Piggott Council Reviews Golf Cart Ordinance

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Members of the Piggott City Council were updated on the new golf cart ordinance at Monday night's regular meeting at city hall. Council also reviewed condemnation efforts on two properties, heard a report on paving projects and were updated on the MLWS. Late in the meeting there was a discussion about work on an alley adjacent to South 12th Street and improvements at Heritage Park.

With all members in attendance, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Poole. Council then turned its attention to the minutes of the two previous meetings, and the financials and clerk's report. Prior to approving the reports, Poole fielded a question from Councilman Mike Cook concerning a large expense, and informed him it was used to purchase asphalt for the summer' overlay program. Afterward, the council voted to accept the reports and minutes as presented on a vote of 4-0.

Council then turned its attention to the recently passed golf cart ordinance, which goes into effect at the end of this week. Police chief Don Poole was on hand, and indicated the applications have been drafted and the stickers have been purchased for the effort.

Members of council were presented with a copy of the application, and were encouraged to weigh-in on any needed changes.

“We may run into some issues with four-wheelers due to the state law,” Poole explained. “And, there have been some of the insurance agents in town who have indicated they wouldn't insure such vehicles for use on the street, and others have.”

The council approved the ordinance at their August meeting, which allows the use of side-by-sides and golf carts on city streets under specific conditions. The application outlines the restrictions and requirements, and may be picked up at city hall during regular business hours. The fee for registering a vehicle is $25, and liability insurance is required as with any other vehicle.

Council then heard an update from city attorney Kimberly Dale on two condemnation efforts. She noted letters had been sent-out concerning the Purl property, at 758 East Locust, with no response and asked that the matter be tabled for the time being. She also requested council table efforts on the property at 647 East Locust until the ownership could be clarified.

Council agreed, and voted 4-0 to table the efforts until the next meeting.

Dale also updated the members on a matter which was discussed at the previous meeting, reporting a resident had responded to complaints by cleaning-up their carport at a home on South Houston.

Poole gave an update on the paving efforts, and indicated the work on West Clay Street should be complete this week. He noted there was also a stretch of Willow Avenue which was paved as a part of the project, although there was not additional charges.

“We were lucky to get West Clay done so quickly, but it was accelerated by the state due to the high use,” he explained.

During his update, utilities director Brian Haley had some good news as he reported electric customers will see a fuel adjustment on this month's bills. “We have an adjustment of 2.16 cents per kilowatt hour, which will equate to a savings of $21,60 for customers who use about 1,000 per month.”

He also noted the electrical outage which occurred on Thursday, Sept. 6, was caused by a lightning strike at Malden. The outage, which also ended the junior Mohawk football game early, was addressed and Haley noted the city has sent a letter to the SWPA requesting a switching change which should alleviate the problem in the future.

Haley also gave an update on the new GPS system, and indicated three of the MLWS employees attending training recently. The systems will be used to map utilities, allowing easier access to water meters, valves, manholes, fire hydrants and such. It will also be used to map the power grid in the future, allowing the utilities to operate more efficiently.

“It will help us take better care of the customers, that's our goal.” he surmised.

He also indicated the electric department is continuing to trim trees and the water department is doing maintenance and installing the radio read meters. “Over the long haul those meters are going to save us a lot in labor,” Mayor Poole added.

Poole also reported the city is trying to finalize plans to begin taking credit and debit cards for utility bills. He indicated a system has been chosen, and for those who pay by E-check online there will be no additional charges.

“There will be a fee if they pay at the counter in the office,” he added.

The city is also working to acquire check reading equipment, which will further cut labor and costs associated with the billing system.

Linda Edwards, whose home is located at the end of Redwood Drive, spoke with council about issues with a nearby alley. In years past the alley, which runs west from South 12th, has been marked as a part of Redwood, although it was never dedicated as a street.

In recent months run-off has eroded the alley, which was paved many years ago, forcing the city to address the issue. Edwards noted the sign had been taken down, and asked that it be returned to allow people to find Redwood. Citing health issues which has required ambulance rides, she implored council to address the problem.

In response, Poole indicated he would have the sign returned—although he noted it will remain an alley unless additional property can be acquired which would allow the proper right-of-way.

Prior to adjourning, Cook inquired about the addition of more electrical outlets at Heritage Park which sparked a brief but heated exchange with Poole and councilman Travis Williams.

Cook asked why more electrical outlets were being added, prompting Poole to respond that it should have been done years ago.

“We've got the money in our infrastructure budget, and it's work that should have been done a long time ago,” the mayor noted. “We added two more “drops” this year, two last year and two the year before. They use them for the car show and Lake Side Market. We've also ran a line out to the fence for lighting.”

Cook indicated he felt the effort was a waste, based on the usage of the park, which brought a quick and critical response from the mayor.

“No one complained when we were spending $30,000 a year in labor on doing Christmas lights around the square. Putting our guys to work in October and using our equipment. Or, when we had a $40,000 electric bill down there (at the community center). But, we've cut that to around $24,000 now and we have the money to do other things.”

Poole then addressed Councilman Williams, and inquired why he had gone to the park and asked the city workers who had authorized the project. After a brief back-and-forth on the subject the matter was dropped, and the meeting adjourned.

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