The Greenwood City Council met in regular session on Monday evening, June 7 at 7 p.m. Members of the council present were Daniel McDaniel, Rod Powell, Lance Terry, Tim Terry, and A.C. Brown. Councilman Ralph Meeker was absent. Also present, City Clerk/Treasurer Sharla Derry, Mayor Doug Kinslow, and City Attorney Michael Hamby.
Following the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, the council voted to approve the minutes of the May 3 meeting. Members of the council then reviewed the committee reports. With no questions regarding those reports, and with no residents signed up to speak at the citizen’s forum, Mayor Kinslow moved on to the next item on the agenda.
Finance Director Thomas Marsh presented his report, noting that city’s sales and use tax was up 25.3 percent over May of last year, and that the Sebastian County sales tax is up 37 percent over May of last year. The A&P tax is up 3.18 percent over May of last year and the monthly average prepared food sales total has increased 38.82 percent over four years. According to Marsh, city revenues are very good for this point in the year. “We are in pretty good shape,” stated Kinslow. “Especially if you consider the year, last year.”
There were two agenda additions, planning and rezone, and an amendment to the police department handbook.
There were no items of old business.
In items of new business, confirmation of commission membership reappointments by Planning and Development Director Sonny Bell. Bell sought the council’s approval to reappoint current members for another term. The council approved those appointments.
The next item of business, to repeal and replace ordinance #20-17, the building permit fee schedule. “To be brought more in line with the Fort Smith fee schedule, “ Bell stated. “It will settle the argument once and for all whether or not Greenwood is more expensive to build in than Fort Smith, or whether we are cheaper. We can say, we are the same.” The first reading repealing and replacing ordinance #20-17 was approved unanimously.
Next, a presentation by Bell on the East Village Development. This proposed development, between Alpha Packaging and Chismville, consists of 251 lots. The planned subdivision will have duplexes, cottage homes, starter homes, mid-sized homes and high-end homes. It will also offer two and a half miles of walking trails around the subdivision. It will feature pavilions similar to those at Bell Park. “We are excited about it,” Bell added. “We are moving forward.” Bell stated that the plans will go before the planning committee and that he hoped to bring it back to the council in the July meeting.
It was also announced that Alpha Packaging was planning to add an additional 50,000 square feet on to its facility.
Mayor Kinslow asked Chamber of Commerce President Bob Purvis to explain his new role with a leadership planning committee at Western Arkansas Planning and Development. Purvis stated that in the first meeting “the idea came up that we don’t have a good liaison presence from the communities in place… I have done some liaison work like that many years ago….so they got me volunteered on the subcommittee.” Purvis explained the correlation with the new multi-national pilot training program in Fort Smith, and how it will affect growth in the Greenwood community.
“This is the best thing that has happened to Greenwood in a long time,” Kinslow concluded. “We hope to have this highway built (the traffic relief bypass) around the same time.”
In the next item of business, a budget resolution for a stoplight issue at Denver and Center Streets. Street Department Director Chad Grouse reported that the light is not detecting traffic as vehicles pull up to it and that his department is getting several complaints. “We have had issues since it was installed,” stated Grouse. “One of the biggest complaints we get is at the school. School buses get held up.” Grouse stated that they have contacted the company that produces this system, and that they have turned it over to tech support. “They have no idea why it is doing what it’s doing or how to fix it.” Grouse went on to add that they have deduced that issues arise when there is rain, fog, sun glare, and dark-colored vehicles. He recommended the system be removed and replaced. The motion was made and passed unanimously.
Bell then presented a request for a rezone from R-1 to R-5 at the corner of North Evergreen and East Lincoln. The council voted unanimously to approve the petition for rezoning. There was no adoption of the emergency clause. The rezoning will go into effect 30 days after publication.
The Planning Director then introduced the city’s new Animal Control/Code Enforcement Officer-Casey Craig. “He is an excellent addition to the city,” Bell concluded.
In the last item of new business, the police department resolution amending the sworn personnel policy handbook adding a towing service policy. The council did not take any action but tabled the motion.
In departmental reports and council forum, a question regarding White Oak Road. “We have to address this,” stated Kinslow. The Street Department Director outlined the road issues and proposed plans. “We will continue to inherit our forefather’s mistakes or lack of testing. It is not just on streets.”
Kinslow then stated that with the help of Alderman McDaniel the city has retained a sidewalk easement from Bradley Aldridge. The city is lacking an easement from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Taco Bell, Baptist Health, and a car lot. “We are close,” added Kinslow. Danielle Smith, Executive Assistant, and Human Resource Director stated that “Morelock is not interested whatsoever. I have talked to Mike about it…and he is going to send him a letter stating this is what we are left with. We may have to do a lawsuit of some sort.” Hamby stated he can send them a letter in hopes of at least corresponding. Kinslow concluded by stating that Smith has worked tirelessly to get the easements. “This (sidewalk construction) is about preventing deaths.”
Kinslow reported that the parks department was due a refund from McClelland Engineering. The council then discussed the status of outstanding litigation, including the case against a property owner on Mount Harmony Road for cutting a 20-foot wide swath of trees from their property to the Greenwood City Lake. “We are still getting estimates on loblolly pines,” Hamby concluded.
Following a discussion on the census numbers, and the impending work by the new code enforcement officer, Kinslow asked that those in attendance remember the families who have recently lost their loved ones.
With no other items of business, the motion was made for adjournment.