Johnny Fowler to offer welding classes at the center with lab classes at Rector High School.

In reporting on property issues, Watson noted quite a few properties that have reached an impasse in compliance regulations. The number one property is at 402 East 1st Street which is the burned-out trailer with questionable ownership. At the county assessorís office, a man living in California is listed as property owner, although another woman says she owns the property. Watson indicated neither party will comply with regulations regarding cleaning up the property after the trailer home was destroyed by fire and now presents an eye-sore. In response, Mayor Roofe instructed Watson to send a certified letter to the man who lives in California whose name is on the official ownership documents.

Two properties on South Fordyce, the Steve Carpenter house at 212 and the Jim Mabry house at 216 have acted with questionable compliance to previous letters sent to the property owners. Watson noted it appears that some work has been completed on both houses, but the Mabry house has the most promise of completion. He noted the back of the property has been removed and plans call for a remodel with the new owner moving to Rector.

Another property at 115 Ballard is in bad shape as result of a fire. Watson reported the owner cleaned up the yard but no action has been taken to repair the house.

The Bearden house on 2nd Street has been sold and the new owner promises to have it cleaned up within 90 days.

The Smith house on Main Street has been stagnant in work progress. Mayor Roofe instructed Watson to revisit that property by sending a certified compliance letter.

Several properties, such as one on 6th Street, have been turned over to the State of Arkansas. Mayor Roofe stated that the state land commissioner had mentioned making it easier for small towns to work with the his office to remedy blighted properties in small towns such as Rector. What at one time had been an outlay of $2,500 to have a house condemned and then razed now would cost the city upward of $10,000 in legal fees, compliance regulations, and contractor requirements.

In reports from the water department, code enforcement, and street department, Watson reported additional revenue in the water department, two building permits, and ten pot holes repaired. The Community Center Report reflected the success of the Ryan Rogers Memorial Cook-off with over $1,000 in profit, even in light of stormy weather. The profit was made possible by donations and support from the Rector area businesses and businesses and contestants from around the Clay County community.

Fire chief Hutie Bowden reported that the department had a busy month. Police Chief Glenn Leach reported one vehicle accident and 15 docket items generating $4978.67 in court costs and fines.

The Rector City Council members made note that filing dates for city council positions will begin Friday, July 27, and continue until noon on Aug. 17, 2018.

Council then adjourned until their next regular meeting, set for 7 p.m. on Monday, April 2.

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