Rector City Council Meets

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The regular meeting of the Rector City Council was held Monday, Aug. 6, at city hall. With no items from the public brought forward, the first order of business was to approve the grant resolution to allocate $5,000 to fund replacement of one air conditioning unit at city hall. The motion to approve the allocation was made by council member David Romine and council member Lark Sigsby offered the second. All approved.

Mayor Teresa Roofe asked city superintendent Todd Watson to give a breakdown on the entire cost of the unit replacement.

He indicated the unit replacement, labor, and the addition of new ductwork for better distribution of air brought the total for the project to $12,375. With the grant money allocated for the air conditioning unit and other funds available from the depreciation account, the city will go forward with the air conditioning project.

During last month’s meeting, council member Ryan Lawrence notified the council of his family’s upcoming move to Paragould. Since the family has now moved, the council vacancy was declared by the mayor. The vacancy is Position 1, West Oak Bluff. Prior to expressing interest in the position, the mayor and city attorney Kimberly Dale advise parties to contact the county clerk at the Piggott courthouse to insure they meet the requirements for the council position. After meeting the qualifications, interested persons may leave their information for the mayor by calling city hall at 870-595-3035.

In other business, Mayor Roofe commended the 4-H group for working so hard in mulching and performing other work on the flower beds at the Rector Community Center. Along the same line, superintendent Watson noted the railroad would be mowing and weed eating along their right-of-way prior to Labor Day weekend. He further commented the new tornado sirens have been delivered and are being prepared to install. Mayor Roofe reminded the council to share the word that One-Call for the City of Rector is highly effective. To be included, people must only fill out the information sheet with their phone number(s) and pay the four dollar fee. In the case of emergencies or any other important information, calls will come from city hall to advise citizens of appropriate action.

The Mayor also asked attorney Dale about the solicitation ordinance concern brought forward by Candy Hill and Christa Hedrick. Mayor Roofe expressed appreciation to Dale for bringing an ordinance for review by the council at the next meeting. Council member Romine asked about exceptions for school children and Dale replied, “There are many exceptions and these ordinances are highly litigious and bring extreme scrutiny.” The mayor commented that the city needs an ordinance but not something so extreme as to bring lawsuits on the other side of the issue. The council will review the sample ordinance and discuss the matter at a future meeting.

In department reports, the water department advised that water sales were up this month and there were six new connections and eight disconnects. Because of the excessive dry soil, some leaks in the pipes are showing up and are being addressed. Code enforcement picked up three dogs, issued one building permit. The street department made two cuts, one repair, and replaced eight signs. This coming Monday, the Purple Heart City signs will be delivered and prepared for installation. The community center collected rental fees on eight events and had four non-paying events. The community center committee is preparing for Labor Day and the Ultimate Oldies show on Aug. 31. The fire department is finishing up the new portions of the firehouse and their reports break down the difference in actual fire calls and calls to first responders, reported council member Lark Sigsby. Police chief Glenn Leach reported no accidents, 29 court cases with $1,350 collected in fines. Four loose dog citations were issued. A Zumba exercise class is being held at the NEAITC building on Main Street.

In property issues, Council decided that superintendent Watson will bring a list to the council meeting, set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The list will be the first segment of a plan to continuously address vacant houses that are in line for condemnation. It was noted the Smith house, on Main Street, is now down with the owners hauling away the lumber salvaged from the tear-down. The house on the corner of 3rd and Woodland Heights has been razed and the lot smoothed. It was also noted the property was purchased by Rector School District, since it is adjacent to the district’s bus lot.

To conclude the meeting, council member Iva Fahr brought forward a public safety issue regarding the Rector City Ordinance related to a dog that has been declared vicious. “People walk, children play outside, and this dog is in one of the main neighborhoods. He’s kept inside most of the time, but when his owner walks him, he seems to pull against the lead, showing excessive aggressiveness,” she offered.

City Attorney Dale commented that the owner must have met the requirements of the ordinance to have this dog within the city limits. Compliance with city ordinances is part of citizen responsibility, but to ease the situation, she recommended that the owner be presented with a copy of the ordinance and advised that the dog may not be housed within the city limits of Rector until the city court has received concrete evidence that all stipulations and requirements of the city’s ordinance about housing dogs that have been declared vicious have been met. The mayor, police chief Leach, and city attorney Dale are to follow up on this situation as it is of concern for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

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