This Monday’s meeting had a light agenda but several important discussion items.
First, Mayor Caleb Norris announced that Christie Grant was the city’s employee of the month for January 2021 (we’re still catching up from last year’s lack of in-person meetings). If you have visited city hall, it is Christie who greets you with an amazing smile as soon as you walk in the door!
Christie Grant Day in the city of Maumelle will be this Friday, July 23.
During public comment, there were three North Little Rock residents and one Maumelle resident who spoke on the current condition of Crystal Hill Road. Since there has been little construction progress due to the impasse with Entergy, the road has become difficult to navigate since it’s down to one lane and traffic continues to use the road even though it’s closed in one direction. There was more discussion on this later in the meeting.
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The city’s finance director, Liz Mathis, gave an update on financials through June 30 of this year. Overall, the city is in good shape financially with total revenues so far in 2021 coming in ahead of budget and expenses are coming in below budget. The finance department is also wrapping up their portion of the city’s 2018 audit in the coming days. Once this is completed, they will immediately begin the 2019 audit and will also complete the 2020 audit before the end of this year. They have done a lot of prep work in their department to improve processes so that future annual audits will happen in a timelier fashion once the budget year has been completed.
Under unfinished business, the council unanimously approved dedication of streets and drainage for a new residential phase that will be constructed in the Quarters area of Country Club of Arkansas.
We also had the second reading of an ordinance that will update the city’s franchise agreements which regulate those utilizing space in our right-of-way. There was no discussion on this agenda item.
Under new business, Norris asked the council to approve an addition to the meeting’s agenda for Resolution 2021-18. This addition was approved. This resolution is an agreement between the City of Maumelle and Entergy Arkansas that will allow construction to proceed on the Crystal Hill Road project. This agreement establishes a line of credit with a bank in the amount of $142,453.60 which is the cost that Entergy has estimated it will take to relocate their equipment out of the city’s right of way. By approving this resolution, Entergy will begin to relocate equipment in the coming days so that construction on Crystal Hill can proceed.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Entergy has filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission regarding Maumelle requiring Entergy to move their equipment at their own expense. While this complaint works its way through the PSC, this agreement will allow construction to resume. Once the PSC decides who is responsible for costs, either Entergy will pay for the relocation or Maumelle will pay for it. The line of credit serves as a tool that will allow both parties to move forward so this project will not be delayed any longer. This resolution was passed unanimously.
In other new business, Norris asked the council to approve merging the Department of Community and Economic Development and bringing it into the Mayor’s office. Currently, Community & Economic Development is a stand-alone department with only one employee, Judy Keller, who announced her retirement last week and she plans to leave employment with the city at the end of September. Keller has been in this role for many years and has been a great advocate for our city and especially our Industrial Park. The merger of these two departments was approved and will take effect Oct. 1.
If you’re interested in serving on Maumelle’s Planning Commission, there is a vacancy for Position 1 which will fill a term ending May 2025. If interested in applying, please submit your resume to the City Clerk by Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. Applicants will then be interviewed by the council and a selection will be made at our regularly scheduled meeting on Aug 16.
Contact Gardner at Chad4Maumelle@gmail.com or 501-529-1336