Maumelle: City Council meets, hears financials

By Chad Gardner

The Maumelle City Council met on Monday and reviewed the city’s December financials to give them a full picture of how the city performed in 2020. 

For the year, revenues came in $220,000 below budget while expenses came in $1.2 million below budget. 

Even with these significant expense reductions, the city still drew down our general fund by $1.1 million to pay for some large capital projects that were approved for the 2020 fiscal year. 

For 2021, the city has a balanced budget, so if revenues continue to grow and come in as projected and we keep our expenses at or below budget, then the city should add money back to the general fund in 2021. 

In a tough economic year, Maumelle held up well.

In new business, the Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an economic development services contract between the city and Metro Little Rock Alliance. 

This is an alliance the city has been a part of for years and it’s well worth the investment to recruit jobs and businesses to central Arkansas. One tidbit presented was that during the pandemic, 2020 was still one of the biggest years in terms of new job creation and large construction projects. 

The Council appointed Roy Andrews to serve on the city’s Planning Commission.

Andrews, a long-time resident of Maumelle, has previously served as a Planning Commissioner.

Other applicants were: Jacques Pierini, Alicia Gillen, Jade Moore and John Latch.

Andrews replaces John Todd, who retired from his position at the end of his term in January.

“John is my go-to resource for everything about Maumelle and our history as it comes to Planning and Zoning,” Council member Chad Gardner said. “Even though he has officially retired from the commission after many years of service, I have no doubt he’ll continue to attend meetings and help Maumelle in future years. Thanks John!”

The Council also heard the first read of an ordinance that would change the city’s code for Animal Services. It is sponsored by Gardner and he explains the ordinance.

It would revise and strengthen our Animal Services code. Under our current code, we use five different labels when dealing with animal enforcement. This proposal would reduce that number to three. We would be eliminating the Hazardous and Potentially Dangerous categories which would leave three categories: 

  • Nuisance

  • Dangerous

  • Vicious. 

Even though we are removing two categories, the offenses that would fall under those eliminated categories are being moved to the remaining three categories. This would allow Animal Services to respond to animals and owners that cause issues and allow our city to prosecute pet owners who do not control their pets properly. We have also added language that further clarifies how chaining of pets is not allowed in the city. 

This is already not allowed, but the new language allows Animal Services to cite a pet owner for chaining their pet and give them five days to correct the issue. Language has also been added to the ordinance allowing Animal Services to remove an animal from a property if they have probable cause to believe the animal has been mistreated. Animal Services will always work with a homeowner first to correct an issue, but in cases of severe mistreatment where the health of the animal is an issue, this gives the city the ability to remove that animal so it can be properly cared for. Lastly, this ordinance would end Maumelle’s discrimination against certain breeds of animals based on their appearance and will recognize and treat all dogs equally rather than placing labels on certain breeds because of their appearance.

The Council also addressed a resolution that restricted nepotism hiring practices. In December, the Council also approved a similar resolution but further research revealed that directors had been allowed to hire family members for part-time or seasonal staff.

This mostly applied to Parks & Recreation for lifeguard positions and other summer work. The Council agreed that in those cases, family members could still be hired but it would to be done in consultation with Mayor Caleb Norris and the City Council.

The Council also unanimously approved an ordinance allowing the Director of Planning and Permits to approve of minor subdivision splits. 

These requests are normally routine matters that do not need the attention of the full planning commission. This will make our government more efficient by allowing minor issues to be handled at the staff level rather than referring these matters to the full planning commission which adds significant time.

With Feb. 15 being a holiday, the City Council meeting scheduled for that Monday has been pushed to Tuesday, Feb. 16.