Monday night, the Maumelle City Council was presented with the city’s financials through October of 2022. The city continues to have a strong financial position with revenues in the General Fund exceeding expenses by $845,000 through ten months of the year.
Additionally, November is traditionally one of our largest revenue months due to county property taxes being paid to the city. I expect the city’s 2022 surplus to further widen when we receive this month’s financial report. On a related note, the city will also be retiring bond debt in a few weeks.
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As I had mentioned in a previous report, this will save the average Maumelle homeowner several hundred dollars annually due to our property taxes being reduced now that the debt is retired. With the debt being retired, a surplus of funds will be returned to the city that will not be needed for debt repayment. I asked our finance director if we knew an estimate of how much would be returned to the city and she said it would likely be well above a million dollars.
I’m extremely proud of how our city has not taken on new debt during an era of low interest rates the last four years and we refinanced existing debt to reduce our rate so we could pay it off at a lower cost. The city’s finances continue to be strong, and I appreciate the administration and council’s efforts to reduce our city’s debt so we’ll be better off in the future.
The only matter of unfinished business tonight was the second reading of Council Member Michael Tierney’s ordinance to increase the fees businesses are charged for operating in our city. Other than a brief statement by Mr. Tierney regarding his proposal, there was no other discussion on this matter. This will be voted on at the Dec. 5 meeting.
In new business, the council interviewed three candidates for a vacant seat on the Civil Service Commission. We had three highly qualified candidates apply and I appreciate them all for volunteering to serve in this capacity.
Sam Williams, John Jones, and Kelley Hughes were the three candidates for the position.
After one round of voting, Sam Williams and Kelley Hughes were the two remaining candidates and we held another round of voting for these two candidates. To be approved for the position, the candidate must earn five votes of the council. Unfortunately, we had two absences tonight at council leaving only six council members who could vote.
Council member Terry Williams recused herself from the vote due to being the spouse of Mr. Williams. This left only five votes available this evening and the two candidates kept splitting the votes. Since the vote had to be unanimous among the five remaining council members, it was clear this wouldn’t be solved tonight. After some discussion, we postponed the appointment to the Dec. 5 meeting so that an additional council member will help the vote total, possibly reaching five for one candidate.
We may find ourselves in the same situation again then, so stay tuned.
Next on the agenda was a resolution brought by Council Member Steve Mosley to call for a special election in Maumelle to ban certain breeds of dogs. This continues an effort to ban dogs he has brought up at multiple council meetings over the course of the last few months and each time it’s been rejected by the council. This trend predictably continued tonight with the motion to call for a special election failing by a vote of 2-6.
This was presented as an effort to let the people decide once and for all through a special election whether we want to allow all dog breeds in Maumelle.
I, on the other hand, believe the residents of Maumelle elect four council members every two years to represent your interests and make decisions for the city. In my opinion, the council shouldn’t punt issues to the voters whenever a council member disagrees with the council’s actions. You elected all eight of us on the council to represent you, the residents, and I believe at the end of the day we’re all doing what we feel is best. The council has repeatedly rejected bans on certain dog breeds and I don’t see this changing anytime soon even though it’s been brought up at most meetings for the last few months.
It’s clear what the council’s stance on this issue is and any further attempts to ban dogs in the coming few years will predictably result in the exact same outcome.
Next the council approved two mid-year budget resolutions for the 2022 fiscal year. The first was to recognize revenue from an insurance company for damage to a fire truck and then allocate that money for repairs to the fire apparatus. This passed unanimously by all in attendance. The second budget resolution was to recognize revenue received by the Fire Marshall this year for fire inspections and burn permits and in turn increase the Fire Marshall’s budget for an identical amount to pay for body armor and fire prevention materials. This passed with only one council member voting against the budget resolution.
The last item on the council agenda was a public hearing to establish a Municipal Property Owners Improvement District for the Devoe Bend neighborhood. State law is very clear on the process for establishing these improvement districts and as long as a valid petition is presented, it is the council’s duty to establish such district. This matter will be discussed again at the next two meetings before being voted on at the last meeting in December.
As an FYI, city offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Sanitation routes will be delayed because of this during next week’s scheduled pickups. That’s all for this week’s meeting.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Chad, 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org