CITY OF TEXARKANA, AR

REQUEST FOR BOARD ACTION

 

AGENDA TITLE:  Approval of Minutes of the regular meeting July 6, 2015.

AGENDA DATE: July 20, 2015

ITEM#: 8A

DEPARTMENT:  City Clerk

DATE SUBMITTED:  July 8, 2015

PREPARED BY:  Heather Soyars and Jan Ferguson

SUBJECT:  July 6, 2015 regular meeting minutes

EXHIBITS:  Minutes

APPROVAL:

EXPENSE REQUIRED: $0.00

AMOUNT BUDGETED: $0.00

APPROPRIATION REQUIRED: $0.00

SUMMARY: The minutes of the July 6, 2015 regular meeting are provided for your approval.

BOARD ACTION:  The City Clerk recommends board approval.

 

MEETING OF THE

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OF THE CITY OF TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS

JULY 6, 2015

__________________________________

MEMBERS PRESENT:

The Board of Directors of the City of Texarkana, Arkansas, convened in regular session at 6:30 PM on Monday, July 6, 2015.

ROLL CALL:

Mayor Ruth Penney Bell asked the Clerk to call the roll and the following Board Members were present:  Mayor Bell, Assistant Mayor Laney J. Harris, and Directors Sue Johnson, Barbara S. Miner, Travis Odom and Allan Wren.  Also present were Acting City Manager Kenny Haskin, City Attorney George M. Matteson and City Clerk Heather Soyars.  Director Tim Johnson was absent.

Mayor Bell asked it be duly noted there was a quorum present for the night’s meeting.

INVOCATION:

The invocation was given by Director Allan Wren.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:

Director Allan Wren led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR:

Welcome:

            Mayor Bell welcomed everyone to the night’s meeting.

Board Meeting Procedure:

Mayor Bell briefly reviewed the board meeting procedures and pointed out the Agenda Item Cards, Citizens’ Communication Cards, and agendas along the rail for tonight’s Board meeting.  The Mayor asked any audience member interested in speaking at the night’s Board meeting to complete one of the cards and turn the card in to the City Clerk.  She said this would help run an organized meeting and allowed the Clerk to have the necessary information for the meeting minutes.  She stated any citizen may comment on any item on the agenda and express their desires, but would be limited to five minutes.

Sparks in the Park:

            Mayor Bell wanted to thank everyone involved with the July 4th Sparks in the Park event even though the event was cancelled due to the instability of the weather.

QUESTIONS FROM DIRECTORS AND OTHER BUSINESS:

            Mayor Bell asked if the Directors had any questions or comments.

            Assistant Mayor Harris thanked Ms. Wilma Dixon who arrived at the Sandflat Center every morning at about 9:30 AM to begin cooking lunch for those in that area.           Assistant Mayor Harris addressed another item in regard to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request he had made on June 19, 2015 concerning an audit report, cashbox and ledger of a former employee.  He said because the situation involved tax payers’ money he felt it should not be handled as insignificant, with the surrounding alleged misappropriated funds, fraud, or theft.  Assistant Mayor Harris said it had not been proven, but based on the results of his FOI request there were two (2) receipt books missing.  He said because of the two missing receipt books the Finance Department cannot determine the amount of money missing.  Assistant Mayor Harris said the employee involved was terminated in April 2015, and there should be an investigation into the situation to determine exactly how much money was missing.  He said he was requesting there be an investigation by the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department to determine why there were two (2) receipt books missing, and if they were missing, was it to hide alleged fraud, theft or misappropriation of funds.  Assistant Mayor Harris said he felt a request for an investigation should come from the Finance Director or the Acting City Manager, but he had no problem with requesting it, if these people would not. 

            Mayor Bell asked Dr. Haskin if he would like to respond.

            Acting City Manager Dr. Kenny Haskin said he would like to respond to Assistant Mayor Harris’ concerns.  He said with respect to Assistant Mayor Harris’ statement and recommendation, he felt they would possibly have an audit.  He said they possibly would consider bringing in an outside auditor in evaluating this process.  Dr. Haskin said he would follow up with Assistant Mayor Harris and let him know where they were with the situation.

          No one else came forward.

PRESENTATION(S):

City Employee Service Awards:

Mayor Bell presented an award to Joe Doss Phillips.  He received a City of Texarkana, Arkansas Employee Service Award and Texarkana, Arkansas City pin.  The award recognized Mr. Phillips for twenty-five (25) years of service with Texarkana Water Utilities (TWU).  He accepted the honor and thanked Mayor Bell, the Board of Directors, and the Acting City Manager.

Mayor Bell said Teresa R. Akard and Jeffrey I. Clayton were unable to attend the night’s meeting and she would make sure they received their award and City pin.  Ms. Akard and Mr. Clayton would have been recognized for twenty-five (25) years of service respectfully, with Texarkana Water Utilities

Mayor Bell thanked all the City employees for their service to the City and its citizens.

Animal Care and Adoption Center:

            Debbie Brower gave a presentation on behalf of the Animal Care and Adoption Center Advisory Committee.  She said in July 2014, the euthanasia rate was 90% or more; the offices and kennels were filthy; disease was rampant; there was low employee morale; and the shelter had no website or social media presence and no adoption site presence.  She said improvements started with Animal Care and Adoption Center Director Charles Lokey and his staff.  Within the year since, the euthanasia rate now averaged between 5% and 40%; the offices and kennels were clean and the odor was better; the disease was controllable; there was high employee morale; and there was a website and a social media presence; as well as an adoption site presence.

            Ms. Brower said major accomplishments had been made with the help of the Friends of the Shelter, volunteers, the rescue community and donors.

CONSENT AGENDA:

Director S. Johnson moved to approve the consent agenda.  The motion was seconded by Director Miner and carried unanimously.  The items approved by consent were:

MINUTES:

The minutes approved were of the regular meeting June 15, 2015.

RESOLUTION NO. 6299:

Resolution No. 6299 granted permission to the Vietnam Veterans of America #278 to hold its Ride to Remember and 28th annual POW\MIA Vigil on Saturday, September 5, 2015 from 2:40 PM until 3:10 PM.

RESOLUTION NO. 6300:

Resolution No. 6300 approving the request for the Komen Texarkana Race for the Cure to be held on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 6:00 AM until 1:00 PM.

REGULAR AGENDA:

ORDINANCE NO. M-121:

An ordinance was introduced to be entitled, “An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. K-286, as amended; and for other purposes.”  Said ordinance would rezone the property in the 2400 block of Jefferson Avenue from R-2 Single-family residential to R-3 Low-density Residential.

City Planner Carl Teel said Mr. Pascarella owned a large lot .367 acres more or less and would like to develop the lot for a duplex.  The Board action requested was to consider an ordinance rezoning the property from R-2 Single-family Residential to R-3 Low-density Residential zone.  The Planning Commission supported the rezoning as a good land use at this location.  The required public notice was placed in the Texarkana Gazette on May 24, 2015, and the City staff notified thirty-three (33) property owners within three-hundred feet as required by City ordinance.  The request had been opposed prior to the Planning Commission meeting by telephone calls and email.  The Planning Commission voted 6-0 by roll call vote to approve with one (1) absent. 

Mr. Teel said he and Ms. Beck had asked Mr. Pascarella to bring pictures of duplexes that he currently owned.  He said he felt the Board needed to see how they were being maintained, to possibly assist in their decision making process. 

Mayor Bell asked if Mr. Pascarella would be doing the maintenance and lawn care for the duplex being considered.

Mr. Teel said Mr. Pascarella was currently doing the maintenance and lawn care for the other duplexes he owned, and that he was present at the meeting to answer questions.

Mr. Pascarella said, yes, that he would be doing the maintenance and lawn care for the duplex.

Mayor Bell said she did not want to see people move out of the neighborhood, and was pleased that he would be doing upkeep.  She said she would like to see the Board protect our neighborhoods, and use our code enforcers to do just that.

Director Odom asked how far from the street the duplexes would be build.

Mr. Teel said that question had arisen at the Planning Commission meeting, and Mr. Pascarella indicated it would be forty to forty-five feet from the street. 

Director Minor asked if that would be from the front of the building.

Mr. Pascarella said, yes, from the front of the unit.

Director Odom said it looked as if there were paved areas for parking in front of the other duplexes Mr. Pascarella owned.  He asked if that would be true for the one being presented. 

Mr. Pascarella said, yes, but it was dependent on the approval of the Building Department.

Director Odom asked if there would be a privacy fence build at the back.

Mr. Pascarella said there was already a privacy fence there.  He said they were also going to add more to divide the two yards.

Director Miner said her only issue was parking because of the busy street. 

Mr. Pascarella said because of the depth of the lot he felt he would be able to get the driveway deep enough to accommodate parking.

Mayor Bell asked if any Board or audience member had any questions or comments concerning this item.  No one came forward.

Director S. Johnson moved the ordinance be read in abbreviated form and the ordinance be placed on its first reading.  The motion was seconded by Director Odom.  The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted: Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the motion carried, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays. 

The ordinance was read the first time.

Director S. Johnson moved the ordinance be read in abbreviated form and the ordinance be placed on its second reading.  The motion was seconded by Director Odom.  The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted: Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the motion carried, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays. 

The ordinance was read the second time.

Director S. Johnson moved the ordinance be read in abbreviated form and the ordinance be placed on its third and final reading.  The motion was seconded by Director Miner.  The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted: Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the motion carried, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays. 

Director S. Johnson made the motion to adopt the ordinance.  The motion was seconded by Director Odom.  The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the ordinance adopted, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays.

CITIZEN COMMUNICATION:

            Mayor Bell asked if anyone in the audience would like to speak, on any subject up to a total of five (5) minutes. 

Mayor Bell said she would love to see Ms. Lee rally her neighborhood and then possibly, volunteers would come out and help them clean their neighborhood.  She said she applauded Ms. Lee and this was what the City needed in every neighborhood.

Public Works Director Paul Hackleman said he would meet with Ms. Lee about her concerns. 

No one else came forward.

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

Mayor Bell announced the Board would recess into Executive Session.  City Attorney George Matteson said the Board did not have to go into Executive Session to appoint Dr. Haskin to the Employee Retirement System Committee.

RESOLUTION NO. 6301:

Resolution No. 6301 was read in its entirety.  Said resolution made an appointment to a committee:

Board/Commission:

 

Appointee:

Employees Retirement System Committee

 

Dr. Kenny Haskin

 

Director Odom, seconded by Director S. Johnson, moved to adopt the resolution. The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren, and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the resolution passed, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays.

ADJOURNMENT:

Director Odom, seconded by Director S. Johnson, moved to adjourn the meeting.  The Clerk called the roll and the following vote resulted: Directors Harris, S. Johnson, Miner, Odom, Wren, and Bell voted aye.  The Mayor declared the meeting adjourned, as there were six (6) ayes and no nays. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:34 PM.

 

_______________________________

Ruth Penny Bell, Mayor

ATTEST:

 

_____________________________

Heather Soyars, City Clerk

 

 

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