State of the City
Maumelle City Council report, Planning Commission meets tonight, Mailbag, Arts new and notes plus headlines
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Pandemic death toll ticks up
The total number of dead Arkansans this past week was 22.
Last week, it was 17, and the week before that it was 35.
The total number of dead Arkansans is now at 13,054. The Covid-19 death toll is now the state’s 33rd largest city, passing Mountain Home’s 12,722 and nearly to Harrison’s 13,081.
Of note, the Arkansas Department of Health, to its credit, continues to publish regularly updated Covid-19 data but are no longer publishing new information daily. Covid information will now be updated weekly on Tuesdays and can be viewed by clicking here. Arkansas and New York are the only two states still publishing regular updates and the White House has announced plans to discontinue outreach in May. Covid is still around though and people are still dying from it.
There’s now a one-stop shop to learn about vaccination sites and other Covid related information. Click here to learn more.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do:
Wear a mask
Upcoming meetings: The North Little Rock City Council meets next Monday night and click here to view the agenda. The PCSSD School Board meeting, that had been postponed, has been rescheduled for next Monday night as well. It starts at 6 p.m. and could be a banger but an agenda is not yet available.
Get Involved: Arkansas LEARNS is now state law but there’s still much to do and the Arkansas Department of Education is seeking volunteers to help develop rules, policies and procedures for what’s next. The deadline to apply to be on a working group is Friday, March 31. To apply, or for more information, click here.
Letter to the Editor: No on SB 197
We are property owners within the city of Hot Springs, and former residents of Maumelle, and are concerned about Arkansas State Senate Bill 197.
The bill, SB 197 is a bill that would completely deregulate the Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) industry in the state of Arkansas. It will nullify all ordinances passed anywhere in Arkansas. This bill is an overreach by the state legislature, overriding local decisions for personal financial gain and could very well lead to investigations and lawsuits. The state doesn’t like federal government interference; cities don’t like state interference.
At the March 15th meeting of the City, County and Local Affairs Committee, multiple city mayors, leaders and residents from all over the state testified against the bill. The hotel industry was also represented by Arkansas hoteliers who are against the bill as it presents an unfair playing field to them.
I encourage you to be sure you hear all sides, including the concerning public safety issues. SB197 is not simply about property rights! Many of us in Hot Springs could speak to our safety concerns. My husband and I have been victims of theft (new boat) and trespassing. Our boat was stolen from our covered boat dock where it was secured. Three weeks later, it was found at a nearby STR boat dock – it was trashed and abandoned there. We have spent thousands of dollars to make our property more secure. My husband worked with City Director Karen Garcia and the Hot Springs Police Department to form a Neighborhood Watch for our street.
We purchased our home in 2020 as our dream retirement home. We have family, friends, and church family in Hot Springs and were so excited to retire full time to the lake. When the issue of STRs came up, we felt secure in the knowledge that our city had an ordinance that would protect us and our major investment. If SB 197 passes, we fear that we will be living in the wild, wild west. The sponsors of SB 197 want to place the management of STR issues on the back of our already overburdened police force. I do not want to spend my retirement calling police non-emergency lines or enduring any of the nightmares that friends in the county, where there are no STR ordinances, endure. There is no POA or HOA in our neighborhood and there are now over 40 STRs on our street. Density is a real issue, and we are counting on our city, not the state, to help with this. We believe in personal rights; however, there must be something to protect our rights too!
Several cities have passed STR ordinances, but it wasn’t until Bella Vista passed theirs that SB197 was introduced. Hot Springs has a working ordinance, and most would agree that it is still a work in progress. Our city leaders and elected officials work hard to represent their constituents on both sides of this issue. They are a direct reflection of those they serve.
Arkansas cities and towns are all unique and want/need to make their own decisions in regulating STR businesses. There is no way the state can regulate all individual situations. This is not a “one size fits all” type of issue; each city and town has its own special needs, and we elect local public officials who reflect our needs.
STRs have a significant role in the tourism industry. However, traditional neighborhoods are feeling a negative impact at times. Local government is in a better position to address the unique nature of our neighborhoods. SB 197 would render cities helpless in addressing the concerns of local residents.
My hope in sharing this is to bring awareness to this issue. Our calls and emails to our elected State officials are critical to defeating SB 197.
Ellen Howland, Hot Springs
Maumelle: City Council report
This week’s council meeting began with Mayor Caleb Norris giving the annual State of the City address. A link to the city’s YouTube page is below as is a transcript of the full address.
A few takeaways from his address are that the city’s new Pickleball courts are being designed and construction should be complete before the end of 2023. Additionally, Maumelle’s all-inclusive playground will begin construction soon and should also be ready for play this year. Sponsorship opportunities for the inclusive playground are still available so if you or your company would like to make a donation, feel free to reach out to me and I can let you know what sponsorship options are available. Donors will be recognized with their name and/or company logo on a new monument at the new playground. Finally, the long-awaited roundabout to join White Oak Crossing, Country Club Parkway, and Counts Massie will be going out to bid in the coming weeks. This new roundabout will be a tremendous addition to help traffic navigate this area of Maumelle.
After the mayor’s address, our outgoing finance director, Liz Mathis, gave the financial report through the month of February. While many of the city’s larger revenue items come at various points throughout the year, the city is currently ahead of budget on revenues and below budget on expenses. The general fund balance currently sits at $12.1 million.
In old business, the council approved an ordinance that raises the dollar amount for purchases that the Mayor must send out for competitive bids. Our existing ordinance required the mayor to bid out any purchase over $20,000. According to a new state law, this bid threshold has been raised to $35,000, so we adjusted our local ordinance to comply with state law.
Moving to new business, the council approved an economic development service contract with Metro Little Rock Alliance. This is an annual contract that we participate in with other central Arkansas communities to market our cities for economic development.
The last item on the agenda was an item I requested regarding the 2024 total solar eclipse. Many people know this already, but the total solar eclipse will occur in Maumelle on Monday, April 8, 2024. Whenever this occurs, hundreds of thousands and millions of people will travel to be in the path of totality. Many communities in the U.S. are already planning on hosting all of these out-of-town guests. Maumelle is currently planning on how we want to handle that day and what events we want to put on the weekend prior. We have a unique opportunity to show off our city as travelers come from all over the world to be in the path of totality across our country. I’ll share more in the coming months as we develop our plan for what the city will be doing that weekend.
Looking to serve the city? The Maumelle Planning Commission has an opening for a vacant position. If you’re interested in putting your name forward, please submit a resume or letter of interest to the City Clerk, Tina Timmons. Our planning commissioners serve in one of the most important roles in our city and are responsible for reviewing and approving developments in Maumelle. Applicants will be interviewed at a future council meeting where a new commissioner will then be selected.
Chad, 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maumelle: Planning Commission meets tonight
The Maumelle Planning Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall.
The agenda for the meeting can be viewed by clicking here.
The agenda is relatively light but of note, a new bank is coming to Maumelle. It will be located at 8901 White Oak Crossing and is a branch of First Service Bank.
This will be the second branch of the bank in Pulaski County, with the other being in Little Rock and near the Trader Joe's.
The corporate office is located inb Greenbrier and there's a total of 11 branches stretching from Mountain View to Dermott.
In other business, Chick-fil-A is asking for a variance for its drive-through canopy.
The Federal Metal Company to put new facility in North Little Rock
The Federal Metal Company recently announced it is expanding its footprint into North Little Rock, where the company is building a new manufacturing facility to recycle post-consumer aluminum copper radiators.
Federal Metal will invest approximately $17.8 million in the facility and create 40 new jobs within four years.
This will be the company’s first facility in Arkansas and it will be located at the former Ben E. Keith facility off Pike Avenue and in the Baring Cross neighborhood.
“Major investments in new mill, foundry, and refining capacity are underway in the United States for the first time in generations, and it’s important the scrap industry here keeps pace to assure the domestic supply chain is well fed,” said Peter Nagusky, Federal Metal’s President and CEO.
Federal Metal has already started hiring, specialized equipment is on order, and they plan to be operational mid-2023. The company will be able to recycle more than 3,000 metric tons per month of aluminum copper radiators in North Little Rock.
“We are excited that Federal Metal has selected North Little Rock as their newest location,” said Mayor Terry Hartwick. “The site housed a successful business in the past and will now be home to this 100 plus year old company for the future.”
For more information about The Federal Metal Company, visit www.federalmetal.com.
The Wildwood Center for the Arts in rural west Little Rock is seeking performers for its upcoming Lanterns Festival.
Dubbed, “BIGGER, BRIGHTER, BOLDER”, the festival is putting together a Las Vegas-style show and roles sought include: Emcee, Singers, Comedian/Impersonators, Circus Arts and Dance Acts.
Auditions are by appointment only but might be a good time to dust off the Elvis costume because while not noted, surely there will be room for big sunglasses and puffy sideburns.
Auditions will be held on the Main Stage of the Cabe Theatre at Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road in Little Rock.
To make an appointment, contact Zachary Rhodes at email@example.com.
Performers will be paid a stipend for their time and efforts.
Rent auditions: The Argenta Community Theater is putting on Resnt later this year and auditions will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 25 the theater at 405 Main Street in downtown North Little Rock. If interested, email casting@ArgentaCommunityTheater.org to schedule an appointment but walk-ins are welcome. There’s a ton of parts and if you have questions, email Sydney Wolfe, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s go MAD: Dwight Yoakum will be at the First Financial Music Hall in El Dorado’s Murphy Arts Districts on Saturday, June 24. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert will start at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $44 and go on sale today by clicking here and using FOOLS as the promo code. The public sale begins on Friday.
The 90s never ended: If you remember the 1990s then boy does Simmons Bank Arena have a treat as The Offspring with Sum 41 and Simple Plan and are on tour together and hit North Little Rock at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here and using ROCK23 as the promo code today. The public sale begins on Friday.
The 90s never ended (Part 2): Nostalgia sells, maybe? Anyway, Mississippi’s 3 Doors Down, singers of that song, will be at Simmons Bank Arena at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here and the promo code for the show is 3DD23 to buy tickets today. The public sale begins on Friday
Dad rock doc: Everyone’s favorite rocker Jason Isbell is coming to Arkansas for two shows later this year but you need your fix now, right? Well, you’re going to get it on April 7 when Running With Our Eyes Closed debuts on HBO. The documentary, directed by Sam Jones, features Isbell, wife Amanda Shires and follows the pair, along with backing band the 400 Unit, as they worked together on the album Reunions. Jones has an impressive resume and has directed episodes of Ted Lasso, the award-winning Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off and I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, a film about Wilco. Jones does genius-level work and his Off Camera show is the smartest thing on TV. To watch the trailer, click the link below.
North Little Rock High School is staging Clue: On Stage (High School Edition). The first run of shows has been completed but additional shows have been added for April. Buy tickets in advance by clicking here.
Maumelle: State of the City
Maumelle Mayor Caleb Norris delivered the annual State of the City address at the beginning of Monday night’s City Council.
The address took roughly 30 minutes to deliver and to view the meeting, click the YouTube thumbnail below.
What’s next is a rush transcript of what Norris delivered. It has been lightly edited to correct spelling errors that come with the transcription process and formatted for online publication. We apologize in advance for any errors not caught.
Caleb Norris: It is state of the city time, yay. Don't everyone run out at once so if you'll bear with me I'll tell you a little bit about what's going on here in the city.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Maumelle city council department heads and city employees and my fellow citizens Arkansas law requires that within the first 90 days of the year I must report to you the Municipal Affairs of the city and recommend such measures as may seem advisable this is that report now I hope this won't come as a surprise to y'all but 2022 was an election year at the city level council members Chad Gardner Michael Tierney and Jess Holt ran for re-election unopposed new council member Christine Gronwald won her race for the ward one position that was vacated by council member Ken Saunders. City clerk Treasurer Tina Timmons ran for re-election as city clerk unopposed Andrew Thornton ran unopposed for City Attorney which was vacated by City Attorney Melissa Krebs
Finally I won my re-election campaign receiving just shy of two-thirds of the vote. The fact that so many races went unopposed and the fact of the margin in my re-election campaign tells me everything I need to know about how Maumelle residents view the work that we've been doing and the direction that the city is headed now I'm well aware that there's always room for improvement but I'm happy to report that Maumelle is in great shape and is poised for another industrious year overall 2022 was a great year as we moved out of the pandemic phase completely and plowed ahead with numerous exciting projects.
Many of these projects are now fully underway and we should begin seeing significant visual progress this year one focal point that we really made headway on last year was our attempts to enhance the quality of life in Maumelle through what I like to call placemaking the regional Greenway is slated to come through Maumelle and Engineering is underway right now to transform club Manor from Odom to Millwood from a four-lane road to a two-lane road with a separated walk and bike trail this part of club Manor functions a bit like our version of mainstream and is what we're calling the Maumelle mile it is the area that we hold our parades.
It sits between Lake Willastein one of our most visited recreational outdoor locations here in town and the Town Center commercial area at the northern point of this future Trail sits our old fire station course building many of you have heard and I know everyone on the council has that there are plans to transform that area into a City Food Truck Park and Farmers Market Pavilion which will serve as the northern Gateway onto the Maumelle mile planning is underway and a Citizens advisory Academy committee has been working with Consultants to create an area that really serves Maumelle residents.
In fact, at the chamber luncheon recently you may have seen some of the renderings of what we're calling Gateway Park. This presentation will be presented to the council soon before we begin the construction of this area. Funds have already been appropriated for the construction of this park. Our goal with this park and these facilities is to improve pedestrian facilities so that we better connect Maumelle’s premier outdoor recreational area to our commercial area.
Speaking of improve improving connectivity last year we began creating a master bike and pedestrian plan for Maumelle people continually tell me that one of the reasons they moved to Maumelle was because of our trail system however our trail system is in desperate need of repairs and upgrades additionally we need to increase the connectivity so that you and your family can better enjoy these public amenities another exciting project that we're working on is pickleball course for years Maumelle residents have requested that we build pickleball courses although I was initially skeptical at first about this so-called pickleball game. I mean where are the pickles?
I eventually saw the value of these courses during a pickleball bash that we held at the community center. There was a tremendous amount of Maumelle residents that turned down and they range from seasoned pickleball veterans to Rookies from Seniors to young children so to those of you who have requested pickleball courts we have heard you loud and clear we hope to have seven new outdoor Courts open to the public before the end of this year in another project driven largely by Maumelle residents the all-inclusive playground is nearly completely funded and construction will begin here soon.
Little sales pitch incoming we're still looking for a few additional sponsors to finalize the funding so this is your chance if you're out there watching at home or here in the chambers with us just imagine it now a beautiful sign with your company's logo where you get to tell our community that you support our playgrounds and our children the mayor's office economic development director Courtney Dunn has been hard at work selling Maumelle to prospective businesses in 2022 we doubled down on recruiting our recruiting efforts for retail establishments while we continue to provide support for the industrial park in fact Courtney [Dunn] and Communications coordinator Sydney Thompson helped the city earn the international Economic Development council's Bronze award for the in 2022 for their efforts during Economic Development week here in Maumelle Community Development remains an important element in Economic Development and this year we had multiple new additions to our community development activities as well as continued success in some of our established areas the Christmas light decoration event a very merry Maumelle was again a success and has proven to be a resident favorite the mayor's office continues to focus on Communications through social media on Facebook 159,724 people saw our content a little bit less but on Instagram 3 360 people saw our content our Peak engagement hit 33 000 for the my Maumelle episode about Mexican restaurants here in Maumelle.
One of the things that makes Maumelle a great place to live and do business is that we are a safe Community to live in which brings me first to the fire department the Maumelle fire department was a hotbed of change in 2022 including the arrival of a new fire chief early last year fire chief Gerald Ezell left Maumelle to become the chief of the Joplin Fire Department Fire Marshal Scott Eaton served as interim Chief and his leadership allowed us to conduct a thorough search for the best person to take the millennial fire department to the next level despite a regional search with applicants from Across the Nation we found the perfect fit right next door in the end we were able to lure Beau Beaufort away from his 29-year career with North Little Rock where he served as the assistant fire chief to serve as Maumelle's new fire chief Chief Buford took charge on August 1st during a record-breaking year with the Maumelle fire department where they responded to 2,239 calls 1 415 of the calls or 63 percent were for Emergency Medical Services the department also responded to 55 fires 62 motor vehicle accidents 379 service calls and 190 false alarms. In 2022 the fire department hired four new firefighters and this year the city council authorized three new fire Lieutenant positions that will greatly help with Staffing levels during times of need. Last year we purchased two new vehicles in a flat bottom boat although this boat was purchased to provide search rescue and recovery services in water events.
The boat’s first voyage was a trip to the Maumelle peninsula where firefighters posted no hunting signs just a reminder hunting in the discharge of firearms within the city limits is illegal even when that boundary falls in the middle of the Arkansas River.
Because it is important that we find a location in or very near the city where our First Responders can train I'm working with Chief Buford and police chief Corey Pickard to find a suitable site for a police and fire training center with the support of the city council we have already allocated funds to begin planning and design of such a facility this year in anticipation of the upcoming 911 Center consolidation with Maumelle North Little Rock and Sherwood. The fire department will begin converting its station Learning System in preparation for a new Consolidated Dispatch Center expected to be functional in 2025. one fun fact from the Maumelle fire department is in December in a continued effort to ensure the fire department is trained to handle emergencies of all sorts all of the Department's Chief officers attended a FEMA safety officer course in Jacksonville and received the safety officer certification from FEMA and this leads us to the police department led by Chief Corey Pickard.
Some big news from the police department includes Chief Pickard being selected for and attending the 10-week FBI National Academy in Virginia the National Academy provides Advanced investigative management and Fitness training to senior officers who are proven leaders in their local organizations. Chief Pickard graduated from the National Academy in December and Captain Ivey, Captain Dustin Ivey, did a wonderful job serving as interim in his absence Maumelle continues to be ranked among the safest cities in Maumelle overall last year our crime statistics were pretty stable in 2022 officers of the Maumelle Police Department responded to 14,197 calls which is an increase over the 12,562 calls last year the total number of violent crimes reported in 22 totaled 41 which is up seven from the year before
There were no homicides last year but the Maumelle fire police department is still investigating the single homicide from 2018. crimes against persons increased by 13 percent to 195, while aggravated assaults were up 11 over last year robberies were down 25 percent the number of property crimes was 301 which decreased which is a decrease of 7 percent over the year prior which is the second consecutive year for property crimes decreases the number of thefts last year was 257 which is also a slight decrease from the prior year last year. Nineteen vehicles were stolen which is two more than the year prior in many of these cases thieves stole cars that were unlocked with keys inside the unlocked car or keys on a nearby unlocked car so please consider this your annual reminder to lock your doors and bring your car keys inside.
In 2022 the Maumelle Police Department reported 18 encounters that required the use of force each use of force is reviewed by supervisors to ensure that the minimum level of force is used the Maumelle Police Department investigated 423 traffic collisions which was up from 355 last year but ultimately is down from the 468 they investigated in 2018. The department issued 1,573 citations and 3,625 written warnings and they were involved in 14 vehicle Pursuits last year throughout the year and continuing into this year.
Police department leadership has worked with North Little Rock and Sherwood on the state mandated consolidation of our 9-1-1 call centers this massive change in operations is designed to produce state-of-the-art call centers that are able to better serve the public however this change is not without its costs for 2023 alone the city council has appropriated $140,000 for reporting software upgrades that will sync with our partner jurisdictions for 2023 the city council appropriated over a quarter million dollars to purchase an outfit five new police vehicles additionally another quarter million dollars was appropriated to replace all in-car and body cameras and migrate on to a more effective software platform finally the city council approved and funded two new positions at the police department with the goal of adding two new positions next year the Maumelle Police Department is always recruiting new officers so if you're tired of your current job give us a call and we may be able to find a position for you!
The city attorney's purpose remains to defend and pursue the interests of the city and to assist in achieving its goals while protecting the rights of mobile citizens; our new City attorney Andrew Thornton was sworn in January 1st 2023. he comes to us with several years experiencing criminal law which is a huge asset when Prosecuting manner matters in Maumelle District Court.
He earned his bachelor degree from the University of Chicago and his law degree from Georgetown University. The City attorney is on call 24 hours a day seven days a week to assist our police officers and other City personnel last year Melissa Krebs our previous City attorney prosecuted all misdemeanors traffic violations and ordinance violations in Maumelle District Court she provided regular legal advice to the council the mayor the Planning Commission the Civil Service Commission and other city employees and Commissioners and answered her phone anytime we called she assisted in the preparation of the majority of ordinances and resolutions that were considered by the council last year she also remained actively involved in the regular operations of the city providing Counsel on many code enforcement planning contractual personnel and policy matters the city attorney's purpose remains to defend and pursue the interests of the city.
In 2022 City Clerk Tina Timmons's office again remained very busy they issued 203 commercial retail professional business licenses 32 industrial Warehouse licenses 13 solicitor permits seven transient permits and 135 home-based business senses the city clerk's office continues to oversee the upgrade of computerized equipment city-wide including the replacement of old computers and software the clerk's office has begun the process to upgrade the email exchange server working with our I.T service to eliminate server redundancy the clerk's office will continue to work toward converting to cloud-based technology but this will continue to be a multi-year project in 2022 the fiber installation for internet access to public works and animal services was completed and let me assure you they are very thankful the clerk continues to oversee record retention and organization of Records. Hundreds of Records have already been digitized and added to the electronic archives clerk Timmons obtained her level two State designation as a certified Municipal official she's also completed her third years in advisor for cities of the first class with the Arkansas municipal League also of note clerk Timmons was elected to be the vice president of the Arkansas city clerk recorder's treasurers Association so congratulations on that.
The finance department provides the oil that greases Maumelle's gears earlier this year Finance director Liz Mathis left the city for an opportunity in the private sector so the first order of business this year was the appointment of a new Finance director and I'm proud to announce that Beatrice Sousa will be the new Finance director she has 20 years of experience with several International companies and she recently moved from Miami to Maumelle with her husband who is from Central Arkansas. Beatrice will pick up where Liz left off continuing to bring our audits up to date as she keeps us between the financial ditches while I'm sad to see Liz leave. I'm elated that we found the right replacement so quickly during 2022. The finance department cleared out a long jam and completed Audits and annual comprehensive Financial reports for 2018-2019 and 2020. this backlog was cleared out at the same time that we migrated our financial software to the open gov software platform which will streamline our processes and procedures and is a huge step toward creating greater Financial transparency this platform moves the city's Financial records to a cloud-based system that coordinates with opengov reporting and budgeting once fully implemented opengov will eliminate much of the manual labor and paper records that are required to keep our books straight open gov will hopefully here soon be able to provide detailed financial data to City staff elected officials and eventually residents of Maumelle through the form of an online checkbook in collaboration with the finance department.
The Department of Human Resources led by Doreen Mattis continues working diligently on a human resource payroll software conversion from SpringBook. The conversion which began in August 2022 is well underway and we hope to have all the modules up and running this spring the eight modules include time and attendance or crew rules leave ACA HR recruiting benefits and payroll the software offers web-based service modules that will reduce clerical errors and the time it takes managers and supervisors to enter payroll thereby freeing up them to do what they're best at their jobs the self-service function allows employees to flexibility and convenience of making and updating changes from their smartphones or home computer of continuing concern is hard to fill and hard to retain positions primarily in the police department, sanitation, Public Works and Parks while the salary increases approved by the city council at the beginning of last year helped we continue to struggle to fill and retain some of these positions the turnover rate last year was 23 percent which was down considerably from 2021 with 17 percent of those turnovers being voluntary and six percent being involuntary the HR department received and screened 697 applications last year and onboarded 137 full-time part-time and seasonal employees providing excellent customer service to our current and future employees Remains the priority for the HR department.
2022 was a record-breaking year for the Department of planning and permits led by Scott Grummer. Maumelle grew by 156 Acres recently with the annexation of properties to our West and north at the last city council meeting an additional 46 Acres along our East side was approved for annexation before I get too deep into planning and permits I want to stop for a minute to talk about how vital annexation is to the city of Maumelle.
Time and time again I hear people say how they wished Maumelle would have annexed certain areas long ago we have an opportunity to Annex areas into the city limits and we need to take advantage of that if we do not the next generation will complain that we should have done this when we had the chance so please keep your ears open for more information about future annexations but back to the planning department our planning division process 32 subdivision requests 13 site plan requests eight code amendments three conditional uses and three rezoning and land use amendments the total of new Industrial and Commercial Construction in 2022 is over 169 million which is more than the past 12 years combined the industrial park added 1.2 million square feet of space 1 million square feet of that is increased is thanks to Tractor Supply company's new Distribution Center which the company hopes have up and running by early spring 2024.
Companies that are enlarging their footprint here in Montana are Inc plastic Ingenuity and Summit Utilities Training Center. I am proud that companies consider locating here in Maumelle but I'm even prouder that companies that are here choose to stay here and expand because it shows that we're doing something right Maumelle High School is expanding its Sports Complex to include over forty thousand square feet of indoor training facilities and outdoor soccer track baseball and softball fields new commercial development included a strip center on Country Club Parkway by The Diamond Park ball fields and All Paws Pet Wash on the north side of Lake Valencia commercial and Industrial remodels have been a key to maumelle's growth as well recently with 12 permits issued for a total of four million dollars in construction value this includes upgrades at Molex and Dillard's. Federal Plastics moved into Burkhalter commercial and 701 Murphy Drive converted into an office rental space called brick and mortar for small businesses
Starbucks has reopened after its completed remodel recently to Cheers from across the city residential new construction has decreased slightly with 88 new home starts in 2022. 29 of those were town homes in the Country Club of Arkansas Area with 564 lots available in six new subdivisions under construction we expect housing construction to overcome 2022's supply chain issues construction costs and increase interest rates
We also set a record for excavation permits for utility service with 328 applications and 204 permits issued covering 31 miles of new and repaired utility lines across town. This impressive increase was driven primarily by Telecom Industries push to install new fiber around the country forcing communities like Maumelle to figure out how to manage them.
In response to the impact that we were having to our that this was having to our community using GIS in our new modernized permitting systems we developed a process to track and manage excavations around the city improving cross-communications between utilities and locators as well as inside the city in an effort to reduce damages and disruption services to residents although I'm sure we've all heard of damages that have occurred I'm convinced that the system that Scott Grummer and his team put into place limited that substantially in fact the folks at 811 one call were so impressed with the processes they put in place they invited Scott Grummer to their annual convention last year to teach others about what the city of Maumelle is doing.
The court enforcement division issued over 750 notices of violation last year the most common violation with 156 citations was grass and weeds taller than 10 inches the second most common was illegal parking of RVs boats and other recreational items at 103 violation one thing is clear is that Maumelle and Maumellians love our toys.
The department of Senior Services which operates out of the center on the lake and is led by Nicole Vogler sold 1,546 memberships and logged 71,775 visits last year. They provided 5,726 rides and get this logged 12,597 volunteer hours in 2022 the transport team the transportation team enhanced service options by updating and adding transportation services around town for daily and weekday services within the city of Maumelle public meetings were held along with a public comment period to incorporate our members's wishes and needs in transportation services a new option to request rides was added to the online portal members and their families now have a way that they can request rides online keep track of requests and view drivers scheduled for their rides staff continue to also book rides in person and over the phone but the option to request via the online portal saves time and assists members too. To reduce Printing and paper use and to increase efficiency tablets were purchased for the drivers to check out for their right assignments the tablets give the drivers real-time information in case of last minute ride changes and gives the driver more information including maps and routing for their rides.
Parks and Recreation led by Philip Raborn had another productive year it continues to operate and maintain the community center Aquatic Center Lake Willastein Lake Valencia the Rolling Oaks soccer fields and football field the Diamond
Center baseball and softball fields park on the river and multiple Parks throughout the city
they host special events ranging from the Christmas parade to Dragon Boat races and just about everything in between at Lake Willastein new railings were installed on the fishing pier last year and Lake Valencia fishing pier was also repaired in an exciting partnership with the baseball association an indoor batting facility consisting of three tunnels were installed and we recently held a ribbon cutting at that facility so thank you to the Maumelle Sports Association with new projects such as the construction of pickleball courts the all-inclusive playground Gateway Park the parks department is slated to have another very busy year.
Which brings us to the public works department led by Mike Hogan Public Works provides a majority of services related to roads sidewalks sanitation recycling domesticated animals building public Building Maintenance groundskeeping and street lights along White Oak Crossing. They also maintain the city's multi-million dollar Fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment the sanitation division of Public Works ordered a new automated truck in 2021 and is finally ready to be put in service I say that and I got a call from Mike Hogan this morning saying that the new arm is broken and parts will be on order for several months overall Millions do a great job with recycling particularly when it comes to recycling only the appropriate items maumelle's recycling contamination rate is almost non-existent in comparison to our surrounding communities tonnage for single stream recycling last year totaled 513 tons at the transfer station our staff bailed and sold 32 bales of cardboard two tons of mixed Plastics 1.9 tons of steel cans and 10.3 tons of mixed paper the sanitation crew collected and disposed of approximately 5,678 tons of solid curbside waste and 535 tons of transfer station Solid Waste which goes to City Landfills curbside yard waste totaled 5,124 cubic yards 1600 cubic yards of transfer station yard waste were transported to Cone composting facilities this year we will be conducting a study to examine the sanitation fee we have heart we have worked hard to keep sanitation costs low but rates have not been increased over in over a decade and our costs continue to rise. A rate increase will likely be proposed to the city council to take effect for 2024 but we will see what the study says.
Our street division crew operates with five members and maintains hundreds of miles of streets and 31 miles of walk Pathways as well as drainage issues that affect those for 2022 Culvert rehab and lining system has been installed in the Waterside Cove. Last year was the first year that we began to implement the pavement preservation program designed to improve the condition of streets in Maumelle over the long term we began using Cape ceiling for the first time ever used strategically this preservation method will improve the quality of Roads some long overdue news is that the designs for the White Oak Crossing roundabout are completed and we expect this project to go out for bid in the next week or two this roundabout will connect White Oak Crossing and counts Massey to Country Club Parkway allowing Maumelle residents better access to and from the new White Oak Crossing interchange.
2022 was a good year for Chris Davis and his team at Maumelle animal services this team will grow by one person this year as the council has added an additional Animal control officer. In 2022 846 animals came to the shelter, 188 of those were fostered, 110 were reclaimed by their owners, 116 were transferred out to a rescue, 379 were adopted, 14 were Dead on Arrival, three died in the shelter, 23 were euthanized and four were returned to the field.
In 2022 22 animal bites were reported 15 dogs, one bat, one raccoon and five cats of the 15 dogs two were out of Maumelle's jurisdiction breeds that are known to have Bitten are one pit bull one husky two Shepherds and two Terriers and several were of breeds not identified Animal Services last year started a partnership with Gibson Cat Cafe out of Conway through this partnership nearly 200 cats have been adopted this has helped not only model animal services but also other shelters and rescues in central Arkansas.
In closing 2022 was another productive year with multiple projects getting started I'm excited for this upcoming year as we will finally begin to see the progress and the completion of numerous multi-year projects knowing this Maumelle charges into 2023 stronger than ever. United in purpose and optimistic that Maumelle's future is bright.
So thank you for your time and God bless.