Leachville works on tax resolution

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Leachville City Council met in regular session on July 10, again in working session on July 17, and will hold a special called meeting Thursday. The main topic of discussion during the multiple meetings has been how to elevate the city's past due tax burden.

Action taken on July 10 included:

*Council agreed to draw up a shielded outside lighting ordinance, allowing the city to opt out of the House bill #1027 restrictions mandating the addition of shields to prevent light pollution in the atmosphere.

*Phoenix Fabricators was awarded the bid for city water system improvement, with the low bid of $579,959. The city is still awaiting Soil and Water Service approval for the specified work.

*The council voted to turn back the previous state matching grant of $75,000, due to the growing cost and upkeep of the city park. Reports of vandalism to lights on the walking park were discussed.

*City lots in need of cleaning were discussed, to bring them into compliance with the City Beautification Ordinance concerning empty houses, unkept lots and abandoned cars. Plans were made to enforce the existing ordinance.

*Harold Posey reported poultry being kept inside the city limits, which has become a nuisance. He requested the city ordinance against livestock be enforced.

*Mayor Ralph Wells stated his opposition to the way the council was handling meetings. He referred to procedures for meetings of Cities of the First Class as outlined in Section 13-43-501 of the Arkansas Municipal Handbook. The council in turn claimed compliance to the rules in calling working meetings and special council meetings. Mayor Wells requested the meetings provide positive media coverage, not negative.

Discussions during the council's working meeting, on Monday night, July 17, included:

*Council discussed ways and means of taking care of the city's tax problem. They requested their attorney, Mike Bearden, to act as their spokesman with the power of attorney to speak on their behalf to the IRS.

*New information from city clerk Ruth Ann Keith lowered the city's eligible general fund money from $20,000 to $10,000. The council discussed ways to borrow money, giving local establishments first consideration.

Money needed to pay tax basic penalties includes $108,844.42. Plans are to consolidate accumulated city department monies and the borrowed money into one certificate of deposit so it will be available when Bearden arrives at an agreement with the IRS for pay back.

A special called council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at city hall.

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