Maumelle: City Council report

By Chad Gardner

I'm late getting a council meeting report out, but I did want to share information regarding the meeting from March 1.

The ordinance that I'm sponsoring to increase Animal Service's ability to respond and deal with troublesome animals (and their owners) as well as repeal the ban on specific breeds was back on 1st reading last week. 

Council Member R.J. Mazzoni had proposed some changes to further enhance Animal Control's ability to respond to deal with animal control issues and this passed at the last meeting in February. There was another motion made by Council Member Steve Mosley to table the ordinance indefinitely but this failed. He had also made the same motion at the previous meeting. 

I fully expect for a similar tabling motion to be brought up at the next council meeting since that seems to be the theme of the past month. There was some discussion about sending this as a referendum to the voters and there may be a motion made to that effect at the next meeting. I will not support that motion and I'll explain why. 

The response from Maumelle residents to this change has been overwhelmingly positive. While I haven't tallied up my emails, phone calls, etc., I would guess that 4 out of 5 residents support this change and that's just the folks that have taken the time to send us a note with their thoughts. As I've previously stated in council meetings, I doubt the average resident knows Maumelle bans specific breeds of animals. Until a few years ago, I was also in that group. I'd never heard of a breed ban until some residents approached me about changing the law. 

The residents of Maumelle elected us to do a job and to be the legislative voice for the city. 

If we punt issues back to the voters whenever a council member thinks something is contentious (I don't think this issue is) then we're not doing our job as a council to be the legislative body. Would we continue to send issues to the voters every time someone thought it was a contentious issue? I'd certainly hope not, because that would waste the city's time as well as your tax dollars for having to pay election costs associated with such referendums. 

I think there is a time and place for asking the voters to weigh in on a subject or an issue of taxes or debt, but I don't believe this issue merits the costs associated with putting it on as a ballot issue. While I'm only one council member, the support has been overwhelmingly positive that I've been receiving. Other council members might have had a different response and I'll leave that to them if they want to explain what they're hearing. Most responses we're receiving are all addressed to the entire council, so I figure we're all receiving similar responses. I'll continue to support this change and want to see it voted on by the council on April 5.

Water plant update

Central Arkansas Water is asking for the abandoned, and now demolished, water plant property be rezoned to Primary Residential District. This property is currently zoned as Open Space and CAW has a buyer for the property that wants to build five residential estate lots on this four-acre parcel of property. 

City staff and the Planning Commission gave a "do-pass" recommendation to the council and this will be voted on at the next meeting on Monday, March 15.

Splash Pad update

Maumelle Parks & Recreation told the Maumelle City Council that the construction of the new splash pad had been delayed due to wintry weather in February.

“It's hard to prepare the site when it's buried under 18 plus inches of snow,” Council member Chad Gardner said. “The construction timeline is pretty short anyway, so a few weeks of delay won't really matter since it'll be finished in time to open for the Summer season.”

Gardner added that the splash pad would be “a great addition to our community.”

Contact Gardner at 501-529-1336 or