Rector Council Addresses Stop Sign Confusion

Thursday, December 6, 2018

During Monday night's regular Rector City Council meeting, held at city hall, a point of confusion was addressed regarding the stop signs at the crosswalks on 5th Street at the Rector elementary and high schools. State law requires vehicles to stop for pedestrians and that has been law for years. Nevertheless, some motorists had ignored this law and the school system requested further signage and flashing lights at crosswalks on 5th Street.

In response, the city and school employees installed a stop sign with flashing lights that are activated before and after student arrival time and before and after school dismissal for a programmable number of minutes. Under the standard red stop sign containing flashers is a yellow sign notifying motorists to stop when lights are flashing and when pedestrians are in the crosswalks.

In turn, some confusion has arisen because many motorists come to a complete stop at the signs at all times of day. The council and school board plan regarding the flashing lights, and the new signage, was to alert motorists of student arrival and dismissal times and insist that cars come to a complete stop when any pedestrians are within the crosswalk areas. Otherwise, they may proceed.

With the leadership of Mayor Teresa Roofe, City Superintendent Todd Watson, and City Attorney Kimberly Dale, three properties the city is considering for condemnation as public nuisance were brought to the council. Letters, certified letter responses, photograph, and council minutes regarding these properties were discussed for each property separately. Afterward, it was noted the only property to have each of the requirements met for the council to proceed toward condemnation is the burned-out trailer at 402 East 1st Street.

Council voted to proceed with the condemnation process on this property. The next step is to allow the required 30 days for the parties named in the letters to make corrections to avoid condemnation. After that, the council will consider measures will continue the process.

Due to the fact the letters to the owners of the other properties, located at 503 East 4th Street and 714 South Greenville Street were returned, unopened, undeliverable, no forwarding address, and for similar reasons the council and city attorney will consider what the next steps will be to declare these two properties a public nuisance.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the council continued study and discussion of the proposed 2019 City of Rector Budget as prepared by the mayor, department heads and Kim Romine, city administrative assistant. During the discussion, concern was raised that the city is losing population, and because of this population loss, income for managing the city is reduced. Regardless, expenses seem to be increasing. While budget item projected expenses are sometimes padded to accommodate for unexpected issues, the budget this year is going to be trimmed before its final approval by Jan. 31, 2019.

Mayor Roofe instructed the council to further study the proposed budget and find area where savings could be made.

In the 2018 budget, city employees are to receive an incentive pay this month of $400 for each full-time employee and $200 for each part-time employee. No vote was necessary on this matter as it was included in the budget.

Other business before the council was reported by Watson and fire chief Hutie Bowden regarding the tiny-house movement. After their research, they reported that it is recommended that any proposal to the city to build a tiny house would comply with Arkansas Fire Code or HUD, to be determined by whether the home is a stick-built structure or a manufactured home. No square foot minimum is necessary, but compliance with fire code or HUD is mandatory and compliance paperwork is the responsibility of the person making the proposal to the city.

The Council heard from each of the city’s departments as they provided their usual reports. Prior to closing, Mayor Roofe commended Linda Robinson for her work with the community center and commended Romine for her work on the proposed budget for 2019.

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