Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was short one Mayor, as Mayor Norris had commitments elsewhere. Council person Mazzoni
volunteered to run the meeting. We were also one member short, so any votes automatically had only one No vote from absentees,
since member Mazzoni was also allowed to vote.
Finance Director Beatrix Sousa gave the financial report for August 2023. According to her “we are doing very well” in relation to the
budget and revenues received. Most expenses, including capital expenditures, are below budget. Right now the General Fund is $10.5M over
the minimum requirement. She is in the very early stages of developing the 2024 budget with the Open.Gov software.
Member Mosley discussed talking with the auditors today, who had submitted another round of questions to the City.
Ordinance 1096 amending Annual Business Registration Fees had its second reading.
I invited City Clerk Timmons to offer her thoughts since this will directly affect her department.
She spoke about how out of date the current schedule was, and how changes need to be made. She also suggested that we increase
some business by more, but reduce the proposed increase for home base bsuinesses.
I pointed out that, as a home based business, that I did not feel I could advocate a break in fees for myself, and asked if
anyone else might want to make that proposal. No one did.
I shared my thoughts.
I pointed out that arguments against my proposal to target half the monies collected to go to the police and fire funds, preferring it
to instead go to the General Fund and let the Council later how it will be spent was an argument of semantics, since half the General Fund
already goes to police and fire. Right now only 122 home businesses are reported in Maumelle, and to counter a concern that an increase
might turn them into skofflaws who refused to pay was in particular addressed by stating up front how half the fees go to Police and Fire.
People woule be more inclined to pay their fair share when they realized what services they were paying for.
I also pointed out how I had asked the City Clerk's office to provide a list of all the fees being paid by Maumelle residents for differeint
City services. My point here was how I felt it was not right that it costs more to own a cat in Maumelle, than it does to operate a business.
Council member Mosley invited Chamber of Commerce Kellie Walls to give her perspective.
She agreed that we are very behind, having not increased it since the 1980s, but wished that the increase was not as big.
Member Mosley advocating keeping fees cheap, and wished we would keep home based-fees to the are of $30 or 35.
He then added that even then he would not vote for an increase.
Something I thought about mentioning at the time, but did not, was how member Mosley had previously found it outrageous when the City was not
collecting monies from a business leasing the Park on the River. To me, giving City Services away to all businesses is no different.
Member Shinn said we need to consider that a home-based business was 20 years ago is not the same thing today.” Since Covid the whole
thing has changed.” There are houses shipping all over the country and that he feels the fees need to be increased.
Member Gardner said he is also a home based business, so the council represents 3% of the registered businesses. He does not support an increase.
He wants to do “something over time.” He’s “not comfortable with this as it is.” He wanted to explore other ways to do it.
Council member Mosley did not feel any comparison can be made with Conway, when it was suggested we should not charge anything for business
owners like they do. He also asked what constitutes a home based business.
City Clerk Timmons said most people apply for a license in order to be recognized by the State.
There was discussion that the increase won’t generate that much in revenues (which is it? too much or too little?)
and a recommendation was made to offer licenses for free. I pointed out that a member of the Fire Department has been having meetings
with myself and other members of the Council, and how we would all soon be sitting in budget meetins,
lamenting how we do not have enough money to pay our Police and Fire a competitive wage,
while at the same time we are literally giving City Services away to businesses.
Council member Holt believes that home businesses are barely surviving, and felt any increase would be a burden.
City Clerk Timmons encouraged increasing the fees on “big boxes,” and did not feel that these increases would “break the bank.” She gave
examples of “focus” about how North Little Rock charges their fees. She felt “we are behind the times” and this would help pay for streets and
the police and fire. “We are not even breaking even at this point.” She offered to create her own suggestions of a fee schedule,
"If the Council would be willing to look at it."
I drew attention to her point about how the current fees do not even cover the expenses of collecting them, and repeated her quote.
I felt the Council needed to not overlook this fact.
I also welcomed her offer to provide her suggestions.
Council member Williams agreed with Kellie Walls and member Holt that she felt the increase was excessive. She suggested tabling the Ordinance.
“We are at a point where we cannot charge people anything.” Since we have not raised these
since the 1980s, it was time to do something, but she did not favor an increase.
Member Gardner seconded her motion to table the Ordinance. He felt "certain things should not be revenue generators."
Member Mosley commented that a rewrite was something that needs to be done, and that I had done things the right way by bringing it to the
Council’s attention, and even if we did table it for discussions later, he would still vote against any increase.
The motion to table passed by a vote of 6 to 2. I was the lone No vote. This means nothing will happen to fees in 2024.
For perspective, the main emphasis was that members felt the increase was two high. I've made mutliple proposals in recent years for increases
that were only half this time's ammounts--and they also failed. So it seems any increase is considered too much. The result is that the City Clerk's
office will continue operating at a loss to collect out-of-date fees established in the 1980s..
Ordinance 1097 amending the Notification Procedure had its second reading.
Member Mosley discussed some of the details and advocated passing the Ordinance.
Member Mosley also discussed getting emails from people still upset in Ward 4 about fiber optic cable companies digging up front yards.
He advocated stopping all upgrades other than water, sewer, and gas. “It almost looks like WW1 with the trenches.”
Council member Holt talked about attending a meeting dealing with the upcoming Eclipse, and suggested that other members should be doing
volunteer work to help with the event.
Council member Shinn said the neighborhood in the question that member Mosley discussed was torn up by Entergy for a year, and then later the
gas company dug it up, and neither did repairs to the grounds they had disturbed. “It’s at lease three different contractors” and there are still leaks.
He said the current crews are doing a much better job that the previous outfits had. The neighborhood had “in upheave for a full 12 months.”
He advocating helping get that neighborhood back together.
Director of Planning and Permits offered to give a report on the situation at the next meeting. “The biggest problem we have is it’s hard to locate
the utilities in the ground.” Water lines are the biggest problem. The neighborhood in question is one of the harder to work because of the age of the community.
September 5, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was one member short, so all unanimous votes will count as 7 to 1,
since all absentees count as a No vote. Deputy City Clerk Tina Russell stood in for City Clerk Timmons, who was out sick.
Deborah Roush was introduced as the new Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office. She is a long term marketing director
and resident of Maumelle.
Nicole Vogler was supposed to have given a Senior Citizins report, but she too was out sick.
The Planning Commission report was to have been given by Council member Williams, but she was also absent with a family emergency.
The third reading of Ordinance 1093 changes the name of Commercial Park Drive to Maumelle Village Drive.
The Ordiance passed by a unanimous vote.
The third reading of Ordinance 1094 accepts and confirms the dedication of certain streets and drainage in the Development know as
Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing. The ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.
The third reading of Ordinance 1095 accepts and annexes the public roads in the right of way that abut certain annexed land formerly
known as the Ascent Property. City Attorney added that this Ordinance was given a Do Pass recommendation.
Council member Mosley had some questions for Director of Permits and Planning Scott Grummer, who confirmed that the city would be taking
responsibility for the whole road in front of the property. This is a vacant parcel land with no improvements, so no City Services will
be provided to the property.
Member Mosley said he had talked to a member of the Quorum Court, who said we would “be on the hook” for improvements should the Country do any,
but County Judge Barry Hyde does not seem inclined to do any improvements.
City Attorney Thornton and Mayor Norris said that this observation was in error, and that the County cannot compel the City to make improvements.
Mayor Norris pointed out that the accepting the road is part of the annexation, and the residents wanted to enter the City limits in order to
stop hunting on that property, discharging firearms so close to homes. Another concern was logging being done in the area, and putting it into
the City would restrict timber development.
Director Grummer commented that the majority of the property is flood way/plain that cannot be developed in the future.
Member Mosley asked if Director Grummer had any idea what might be developed on the side of Short Marche that neighbors the new third entrance.
He was not aware of any plans.
Council Member Holt also had questions for Director Grummer, who confirmed that the property would still be owned by the same land owner,
who would be restricted by City Ordinances. It was confirmed that the property owner voluntarily requested to be annexed by the City.
Some of their neighbors were opposed.
Mayor Norris gave a rundown about the different types of annexation that can be done.
Member Shinn asked how much road frontage was involved. Director Grummer replied “around 200 feet.”
The Ordinance passed by a vote of 6 to 1.
A Letter from FORVIS dated July Council Packet was discussed by Council member Mosley. He felt they were “doing a good job.”
He pointed out how they mentioned that they welcomed “any input” from members of the City Council. He felt they encouraged participation in the audit.
They are an international company that member Mosley described as “top tier.” He felt they were encouraging input from outside sources.
Mayor Norris talked about how they typically request input from City staff, and how he had encouraged them to reach out to member Norris.
The first reading Ordinance 1096 amends business registration and Solicitor fees. This is an Ordinance I proposed, with half of the monies
collected for these service fees intended to help fund the Police and Fire Departments.
I was on the committee that revamped the Little Rock business license fee, which has helped them stay ahead of us in wages.
This is not a tax, it’s a fee, a cost of doing business, and this ordinance helps reimburse the Police and Fire department for the services
they provide. We are currently the lowest in the state for business license fees, excepting for cities like Conway who
only charge ice cream vendor licenses and cover their expenses with an A.P. Tax. This type of tax is something we should try to avoid by
updating our Business License fee and Solicitor fee schedule.
We’ve updated Planning and Permits, and the Animal Shelter fee schedules. It’s time to do the same with the Business License and
Solicitor Fee schedule—a schedule that has not been updated since the 1980s.
Council member Mosley asked how much in revenues it would raise, but City Clerk Timmons was absent.
Council member Gardner said he did not like tying the revenue to funding the Police and Fire departments. He would rather the monies stay in
the General Fund and have the Council decide where the monies would go later. He is “not a fan” of assigning the monies to the Police and Fire.
Council member Holt mentioned about how the Fire Department is currently having discussions with Council members to increase wages,
but would be a no vote because he felt it would be a burden on businesses.
Council member Mazzoni said that well over half our expenditures were already for Police and Fire,
so he felt that helping the general fund was his preference.
Council member Mosley said we should be proud to have the lowest business fees and felt $100 was “fairly stiff” a charge for home based business.
He also asked what the Chamber of Commerce had for a take on this. He supported putting the monies into the general fund, and wanted to know how
much monies would be raised.
Mayor Norris said he also felt $100 for a home based is high.
I explained how I had gone from spending $1000 a year between Little Rock and North Little Rock to only $25 in Maumelle.
I do not consider $100 to be a potential burden.
Council member Gronwald liked the idea of upgrading, but also wanted to know what the number of home based businesses are in Maumelle.
Mayor Norris said that fees are shown in the department that collects them.
Council member Gardner asked the Mayor if we could get a list of business fees paid by category, and how many are in each category.
He felt that many people do not register as a home based business, and doubted that they were aware that they even need to get one.
He felt they would resist paying $100.
Council member Mosley said he “has a feeling a lot of people should be paying a fee as a home based business” who and are not currently paying,
and that if it went to $100 we might actually loss numbers.
City Attorney Thornton pointed out that including the Solicitor fees was suggested by City Clerk Timmons,
and not by him as was suggested during the conversations.
The first reading of Ordinance 1097 amends the notification procedure for Planning and Permit Applications. This was accidentally omitted
from the packet and sent to Council members at a later time. Director Grummer said the big change is on PRD which added a community meeting.
City Attorney Thornton talked about how a lot of these changes resulted from property owner suggestions in response to the Activity Center
being built on the Maumelle Country Club. This Ordinance would also give the director the authority to expand the area of notification in
cases like the Activity Center where the statutes did not extend far enough to give proper notification.
Member Gardner asked about notification timelines.
Member Mosley talked about how the responsibility for putting out signs now shifts to the applicant. He mentioned how he was a co-sponsor
of this Ordinance, and felt this would leave the City as “a little bit better place.”
Attorney Thornton mentioned how if this had been in place when the Activity Center was been discussed, it would have required a Community meeting.
Resolution 2023-27 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget related to the retirement and sale of “Fox,” a Police canine. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-28 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget related to fees to be paid to outside counsel for professional legal services.
City Attorney Thornton discussed how this is something that is difficult to predict during budget discussions.
Member Mosley confirmed that one of the recent legal expenses was over and no current appeals have been filed in a termination that was
upheld by the court. The Resolution passed unanimously.
An election of a President pro tempore for September 18th Council Meeting was held. Mayor Norris will be out of the office during the next meeting,
and a substitute is needed to run the meeting during his absence.
Council member Mosley is the most senior member, but he had other commitments.
Council member Holt nominated member Gardner. Council member Mosley nominated member Mazzoni.
Member Gardener withdrew, and member Mazzoni was elected.
Mayor Norris had “good news” about how Maumelle is receiving a $1.1 Million grant for Club Manor renovations.
Member Holt talked about a woman who had her purse stolen from the parking lot of the Community Center.
He was absent when this matter was discussed during a previous meeting.
Member Mosley talked about a discussion he had with the auditor earlier in the day. It was his understanding that some of the numbers
don’t balance, but the auditor was currently “snowed” and had not had time to look at the matter.
Mayor Norris said that this situation was typical, and there is often a back and forth with the numbers.
Member Mosley inquired about who the contractor is for the Roundabout.
Mayor Norris replied Redstone. He also added that the estimated time to completion would be around 270 and 280 days.
Redstone had previously renovated the City Hall parking lot.
Member Norris also asked if the contractor working on Crystal Hill might give the Council an update on the completion of Crystal Hill.
Mayor Norris said work is ongoing and work has increased with “renewed zeal” thanks to the appointment of Deborah Roush as the new Chief of Staff.
August 7, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was one member short, so all unanimous votes will be recorded as 7 to 1,
since all absentees count as a No vote.
Ms. Janet Watkins addressed the Council about Crystal Hill Road. She said that residents are now enjoying blacktop but there are
a lot of things not yet completed, her biggest concern of which are the street lights which Entergy has never completely finished moving.
It wasn’t mentioned, but a lawsuit between the City and Entergy is still ongoing. She was also concerned about the grass, and while the
City has started mowing, there are areas still not cut. She feels her home “looks like it’s been abandoned.” Her mailbox has been propped
up with metal poles for three years, and the construction crews keep telling her that they will fix it, but it has never happened. She is
“absolutely sick” about how the bike path is currently placed. She is also concerned about how semi trucks drive down the road at excessive speeds,
and the potential for a person to be injured in the bike path. “I just want street lights so it will be safe and I can find my driveway at night.”
Mayor Norris that everything Ms. Watkins mentioned is still on the punch list of things that need to be done before the project is completed.
He said it will be done “As soon as I can get it done.” Asphalt trails will also be added to the north and south parts of the road to connect
with the existing trail system. The City Council previously approved widening those paths.
Council Member Mosley talked about dump trucks use Counts Massie on a regular basis as part of “an approved path.”
Mayor Norris said there is no truck route in that area. The City has no guidelines for avenues for trucks to take. It sounds like they’re mostly
headed to Counts Massie.
Director of Finance Ms. Beatrix Sousa gave the Financial Report for July. The format presented is a new one that she hopes will be the format
going forward. Right now the City’s actual revenues are $12K over the revised estimated budget, which means the City has more incoming revenues
than expenses and is doing well since we are operating within the approved budget. The General Fund has a surplus of $6.2M. Year to date the City
has a $300K profit. The Sanitation Fund is not quite where we want it, but while not bad, it will bear watching.
The new Payroll software is live. Financials are also now being processed through OpenGov software, and many functions are now automated.
Out Bookkeeper/Accounts Payable person resigned effective Friday, August 25th to accept an opportunity elsewhere, but a replacement has already
been selected. This is a key position because they have contact with all departments.
Ms Sousa mentioned that the 2021 audit is currently being reviewed and progress is in motion.
Member Mazzoni talked about how he likes the new system. He asked to have some revenues separated out for review.
Member Mosley wanted to talk about the 2022 audit, and asked if it was ready to start, of if we had to wait until 2021 is complete. Ms. Sousa said 2021
is close and that she is not ready to submit 2022 until 2021 is completed.
The Second Reading of Ordinance 1091 Concerning the requirements to award a contract for banking services with the City was previously tabled.
An extension was requested to the second meeting in October.
Member Mosley suggested tabling the motion indefinitely. Mayor Norris said it was easier to set a date. City Attorney Thornton did not have a preference.
The motion to table passed unanimously.
The Third Reading of Ordinance 1092 authorizes the Mayor to create the Little Rock Air Force Base Regional Planning Committee.
The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Mayor Norris said that the City Council now needs to appoint a representative using the same procedures used for the Public Service Commission.
Applications are now open. Member Mosley suggested sending out emails to go out in addition to listing the opening on the City website. City Clerk Timons said she would be happy to do that.
The Second Reading of Ordinance 1093 to change the name of Commercial Park Drive to Maumelle Village Drive generated no discussion.
The Second Reading of Ordinance 1094 amendis ordinance 979, accepting and confirming the dedication of certain streets and drainage in the
Development know as Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing.
Member Mosley expressed his concerns again about his concerns over accepting a road that was not up to City standards. He suggested finding a
way to charge residents on the road for any upgrades.
Mayor Norris said by City Ordinance that the only requirement in City Code was to keep them at the level of condition when accepted, but was not
required to upgrade. However, if a developer decides to build in that area an Ordinance is on the books that requires them to upgrade the road to City Code.
Member Mosley said this addressed his concerns. His concerns were to avoid another situation like what happened on Crystal Hill.
City Attorney Thornton said that Country Judge has made it a requirement that the City also annex the road. If it is not,
then the previously annexation could be undone.
Member Mosley said he had talked with the auditors conducting the 2021 review, and they had said they were fine with Council members asking them questions.
There was some question about if they were required to attend this meeting. Mayor Norris said he told them they did not have to attend, but not that they
should not attend. He found it highly unusual that a single member of the Council would have such unfettered access to the auditors. Mayor Norris said
that member Norris was given access, but does not represent the City. If the Council wishes them to give an update, a council member could request it,
and then the motion would be voted on by the Council.
Member Norris said he had not claimed to represent the City, but that the auditors are willing to talk to anyone. He asked Mayor Norris to clarify again
about the auditors not being requested to attend tonight, as member Mosley had requested.
Mayor Norris repeated that the Council as a whole could request a status report, but such a thing has
never been requested by this body before.
Member Mosley questioned if Mayor Norris might be “covering something up.” Mayor Norris said that he told the auditors that they were not required to come.
Member Mosley said he did not feel they would agree on this matter. He asked why the audit was still “hung up.”
Mayor Norris said the next big block of information will be submitted soon. At one point he thought that everything had been submitted previously.
Former Director Ms. Mathis is still working for the City part time, and has run into unexpected delays. If it is not completed soon, he may need to
ask the Council for additional funds. A determination will be made later about that, depending on what work remains to be done.
Member Mosley said things “have been off since about 2015” in dealing with audits, and that the Council needed to be more involved in the process.
He said he would not make a motion to have the auditors come in to give the Council a report until the next meeting.
Member Gardner expressed his thoughts that the Council needed “to let them do their job” and for the auditors to finish their work and then make a presentation.
Member Gronwald agreed with Member Gardner, and she felt it was important for the auditors to have only one point of contact. She agreed that the
Council needed to be involved and aware, but did not feel that was a point of concern at this time. She felt to do otherwise would “bog them down”
on finishing the work. She expressed her confidence in the work being done by the Mayor and City Staff.
Member Mosley said he felt the audit had been on “high center” since February, and that “somebody needs to ride herd on this project.”
He added that he as become impatient with the accounting department.
Mayor Norris invited everyone to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new roundabout at 8901 White Oak Crossing on Thursday, August 31.
The Contractor should start working on the roundabout on September 5, the day after Labor Day.
Because of Labor Day, the next Council meeting will be on Tuesday the 5th.
Member Gronwald expressed her excitement for this groundbreaking. She also asked about a lights being installed at Autobahn and Maumelle Blvd.
Mayor Norris replied that the State felt that the last study was too old, so new studies are being conducted now. There are strips currently
in place to measure traffic, and once the study is completed it will be submitted to the State.
City Attorney Thornton said the imminent domain proceedings on a strip of land involved in the White Oaks roundabout are still proceeding.
There were delays because the property owner still needed to have their own value assessment done.
August 7, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was fully attended.
The Planning Commission report was given by Council Person Holt. One matter was tabled. Another that was tabled
was discussed by City Attorney, dealing with a revised notification process that should come before the Council at a later date.
Other matters dealt with zoning issues that were approved by the Commission.
The second reading of Ordinance 1092 that authorizes the Mayor to Enter into An Interlocal Agreement to create the
Little Rock Air Force Base Regional Planning Committee. Coucil Member Mosley asked if the Coucil would be appointing the City’s
representative. City Attorney confirmed this would be the same process as appointing someone to the Civil Service Commission.
Mayor Norris added that in this situation, City employees would also be eligible to serve
The. first reading of Ordinance 1093 proposed changing the name of Commercial Park Drive to Maumelle Village Drive.
This area has been rezoned and is no longer going to be a Commercial Park, so the old name no longer fits.
The first reading of Ordinance 1094 accepts the dedication of certain streets and drainage in the Development known as
Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing, formerly known as IM Development. Mayor Norris explained how this is more of a housekeeping
move to clear up matters that were previously overlooked.
The first reading of Ordinance 1095 accepts and annexes public roads in the right of way that abut certain annexed land commonly
known as Ascent Development Property. This is another housekeeping matter to resolve detailes that should have been handled previously.
The City previously annexed the land, but failed to declare that the City has accepted responsibility for the roads. The County
requires that the City accept the whole 220 foot length of street that abuts the property.
Council Member Mosley was concerned about how the road is not currently up to Maumelle’s standards. He felt that the upgrades to bring
it up to Code should be paid for by the developer. Mayor Norris was not aware of a developer currently involved with the land.
Notifications to the residents was done during the initial annexation.
Resolution 2023-26 approves a Preliminary Development Plan of tract 5A and 5B in Country Club of Arkansas Phase 18.
This is for the AchorFamily Pharmacy’s second location in Maumelle, and the first will remain in place.
Doctor Arnold Achor addressed the Council and reiterated that the first location would remain intact. The reason for the second
location is because he felt there is a need for a second location in an area that was convenient for customers with accessibility issues.
Member Mosley expressed that he was “pleased” to see the development in the area.
Member Williams made a motion to adopt the Resolution, which passed unanimously.
Crystal Hill Road was discussed by Member Mosley, who wanted to know what the “plan of action” is by Boyles Construction.
He had noticed that City started mowing areas that Boyles was responsible for. Mayor Norris confirmed that this was done
by the City because the mowing was not getting done, and he did not feel the situation was fair to residents. The City has taken over
the mowing. The project is not complete, with preliminary markings put in place that was supposed to have been painted today,
but rain delayed this.
Mayor Norris said that walking paths have been delayed over issues due to the increased cost of asphalt. The City has approved
some previous price increases due to matters beyond Boyles' control, but the most recent request has not. Further meetings are
planned to discuss this. The City is starting to take on other “things” because Boyles have not been as responsive as was expected.
Member Mosley asked about “cutting them loose” and hiring another firm to finish the project. Mayor Norris said the city is considering this,
but one of the problems is that prices have increased dramatically since the initial contract was made in 2019. The Pandemic has drastically
impacted this project, leading to many of the delays that have been experienced. Mayor Norris also discussed “the major pitfall” that the
project encountered due to the dispute with Entergy’s reluctance to move the power poles. There are continuing issues over Entergy not moving
the power connections when a couple of the poles were moved. We do not have full street lights at this time, but will at the conclusion of the
construction process. Entergy is “on their own timeline” and will do the work when and “as they see fit.”
There are also issues with North Little Rock having put up a Stop Sign in a very “untraditional way,” which was “not handled in a normal way.”
The sign they erected in Maumelle was not discussed previously, and no notice was given before it was done. NLR Mayor Hartwick had thought
the land was in North Little Rock, but it is not.
Mayor Norris mentioned that the All Inclusive Playground groundbreaking ceremony by the library and Splash Pad will happen Wednesday at 10.
Last week Mayor Norris graduated a CDi training program for Community developement. City Clerk Tina Timmons graduated a couple of
years previously. This is a program that takes a full week to attend during each of several phases of training.
I asked Police Chief Pickard about the recent breakins two Saturdays in a row at the Community Center. I had heard from many of my customers
who told of this same activity happening all around Pulaski County. Everyone thinks that this recent epidemic is specific to their area,
but it is not. Chief Pickard confirmed that this is a central Arkansas problem of gangs of thieves moving from community to community.
He has increased the presence of uniformed officers in the area as a deterant. He also urged residents to avoid becoming a victim by
not leaving valuables inside their cars in visible places.
Member Mosley asked if the Maumelle Police might deploy an undercover officer, but Chief Pickard insisted that he would rather act to
deter rather than catch them in the act. He also said that he would like to put in a citywide security surveillance system and has already
submitted requests for quotes and applied for grants to do this.
Mayor Norris said that the City has also been investigating this, and currently estimates the cost to be around $20,000.
Member Mosley then discussed the 2021 audit, and said he had discussed the matter with the auditor, and that as 5 o’clock today they had
not yet received everything they needed. Mayor Norris said that the previous statement that everything had been submitted should be adjusted
to “everything they requested has been submitted.” So they have not yet received everything, and Mayor Norris has had continuing meetings on
this matter and how to designate what years that certain grants should be posted to. He was hopeful that these designations and financials will
be submitted by tonight and then the statically sections that pull from that information will hopefully be completed by tomorrow.
The auditor does not audit these sections, but they do review them to make certain that they match with other City records.
Mayor Norris spoke with the auditors today, and how the owners of the software being used has changed many times, and yet another change occurred today.
The auditors will be conducting their work in City Hall starting on August 21st. Member Mosley asked to be able to participate.
Mayor Norris said they normally conduct their work in private, without even a member of the Finance Department in the room, but he would ask.
There was also a discussion about who was doing what work during the transition to a new Payroll software system.
There have been “standard tech rollout issues.” Maumelle does not employ an IT person, but employs a company that deals with technical issues.
Member Mosley felt it to be an Internal Control violation to have the former Finance Director working on the Payroll software change.
Mayor Norris strongly disagreed with that statement, and said there are no violations, and how department heads in the gallery were shaking their heads.
He asked anyone who knew different to come forward.
Member Mosley said that he did not realize that former Director Liz Mathis was still a part time employee of the City.
Mayor Norris said that the intent is that Ms. Mathis’ employment will conclude with the conclusion of the audit, but added that it was
Ms. Mathis who designed the budget program that will start work before long, so he did not want to rule out any future employment “if we need it.”
He felt that she had done “a fantastic job.” He is confident in the abilities of new director Sousa, but didn’t not want to rule any surprise needs.
Member Mosley thanked the Mayor for his patience.
Mayor Norris asserted that the issue concerning member Mosley was mostly “just a mixup.”
Member Mosley then discussed the recent death of State Treasurer Mark Lowery, and how his ability to run “as an outsider” inspired member Mosley
to run for office himself. He suggested that the City consider “naming a street or something” after him.
City Clerk Timmons said that the Civil Service meeting is August 14th.
July 17, 2023 Update
Tonight’s Meeting of the Maumelle City Council was fully attended by all Council Persons.
Finance Director Beatrice Sousa gave the Financial Statement Review. We are running a bit behind budget,
but this is due to the timing of payments as revenues are up. Short staffing issues in the Police and Fire Departments
has those expenses below budget. Our General Fund balance over the minimum required amount is nearly $10 Million above.
The Financial Department has completed the integration of all OpenGov financial modules into the General Ledger.
All Financial data is now being captured from source documents without further manual entry.
Council Member Mosley asked how much cash the City has on deposit. Ms. Sousa said we have around 20 Million in different accounts.
Mayor Norris confirmed that everything for the 2021 audit is now in the hands of the auditors, as of tonight.
Member Mosley also discussed getting the 2022 report done, and how an accounting firm working on verifying 2021
has expressed an interest in doing 2022. There are also new online accounting software packages that can streamline
the reporting process in future years.
There was a discussion about a former Oversight committee that had been formed during the tenure of the previous Mayor,
assigned with investigating a letter of complaint by a previous Finance Director who complained about questionable business
practices in the Financial Department at that time. The charter under which that committee was called has since been
concluded as the issues were rectified.
What we are getting now are numbers coming directly from the financial software, with no human compiling being done.
Mayor Norris said we are in good financial state and approaching transparency to where individuals will be able to monitor
the City’s finances from their own home computers.
There was some discussion about having a roundable sitdown with the Financial Department, but the general consensus was that
any oversight should wait until the department is caught up, so as not so slow down their efforts to get caught up with annual audits.
Mayor Norris felt we are catching up on the reporting, and “the mess that has been here before” is being resolved and
our audit reports are less late that they have been in many years.
The Third Reading of Ordinance 1090 Accepted the Dedication of streets and drainage in the
development known as Maumelle Town Center, including Towne Centre Drive. The point of this is to allow the City to begin taking
over the maintenance and eliminating that area’s chronic pothole problems. The Ordinance passed unanimously.
The Second Reading of Ordinance 1091 concerned the ordinance regarding the requirement to award a contract for banking services
with the City. It was discussed that the City might want to amend the language to allow the City to deal with more than one bank.
In consideration of the need to draft new language to allow this, a motion was made to delay the second reading until the second
reading in August. Having multiple banking souces is a good business practice, so the tabling motion passed unanimously.
The First Reading of Ordinance 1092 authorized the Mayor to enter into An Interlocal Agreement with the the Little Rock Air Force
Base Regional Planning Committee
A representative lawyer discussed a conditional use study done by the Arkansas Military Department with a focus on developing land
uses that are consistent with the mission of the Little Rock Air Force base. Each participating jurisdiction can appoint a member
to the committee tasked with overseeing this development.
Maumelle has only a small part of the northern-most part of the City within this extra-jurisdictional area. This is the area that
would have issues with any antenna towers being erected in flight paths.
Member Norris asked what other concerns the Air Base might have. The answer was bright lights, things that are reflective and/or
might attract animals, and multi-floor buildings. They would prefer not a lot of people living at the end of a runway, should
a disaster occur. They don’t want the air base to be developed out of functionality.
City Attorney Thornton asked about the approval process of developments made in the areas of this jurisdiction, and who would be
drafting recommendations for each participating jurisdiction. The goal was for a uniform code.
The City Attorney also asked about how matters would be handled should Maumelle annex areas to the North into the City.
Member Norris discussed how this would hypothetically keep high-density housing from being developed in those areas.
Resolution 2023-24 amends the 2023 Budgets to utilize CIP escrowed funds for the purchase of police cars and equipment.
This deals with preparing for the eclipse in 2024. Maumelle is expected to be in totality, so an influx is expected and hotels
are already all booked. It is possible that I-40 could become gridlocked during the event.
There are certain things we need to do first order to be prepared in advance.
Mayor Norris said that the City was looking at items that afterwards could continue to help the City in the future.
Member Shinn asked about extra containers being purchased to move trash, and electric bikes. Some of the bikes are intended for the
incoming Greenbelt bike paths, as well as providing bikes for the police to use. Tent parks and RV parks are planened to be setup,
and both the police and fire departments need the ability to access these areas. With gridlock anticipated, e-bikes will enable
the first responders to have greater access.
In total $130,000 was requested, and included an ATV for the police department. While these purchases are being made for a one-time event,
everything on the list is materials and equipment that will be used again, including providing safety for the Greenbelt pathways that
will be built soon.
Chief Pickard wants to reestablish a bike patrol in Maumelle, which the purchase of the e-bikes would allow to happen.
The bikes would decrease response times and enable the police to be seen in areas prone to break-ins. There have been more and more
requests for increased accessibility and visibility of officers patrolling our City’s biking/walking trails. An assault did occur
recently on one of the trails, and it is hoped that increased officer visibility will prevent this from happening again.
Mayor Norris did not have any numbers to share, but expected the eclipse to be a boom for local commerce.
He anticipates considerable revenues to be generated.
Member Mazzoni talked about the chaos that an event like this can generate, and that this is a No Fail mission to provide our
responders to be able to deal with matters, and present our City in a good way. Like other Council members, he had sticker shock
at the expenses, but felt this was necessary.
My feelings were that we need to be properly prepared in advance.
Mayor Norris said that if we have sticker shock now, “Wait until we see the overtime,” for the event.
Member Holt talked about how residents might not even be able to move around their own neighborhoods.
Chief Pickard said “We are planning for the worst case scenario, and hoping for the best.”
Options are being considered to deputize residents.
Mayor Norris said the City is trying to guide people to certain areas to keep them busy, and where organizers can generate income
while assisting in dealing with the influx of crowds.
This event will start on a Thursday and continue until the following Monday, and possibly longer. So this is a long-term event,
even though the actual event itself will only last a little longer than 3 minutes each time.
Fire Chief Buford said the population of the City is expected to triple, and that there will be times when fire department personnel
will be manning emergency centers. It is expected that ambulances and 9-1-1 may become overwhelmed if we are not prepared for
these medical aspects.
The resolution passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
A Parking and Traffic Committee Report approved stop signs near the Tractor Supply warehouse, and angled parking for the
first time in Maumelle.
Resolution 2023-25 was not announced previously. It expresses the willingness of the City to utilize Federal Aid Transportation Funds,
which would allow the City to apply for a grant to fund improvements to the Club Manor corridor. The maximum amount of the Grant is $3M.
The exact amount to be requested is still be determined.
A motion was made and passed to add this Resolution to tonight’s business.
The Grant would cover 80% of the planned improvements, with the City only having to pay the remaining 20%.
The Resolution was passed unanimously.
Member Mosley discussed the weeds growing around Crystal Hill, and how he was told that the contractor would have them cut soon,
but it was not done when he drove to tonight’s meeting. He also discussed the Letter of Credit the City is still paying to renew annually,
which was part of our ongoing dispute over Entergy paying to move the power poles on Crystal Hill.
July 3, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council had full attendance!
This has been a rare occurrence in recent years.
Jane Basque from Crystal Hill Road spoke to the Council about how high the grass has gotten in the construction areas.
The construction crews have, to her recollections, not mowed all year and this is creating blind spots at the corners.
She felt that, even though the construction company is responsible, it would be nice for the City to take over the responsibility.
She is also concerned about a lot of damages done by the construction company that have not yet been repaired.
Council member Mosley asked about where the bike path would be placed on Crystal Hill. They will be striped off on both sides of the road.
Ordianance 1090 had its second reading. Mayor Norris said estimates at this point are approximately $23,100,
and there may be other piping and such repairs that are not immediately obvious.
Council person Mosley stated that he had expected the estimate to be ten times higher.
He asked about the rationale to take this road and not others.
City Attorney Thornton explained that these roads were originally intended to be dedicated to the City, but this was never completed.
On roads like Savannah, the landowners property lines extend to the middle of the road. That is not the case in Towne Centre.
There were also previous Ordinances that stated that the intent was for the City to take the Towne Centre roads at a later time.
The Civil Service Commission Appointment was convened again, after it was determined during the last meeting that improper notice
had been given about the deadline to file. Council member Williams excused herself from the decision and vote.
The appplicants each interviewed with the Council:
Mark Nettles is a former fire fighter, sales and security consultant, and served with the Naval Reserve for 14 years.
Member Mosley asked if he might have any conflicts of interest.
Member Mazzoni asked what he felt the challenges would be that he would face.
I asked him to explain the what he envisions the job of the civil service to be.
John Jones has made applications to serve the City before. He worked for Verizon for 25 years, with degrees in mathematics.
He was asked the same set of questions.
Sam Williams is the former Chief of Police, who was previously confirmed for the job.
He was also asked essentially the same questions, in addition to Member Holt asking Mister Williams what it was that drove
him to be a member of the commission. His answer was that he had been blessed to have been mentored as a young officer,
and he loved the job. He feels the obligation to guide others as he was guided.
Sean Calaway has earned degrees in Criminology and Sociology, and worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Jonesboro.
He was asked the same set of questions.
Michael Irwin is a former member of the Air Force and C-130 pilot, with a Masters in Business Administration.
He was asked most of the same questions.
Sam Williams won with a majority. We thank all the other fine applicants for their interest in serving their community!
Any of them would have been a fine selection.
The first reading Ordinance 1091 concerned requirements for awarding a contract for banking services with the City. Previously the ordinance
required the City to only do business with Banks that have a minimum of three locations within the City. There are NO banks
that fit this criteria, so the Ordinance resets the requirement to a SINGLE location in the City Limits.
City Clerk Timmons gave a breakdown of the twenty-some different kinds of bank accounts for different services.
We have CDs and Bond Funds with several different banks.
A Traffic & Parking Committee Meeting was discussed for Wards 3 & 4
There is a stop sign at Champs and Jackie Burnett in Ward 4, and parking on Commerical Park that involves both Wards.
Mayor Norris recommended we meet Wednesday July 12th at 5 PM in the Council Chamber.
Mayor Norris asked Roy Andrews about the mowing on Crystal Hill.
The rest of the road as now been paved.
The IndpendenceDay parade starts 4:30, and the fireworks are scheduled to start at 9.30.
The City Hall redesign and remodel has been given awards for Interior Design and Budget Conscious Design.
The budget conscious part triggered a few laughs, and caused Mayor Norris to point out that he was very proud of that award.
Council Member Mosley discussed how nice a playground was in another City, and estimated that city’s cost to have been around $3M.
He also asked about an audit update.
Council member Williams talked about how both she and I had received a complaint about the Maumelle Country Club violating
the noise ordinance and how the police were called. Ms. Williams has spoken with the Club President who said he is aware of
the situation and taking steps.
Council member Shinn spoke about services to comfort dogs during the fireworks during the Independence Day Holiday.
City Clerk Timmons mentioned how there have been solicitors knocking illegally on people’s door.
The city does have a No Knock list that is given to anyone whose permission is denied.
Contact her if you would like to be on this list. She also recommendeds that if someone knock on your door who does not carry a permit,
you call the police. She will also be posting which companies are legally permitted to solicit within the city on the City's website.
June 22, 2023 Update
Today the sporting complex at White Oaks Crossing was dedicated to former Maumelle Mayor Burch Johnson.
Mayor Norris and City Council member Terry Williams both gave speeches to commemorate the event that honored
Maumelle's first mayor.
June 20, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was once again one member short, and another left sick during the proceedings.
All unanimous votes will count either as 7 to 1, or 6 to 2, since all absent votes count as a No.
Mark Nettles addressed the Council to discuss the civil service opening. He had wanted to apply, but was told first that the deadline
was a typo, and then later that it was not. He asked to be considered for the Civil Service Commission.
We had made this selection during the last meeting. Incorrect information had been circulated on the City website with an incorrect
deadline that was after this selection was made.
City Attorney Thornton discussed reopening the seat that former Chief Williams was voted into. One way would be fore him to resign,
or if someone who had voted for him in the past moved to reconsider the vote and was supported by a majority of the Council, should
we so choose. He added that the prior vote was legal. He empathized with Mister Nettles.
Council member Mosley advocated reopening the vote to do it again. Council member Holt made this proposal, which was seconded by
member Mosley. He felt Mister Nettles should be given a fair chance since him missing the deadline was no fault of his own.
There was a discussion about reopening the seat for everyone. Applications are due next Wednesday, and a new vote will be held during
the next Council meeting.
Former Director of Finance Liz Mathis addressed the council about the payroll transition and efforts to finish the 2021 audit.
She felt the preparation would be wrapped up by the end of this week and a review/report should be back from the auditors by the end of July.
She also feels very confident that 2022 will be in good shape when Ms. Sousa starts to work on it. She is very proud of the work done over
the last three years. She said she had thoroughly enjoyed working for the City, and it was a bittersweet decision to move on.
Council member Holt and Mayor Norris expressed their thanks for the work she has done.
Director of Finance Beatriz Sousa discussed the financial report for May 2023.
Current fund balance is $13.1Mil, with a $9.7Mil surplus over the minimum required fund balance, which is 20% of budgeted expenditures.
She announced that CD interest rates have been renegotiated with a new rate of 5.2% as opposed to the previous rates of less than 1%.
This netted the City an extra $100K in annual interest.
Ordianance 1090 had its first reading dealing with the dedication of private roadways in the Towne Center Drive area to City management.
These private streets have been a headache of potholes and poor maintenance for years—complicated by being in the middle of the commercial
corridor. These were originally intended to be dedicated to the City, but the process never happened. This Ordinance will bring them under
the City’s street maintenance and should eliminate this nagging nuisance.
I made a motion to wave the second and third readings so we can address this public safety matter immediately. It received a second.
Council member Mosley opposed this idea, saying he had questions still to ask.
Council member Mazzoni asked about the costs to bring the streets up to code.
Mike Hogan of Public Works said that he would also like to get a cost estimate before it is approved. He said the one pothole that is
a current problem could be fixed fairly cheaply.
Mayor Norris also spoke about how it is illegal to do the repairs before they are part of the City.
Council member Shinn withdrew his second of my motion.
Council member Mosley asked if this might open a can of worms of others wanting to do this.
City Attorney said No. He said that Director of Planning is currently trying to convince other business owners to dedicate public
roads to the City, but that is a long-term plan. This is a three-step process where the roads first need to be brought up to code,
then dedicated to the city, and then accepted by the Council through an Ordinance.
Mayor Norris said the City is working with property owners to make these improvements.
The remodeling of Crystal Hill was also a topic for public discussion.
This was a topic that member Mosley asked to put on the agenda, and suggested that we do public comments first.
Walter Pace spoke first, questioning why Counts Massie Road was repaired and Crystal Hill had taken so long to be addressed.
He had also heard a rumor that the money for repairs had run out. Pavement has yet to be laid, and when trucks come through it looks
“Like a Dallas dust storm” and he felt he needed to take a bath. He had other questions about the road’s design, and why certain areas
have yet to be paved. He feels the road needs stabilization, and wanted to know who to call about the pot holes.
Mayor Norris said that a project engineers was present who could answer some of his questions at the end of the session.
Kevin McWilliams spoke about the length of time this has taken, and how he has tried to be patient but work seems to have stopped.
He said the dust was affecting their health and ability to go outside. He questioned why the designs had changed from the original
plan (answer: inflation during the time that passed before the project started).
Janet Watkins spoke about how she has lived there for 50 years and has reached a point where her patience is gone, and wants this road
done and fixed. She recapped the history of what had occurred of the length of time that passed from when the bond was issued, and how
the work didn’t start until three years ago. She brought in chunks of road from where the new pavement is “alligatoring.” She said she
came to hold the Mayor responsible for tax money being wasted and that they still don’t have a road.
She counted 10 semi-trucks going down the road today.
William Paul Wilson asked again about why the road plans had been changed, and was concerned about semi-trucks passing each other
going in opposite directions, and did not feel there was room should someone have a flat tire. He wanted to know when the road will
be completed, and mentioned problems with the dust. It is a rough ride in front of his house, that is still a gravel road. He feels
Maumelle is a jewel, except for this little stretch of road that needs attention.
Karen Gray spoke about being the treasurer in the Church where the road is not paved, and is concerned about safety issues because of
some cars driving too fast and tossing up gravel. Her windshield has already been broken once. She also mentioned how the potholes are
in the areas where cars do not drive, and areas are sinking around the curves. Her main point was that the area is not safe in front of the church.
Lorrie Osborne talked about donating 13 acres for the bicycle path and the road. Her first question was about there not being a bike path yet,
and also felt that the contractor stopped replacing their 287 feet of fence and a gate that had been moved.
Tim Lipscone said he hopes the road would be finished soon. There are about 30 families in North Little Rock who shop almost exclusively
in Maumelle, and had hopes their access road would have been completed. Road striping has not yet been done and pot holes are appearing,
and would like to see the median and road finished. His major concern is that hundreds of feet of irrigation had been ripped out during
construction, and he wanted to know if it would be replaced. He also asked what role the City of North Little Rock might have,
and said he had heard the NLR Mayor had offered his assistance.
Member Mosley as if the Mayor or Holloway could answer the questions.
Roy Andrews of Holloway Engineers said that the Boles Construction is still working on the job and a sub-contractor will be laying asphalt
next week. He discussed about how design had changed because of price hikes that had occurred during Covid, and that the bike path will now
be on the side of the road and not in the drive lane. North Little Rock is supposed to be matching their plans for their part of the bike lane.
This is how the Greenway plan prefers Bike Paths to be handled.
Pot Holes will be fixed within the next week.
Mayor Norris said that people should contact the City of Maumelle about pot hole problems while the work is ongoing.
Mister Andrews said the reason work had stalled was because of scheduling difficulties between the contractor and sub-contractor to
coordinate their work.
Mayor Norris spoke about how many residents had originally opposed have a median, and also opposed having a four-lane road.
He also discussed other problems with the sub-grade that delayed the project and destabalized the roadway. Part of the reason that this
project has taken so long is because of concerns to keep costs within the existing budget.
With asphault laid next week, then if weather is dry the striping will happen the week afterwards. This should eliminate the dust.
Mayor Norris said he had never told anyone not to repair any fences. He said that if the City has done any damage, including to irrigation,
they will be making proper repairs.
Mister Andrews said the fallout from Covid is still affecting every project they have because of material shortages and price overruns because
of escalating costs. This is happening to all cities. There was also a delay when the project was redesigned to keep the costs within the budget.
Member Gronwald spoke about how this has been going on for some time, and was surprised that it was not started during Mayor Watson’s time,
when it was tabled while other bond projects (White Oaks and the third Interstate entrance) were focused on first. She confirmed with
Mister Andrews that this project should be completed this year. She felt there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Member Holt asked about Mister Andrews working with the contractors. He said he had thought the irrigation project had already been completed.
Member Holt also asked about a breakdown for the $3.2Mil spent on the project. Mayor Norris said the information is available. Member Holt wanted
to know why people weren’t pounding their fists on tables and demanding that this gets done. He said he was angry and he doesn’t even live there.
Here the Mayor and gallery were then at odds when the crowd felt that nothing was being done, and the Mayor felt there was. He spoke of his many
meetings with contractors who were constantly trying to raise prices, and the fact is that they are not shouting in council meetings, but the people he
is having disagreements with are blaming him for when they are the ones not laying asphault when they should be. We are using 2012 money to build
a road in 2023. He spoke about other elements of his work that isn’t being seen, and he understands the resident’s frustration with a project that has gone
on too long, but that he has been trying to accommodate folks and proceeding as much as he can within the budget. If residents wanted to pay another
few hundred grand, he could have asphault laid weeks ago. He said we have the money to complete the project as is, but doing so has been causing delays.
Right now the plan is to have asphault laid next week, which Mister Andrews confirmed that the contractor had said.
Mayor Norris said the North Little Rock has done their share in the project, which includes reinforcing the river bend wall.
Member Mosley talked about the frustrations that Mayor Norris has dealt with on this project. He confirmed that the project will be completed with
reamaining funds. He also talked about the asphault that was not thick enough and Mister Andrews confirmed that it had failed and would be replaced.
Sherry Salazar addressed the Council because the contractor hasn’t been cutting the grass, claiming the city should do it, while the City says
the opposite. Mayor Norris said that they needed to ride the contractor to get it done.
She also asked if there was a full final plan that people could access.
Mister Andrews said there is not. Mayor Norris said that parts of the original plan are availbable.
She asked if there was a system by which to address problems.
Mayor Norris that grass should be reported to Public Works, and once the project swtches over to City Maintenance you can See Click Fix It.
You can also email and call the City.
Ms. Watkins said the contractor was leaving messes laying about and that water is not currently draining away. Because the ground has never been
sodded, the soil is running away as mud.
Mister Lipscone asked about the thickness of the asphault being depending on the placement, and if semi-truck traffic had been taken into consideration.
Mayor Norris said traffic areas are rated for Class 5 activity and meets City code.
Member Mosley thanked the residents, Mister Andrews, and the Mayor for taking the time to discuss the matter.
Mayor Norris mentioned the sign dedication on the White Oaks ball field this Thursday at 2PM when it will be named after former Mayor Burch Johnson.
Member Holt asked Chief Pickard about this issues of money for our police, and he challenged each Council member work with the Chief and take a ride
with the officers and then report their experiences back to the Council.
Member Mazzoni said we need to be careful when doing things like that. He suggested not putting the troops on the spot and make them uncomfortable.
In the military, he said it adds a perceived pressure when he’s been charged with distinguished visitors.
June 10, 2023 Update
Mayor Norris shared this amateur video and some comments about it today:
"I wanted to take a moment to draw your attention to a job well done by multiple City employees. We recently received a “First Amendment Audit”
and I couldn’t be prouder of the personnel involved. For those that don’t know, a “First Amendment Audit” is where an individual films on
public property and in public places to test how receptive government officials are to that recording. Oftentimes their focus is solely on
police activity, but not in our case.
"I am proud to say that a YouTuber randomly showed up at City Hall, Fire Station #1, and the Police Department and received a very warm welcome
from each City employee he encountered. It is not a normal occurrence to have someone randomly show up at your workplace with a camera in
your face, but our folks handled it great and were very welcoming.
"A special shout out to Christie Grant, Jay Grelen, Cindy Miller, Firefighter Taylor Mathis, and Police Chief Cory Pickard for representing Maumelle well!"
Artwork from my Wild Stars comics that is currently on display is shown at the 8 minute mark. The "encyclopediac works" that the Mayor's Chief of Staff
Jay Grelan referred to me doing was not based on Zane Grey. I've done two different 4-book sets detailing the illustrative history of the writers
Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan. I also did a posthumous Tarzan collaboration with Burroughs.
June 10, 2023 Update
Here are a couple of photos from when Maumelle attended the National League of Cities convention in Washington, D.C.
The first photo of the entire Arkansas delegation standing on the Capital steps appeared on page 17 of the March 2023 issue of City & Town Magazine.
The second photo was taken when the Fairfield Bay and Maumelle delegations met with Arkansas Representative French Hill.
From Left to Right: Me, City Clerk Tina Timmons, FB rep, French Hill, FB rep, Mayor Norris, Council person Chad Gardner, FB rep, and Council person Christina Gronwald.
June 5, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Coucil was fully attended.
There was an awkward moment when the Council turned to pledge allegiance to the flag, and it was missing, borrowed by the Fire Department.
So the Council and everyone present pledged allegiance to the flag flying in front of the building.
Council Member Shinn gave the Public Commission report, which had light activity that will be dealt with later during this meeting.
A Civil Service Commission Appointment had two applicants; former police chief Sam Williams, who has served in a temporary capacity;
and John Jones, a IT Developer, college athletics coach, and previous applicant to serve Maumelle.
Council Member Williams excused herself from the vote, due to a conflict of interest.
Both applicants took turns interviewing with the Council.
Either choice would have been excellent, with Sam Williams carrying a majority vote.
Resolution 2023-21 approves the Development Plan Amendment for Phase II, Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing.
Planning Direct Scott Grummer explained the changes to remove alleyways to make things easier for city services,
and increased the number of parking spots.
Council Member Mosley confirmed that the Planning Commission had voted unanimously approved. He expressed a concern about how the
private home lots in the area “keep getting smaller and smaller,” which might lead to traffic congestion problems at a later time.
The Resoltuion passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Resolution 2023-22 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget to appropriate funds for an increase in Police Officers pay.
Mayor Norris explained that the police are so under-staffed at this moment that this pay increase will still be within this year's
previously approved budget. The hope is that an increase of staff will lead to a budget increase next year. He said staffing
is a problem in the county, state, and nation as a whole as less people are entering the law enforcement fields.
Chief Cory Pickard state that wages needed to be increased if we are going to hire any new officers. We have the second lowest
starting pay in the County, while everyone is offering identical benefits packages. We are currently budgeted for 40 officers,
and he felt we need 50 to 60 for a city of our size. Another problem is the high cost of Maumelle housing, and we do not have
a cost of living assistance program for that, like others do.
He discussed how other Chiefs have discussed the how Police are being vilified in the national Press, more than any other profession.
Mayor Norris said the City is looking at other policies to try and increase moral. Civil Service tests that were once done
once a year are now being conducted three or four times a year. About the wage adjustment, he felt that “this increase is a
minimum requirement just to remain competitive.”
Member Mosley commented about how 9 officers left a couple of years ago, and another 6 last year. Chief Pickard said we have three
new applicants who are currently being trained. He also has another officer about to retire, and two more being hired away to
higher paying agencies. Out of 38 recent applicants, only 13 showed up to take the actual test.
Member Mosley asked if other departments were facing the same sort of critical hiring problems.
Fire Chief Buford said his department is not currently having the same problems as the police department, but other Fire departments are
already actively trying to hire people away with extra benefits, so he felt this could be a problem for his department down the road.
Council Member Gardner discussed how employers nationwide are struggling with this same issue. He felt that the bottom line is that many
people today will chase a salary number no matter what other benefits are available.
Members Holt and Mazzoni both spoke in support of the Police Department.
I did likewise, stating that the City’s most important asset is our people, and made a motion to approve the Resolution.
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-23 amended the 2023 General Fund Budget to appropriate additional funds to upgrade existing body cameras, in-car cameras,
and replace all in-car computers. These were originally part of $253K expenditure in the 2023 budget, but prices have risen since that
quote was given, plus a new generation of equipment is now available and the original estimate failed to include sales tax. The actual quote
came in $50K higher that what was budgeted. Some money might be able to be recouped by reselling our older equipment to other agencies
locked into using it.
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Mayor said the White Oaks Crossing Roundabout was budgeted at $1.9M, and four bids have come in, two of which should fit within that budget.
In the next week or two a notice of a ground breaking ceremony should be announced.
Council Member Williams discussed the fire at Millwood Landing Aparetments, and how good a job the Fire Department did in dealing with it.
There was no loss of life. Calvary Chapel has offered assistance to anyone who has been displaced by this event. Council member Williams
can also be contacted about other offers for anyone in need as a result of this event.
Council Member Holt asked if the City could provide a stool or platform for whenever a person of shorter stature tries to reach the microphone
at the podium to address the Council.
Member Mosley talked about how another applicant had not realized there was another opening on the Civil Service Commission, and that she
would apply again next time. He also discussed the ongoing final audits and field work.
Mayor Norris said the goal was to have everything submitted by May 31st. That goal was not met.
It is now unlikely a completed by the original goal of the end of June, due to a number of factors.
May 31st was also supposed to be the day that former Director Liz Mathis would complete her employment. While the audits were not completed,
a transfer of Payroll was. Now the only thing Ms Mathis is still dealing with is the 2021 audit.
Council member Shinn spoke about how private streets have been allowed to become overgrown.
City Attorney Thornton said he was discussions with Director Grummer about having those roads dedicated to the City so that we could maintain them.
Council member Mosley talked about how a fire truck was doing an inspection directly across the street from the Millwood Landing fire,
which may have helped reduce the damage done.
City Clerk Timmons mentioned about how the Planning Commission meetings have been cancelled for this month.
This was my month to be the Council’s liaison. Council member Gardner jokingly offered to change months with me.
May 15, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was once again one member short, so all unanimous votes will count as 7 to 1.
Deputy City Clerk Christina Russell filled in as the City Clerk for Tina Timmons.
The (Mary and Fred) Peyton Award for the 30th Year of the Maumelle Youth Council was given to recipient Elizabeth Woodall,
who served on the Youth Council in addition to volunteer work.
Director of Finance Beatrix Sousa offered a recap of her professional career and goals for her position before she gave the
April Financial Report. Total expenditures are $763K under budget for the year and $219K more than the prior year. The General
Fund balance is $9.2M over the required minimum balance, with a total of $12.7M. Current revenues exceed expenses by $35K.
Director Sousa also introduced Mary Nelson and Mary Green, who are emembers of her team, and gave an update of the new upgrades
being made to the accounting system. New software for the payrol program is expected to be operational by June 9th.
Council Member Mosley asked about the 2021 year end reports being compiled by former Director Liz Mathis. Mayor Norris said he
hoped to have an update by the next Council meeting. The field work has been done and the actual report is in progress.
Ordiance 1089 concerning health benefits for certain retired City employees and officials had its third reading, and passed by a unanimous vote.
The Facilities Board appointment of Cheryl Schluterman introduced herself and discussed her qualifications for serving a second term.
She talked about how the board has recently facilitated a land swap being processed to allow a Put-Put golf course to be built in
Maumelle within the next year or two. Her appointment was certified by a unanimous vote.
A Tree Board appointment also had only a single candidate: Toby Fair, who was certified by a unanimous vote.
Mayor Norris also read a list of recent award recipients.
He also addressed my question of the roundabout at Clubb Manor and Odom Blvd.
The estiamate without utility relation and other charges is $1.9M.
Council Member Gardner discussed the recent presentation about the new bike path.
Council Member Shinn said that he had gotten calls about outage problems and being switched to levelized billing without authorization,
and the Mayor added that Summit had not pulled permits to do the repair work, and thanked him for notifying the City. A legal case has been
opened by the Attorney General against Summit over this matter.
Council Member Mosley talked about trails being restricted by POAs and people being turned away. Mayor Norris said the City does not
approve private trails that are tied into the network.
Crystal Hill was also discussed. The one, and only one, advantage in the time it has taken to be completed is that the City's one year
time period of guarantee after completion has not started yet.
Mayor Norris reminded everyone that tomorrow an Open House will be held at Park on the River to discuss its future.
May 1, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was once again one member short, so all unanimous votes will count as 7 to 1,
since absentees count as a No vote.
Kathy and Jim Miller addressed the Council about water drainage in the Phase 19 development. They live at the bottom of a hill,
and previously had no drainage problems until some trees on the top of the hill were removed by a developer and now all the water
on the hill comes their way and the drainage culvert has started to overflow. They requested putting a natural rise of soil behind
the culvert to divert the water flow.
Director Planning Scott Grummer is aware of the situation, and something should be done.
Director of Planning and Permits Grummer then gave us a report for his departments, including Code Enforcement.
Permits are down this year when compared to last year, but last year included the permits to build the new Tractor Supply Company,
which inflated that year’s numbers. In contrast, excavation permits are up by 2000%. Many more permits have already been processed
this year as opposed to last year. New policies are currently being developed to deal with drainage, and said that the City needs
the help of residents. A Rainguard demonstration will be held on May 23 and another on May 24 in Lake Willastein to show how to manage rainfall.
Council Member Mosley gave the Planning Commission Report for last month. Plans for First Service Bank, being built next to the new
roundabout at White Oaks and Counts Massie was passed and is on tonight’s business. A canopy structure for Chik-fil-a was also passed
and is on tonight’s agenda. There was also a discussion about how to improve public notifications, and are developing an ordinance that
they have requested public feedback on. This will come before the Council shortly.
Ordinance 1089 regarding Health Benefits for retired employees and officials had its second reading.
There was no discussion.
Resolution 2023-16 concerned approval of a preliminary development plan for First Service Bank.
This deals with the bank discussed in the Planning Commission.
The President for First Service Bank, Tom ?, addressed the Council and discussed how his bank was formed in 1962 with a focus on
servicing Middle America. They are a family owned bank with nine locations, and like to fly a “Big American flag.” They have done
a lot of business in Maumelle and decided it was time to open a branch in this area. They are hoping to open a temporary location
until the new building is constructed.
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-17 concerned approval of a development plan amendment for Chick-Fil-A.
City Attorney Thornton said there was an error in the original proposal, and the word Preliminary needed to be struck.
A motion was made to strike the word and was passed unanimously.
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-18 proposed renaming the Maumelle Diamond Center Softball Complex in honor of the late Mayor Burch Johnson.
Member Williams made a motion to change the name further by removing Softball and changing it to Sport Center.
This passed unanimously.
Member Williams then gave a presentation about former Mayor Johnson’s contributions to Maumelle.
Member Mosley talked about how involved Burch Johnson was in coaching or sponsoring baseball.
The motion passed unanimously.
A notice will be given when the renaming officially takes place.
Resolution 2023 -19 amending the 2023 Police and Fire Funds to cover costs of safety training regarding the eclipse in April 2024.
Most of Arkansas will be in the area of the Eclipse’s totality, and massive numbers of people can quickly “turn a small town
into a Woodstock event.” There are predictions that one to two million people will be entering the region that day, and all
hotels in the area are already fully booked. Later in the year we may be looking in adding Port-a-potties to help. It is thought
that this event could actually close down Interstate 40.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-20 amends the 2023 Sanitation Fund Budget.
This moves the insurance money received for a damaged truck back into the Sanitation Fund’s budget.
Mayor Norris reminded everyone of the public meetings behind held (see my previous post directly below) for Park on the River
and the proposed Bike Path.
Member Gronwald talked about animal services and the jump in fees for dogs that are not chipped, where the fee increases from $5 to $25.
Member Shinn talked about people having trouble with utilities and an AT&T tower. The Willow Oak Loop area has had a lot of problems
with multiple power interruptions in the last month, after a new line was installed.
Member Mosley talked about how to use Park on the River, and how North Little Rock handles five such houses. They said one facility
made as much as $50,000 a year, and others in the $30,000s. Some of their houses are booked out for every weekend throughout the rest of the year.
I asked about the status for the roundabout at Odom and Club Manor.
Mayor Norris said he had met with the primary engineer, who has now taken a position with the City of Little Rock. Since their last meeting,
he was waiting for them to get back with information on prices, but nothing has happened yet. He said he would follow up on this.
Member Williams said she had also had people asking about this.
Member Mosley talked about how the Roundabout at White Oaks and Counts Massie is moving along.
Member Shinn asked about the status of the imminent domain lawsuit.
City Attorney Thornton said the City was not able to reach an agreement with the land owner. He said he would ask if the
land owner would be doing an appraisal of their own on the property. Maumelle has already offered in excess of the appraisal the
City had recieved, but could not offer more without an appraisal saying the value was there.
April 18, 2023 Update
There are a couple of public meetings coming up, if anyone would like to share their opinions while plans are still being shaped.
April 18, 2023 Update
Here is the layout for the proposed Gateway Park at Maumelle Blvd. and Millwood.
April 17, 2023 Update
Tonight’s City Council meeting was once again fully attended. That makes two in a row!
Dave Roberts gave a presentation for the Gateway Park Master PLan that is proposed for the corner of Maumelle Blvd and Millwood,
where the old Police and Fire station stands. It included a proposed sidewalk extension and proposed Farmers Market pavilion with
a picnic lawn and a concert lawn/open play area with a stage. There are wetlands on the border that will be covered by a floating
boardwalk that will connect it to the proposed Greenway. Cost estimates are right at a Million Dollars.
There was an advisory committee involved on the development of this plan that involved local businesse owners and cyclist volunteers.
This plan was the one of serveral that the committee selected for presentation to the public.
I asked about the parking, and Mister Roberts confirmed that there are 30 parking spaces, in addition to spots for 11 food trucks.
Mister Roberts mentioned how he had talked to some of the neighboring businesses and churches, who expressed a reluctance to share their parking.
In answering other questions, he esitmated that the area could accommodate a couple of hundred people.
He agreed that parking could be a problem that “we might have to accomodate” at certain times.
Beatriz Sousa, Director of Finance, gave her first financial review. Total Revenues are $279,000 over the 2023 budget.
Right now the General Bund is 8.7 Million over the minimum balance.
She talked abou how right now they are still transferring a lot of the work from manual to computerized and she is
working on finalizing the installation of the Open.Gov software by the end of June. Payroll will hopefully be automated by May.
Council member Holt expressed a desire for a simpler, more bottom line type of presentation in the future.
Ms. Beatriz said that she was hoping to present a system like that in the next month.
Mayor Norris complimented Ms. Beatriz’s personal approach to better suit the different individuals as operations are streamlined.
Park on the River was once again a topic for discussion by Council Member Mosley.
He had looked over a number of documents requested from the City Attorney. He said he was still looking at them, and requested
to see a copy of the new contract. He had asked the auditors to take a look at the numbers but not heard back yet.
Attorney Thornton clarified that the contract was proposed for a year-and-a-half, with the mayor having six months to come up with an alternate plan.
Member Mosley asked about the previously unpaid rentals.
Mayor Norris replied that he had been dealing with the new contract and all the different departments that will be involved.
Member Mosley added that he had called the City of North Little Rock about their. NLR said that they arranged to have the furniture
there and kept the properties clean, but offere3d no other services. He is still waiting to hear what kind of revenues they generate.
He also discussed how the State gives the power over City property to the City Council to manage in statute 14-43-502.
Mayor Norris said his research on the matter is ongoing and he anticipates holding an Open House event in the middle of May to
provide information and solicit feedback from the public. He felt this might geenerate some good ideas for the property.
An opening in the Planning Commission had two candidate for appointment, John Jones, and Rusty Ray. Their resumes had been forwarded
previously for the Council to review, and both men interviewed with the Council.
Mister Jones had previously applied for the Civil Service Commision, and has been attending a number of the City’s different meetings.
I asked what were the best skill sets that he brought to the job. He answered that he brought an outsiders view and a mathematical approach.
Mister Ray has been a resident since 2005. His reply to my questions is that he is a construction guy, so he is used to reading those
types of plans and enjoys working in that field.
Council Member Mosley asked if his being a builder in Maumelle might cause a conflict of interest. Mister Ray said that although he is
a licensed contractor he no longer does a lot of house building at this time. He told Member Mazzoni about how you have to be flexible and
open minded with zoning because the needs of a community can and do change.
They were both excellent candidates and the City is fortunate to have Citizens of this caliber who want to be involved in our growth.
Mister Rusty Ray won by a narrow margin. We thank Mister Jones for his continued interest in serving the community.
Ordinance 1089 had its first reading regarding healthcare benefits for retired employees and officials. City Attorney Thornton said this
would apply to a person who will be retiring soon, and that this would allow them to continue to participate in the City’s health program.
State Law says that the City can decide the percentage that it will pay, and this will apply to any and all who decide to retire early.
Chief Pickard had mentioned that a new State Law had been passed that dealt with this type of matter for Law Enforcement Officers—and is
currently waiting for the Governor to sign into law. Attorney Thornton thought this was something the City should establish by Ordinance.
Council Member Mosley asked the definition of Retirement. The proposal would follow State criteria. Somebody who worked at the City for
only a couple of years could not then apply for early retirement, unless they had been previously employed with another department.
The law gives them the right to be on the plan, but the City has the right to decide the percentage they will pay.
Resolution 2023-14 regarded authorizing the Mayor to execute an amendment to the City’s lease agreement with the Department of Finance and
Administration. Mayor Norris said this is a substantially better agreement than what we have had in the past. Previously the City had been
paying one to three thousand a month to cover their phones and data processing. These will now be paid for by the State.
The State will still only paying $1 in rent, and the City will continue to preform Janitorial duties.
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-15 Amending the 2023 General Fund Budget to appropriate funds for outside counsel to represent the Police Department during
ongoing litigation with a former officer. State Law requires outside council be retained in the case of appeals made with the Civil Service
Commission. Witnesses are still being heard, and numerous delays have happened, so the cost has exceeded the $6000 in the City Attorney’s budget.
The Rosolution passed unanimously
There was a discussion on Pickleball Court Costs. There is $600,000 in the budget to do this, and different plans are being made for five or
seven courts. With eight Maumelle would be eligible to host tournaments. We had buedgeted for asphalt, but are now considering post-tension concrete,
which is considered to be a more durable surface with less maintenance costs. Seven courts with concrete would be $200,000 over budget, so other
options are being considered to reduce costs. These numbers are subject to change, and will be funded by Cares Act money. Mayor Norris was asking
for guidance on how to proceed. Eight courts are recommended for tournaments, and we could actually tape off six courts inside the Community Center.
I asked about the post-tension concrete for five courts. Right now that is $50,000 over budget, plus there are always unexpected cost overruns.
Gateway Park is being similarly funded by AARPA funds, and is currently under budget.
A motion was carrried to engineer seven courts with tension concrete.
Council member Shinn talked about Maumelle being "behind the game on this,"" and that it is a huge deal in other places.
He feels we ought to make it nicer.
There was a discussion on Animal Shelter Fees and and a citizen’s request to grandfather in the $25 fee for the registration for animals
which are not neutered. The current fee is $75 and has been paid by a number of people according to Animal Services. Member Holt suggested
that we might want to consider a grandfather clause for cases that existed before the law was passed, which would need to be considered for next year.
Member Williams said she had had a second request for grand fathering, but did not see how this could be done from an accounting viewpoint.
Mayor Norris discussed the nature of the rewrite of the ordinance to address the danger that un-neutered dogs can present. The point here
was and is to protect the public’s safety. He said refunds could be done if the council decided they wanted to do that.
City Attorney Thornton said the better way to deal with this would be to amend the Ordinance, and put specific language in to deal with it.
Council Member Shinn asked how we would determine who was Grandfathered in. Attorney Thornton said it would be based on previous fees.
No action was taken on this matter at this point.
Member Mosley said he had a conversation with the Municipal League about how Council members cannot discuss upcoming issues whenever we have
conversations. He called the Attorney General’s Office, but they said they had no experts on this matter. A lawyer at the Municipal League
was able to discuss it, and she said that Council members talking with the Mayor was a gray area, but would caution against talking about
upcoming legislature with him. She also pointed out that ‘polling,’ asking who people thought they would vote for was illegal.
The City Attorney said two or more Council members is itself a gray area, even when a public meeting is called. He had not heard about the Mayor
not being allowed to talk with Council members. He said if seems a silly rule that Council members cannot talk about matters important to
the City. Hopefully the State will clarify this law better in the future, but did not want Maumelle to serve as a test case.
April 3, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was fully attended by all members of the Council.
Not on the agenda was a discussion of the recent F3 Tornado that caused extensive damage throughout Pulaski County on March 31st.
Maumelle Police Chief Cory Pickard spoke about how he and his department lent their assistance to Little Rock and Jacksonville,
as well as to North Little Rock to help stop looting over the night. Approximated $4600 was spend in overtime, plus numerous
uncharged hours on the part of volunteers, was spent by his department. This will be eligible for reimbursement. Chief Pickard
and the Mayor have since had a number of discussions to make certain Maumelle is prepared should such a future event strike our community.
Fire Chief Buford than handed out printed copies detailing the timeline of the Fire Deparment’s response during the emergency. North Little Rock had
luckily just completed a core class for their responders, who were already gathered for the emergency. Firefighters from Maumelle were
sent to assist at command posts set up in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and materials were shared. Recalls were made for off duty
firefighters to be deployed to rescue teams searching for trapped persons. They assisted in rescuing 8 to 10 people in North Little Rock.
Fortunately there was a low loss of life during this crisis. Around 4:30 PM a structure fire broke out in Little Rock. Chief Buford
thanked the Council for recently approving the repair of a spare fire truck which was then able to be deployed to assist in this emergency.
Maumelle was the last team to be released back to their communities, and the cleanup began of their equipment and the truck returning from the
Little Rock fire.
Chief Buford talked about how many people he personally knew who had their homes destroyed. His biggest concern when the storms were coming
was to get the fire trucks out of their bays and to avoid them becoming trapped due to structure damage, as did happen at one station in Little Rock.
Mayor Norris discussed having watched how well organized the fire teams were during this crisis. He hoped to never see it again.
Council member Mosley thanked Chiefs Pickard and Buford for the insights into how they handled this emergency.
Chief Buford commented about how a Maumelle Fire Truck was often shown on the news reports nationwide.
A similar thing happened with a Maumelle Police Department vehicle in Jacksonville.
Council member Holt discussed how Maumelle’s assistance was recognized on newscasts.
Chief Buford thanked the Council again for repairing the fire truck that enabled them to help Little Rock.
The entire Council applauded their efforts.
Council member Terry Williams reported on the recent Planning Commission meeting. There were two variance requests by Chik-fil-a in connection
to reducing their parking lot in order to increase their canopy space over customers in the drive through area. Those variances were approved.
Another item concerning a bank to be located on White Oaks was deferred to the next month.
Director of Planning and Permits Grummer said the Bank that will be located on White Oaks was near the curb cuts for the new roundabout
and more time was needed to develope their plans.
The Park on the River Discussion was addressed once again.
Council member Mosley discussed taking a tour of the facility and visiting with the Park Department personnel. He said it was a good open house
and thanked Phillip Raborn for conducting it. He conceded that the location would not be good for a restaurant. Otherwise he was very impressed
with the state of the property and the views that it offered. Ms. Timmons Team Summit was also in attendance and answering questions.
Member Mosley had asked Ms. Mathis for more details on the financial records of the facility, and said he still had not seen all the source documents,
but had talked with new Finance Director Sousa, who offered additional information. He said that the records he had seen at first appeared to be
short some monies, that were later found booked to the wrong account.
New Finance Director Sousa then addressed the Council. She explained why the original report given to the Council over the weekend was missing
several months of payments, and distributed a new printed report where the incorrectly booked revenues were added back in. She observed how all
billing stopped being sent to Team Summit in May 2019 for some unknown reason. There were a lot of changes in the Finance Department at that time,
with people coming and going.
Council member Mosley talked about how badly the Finance Department failed the City at that time, and how in the private sector a number of
people would have been fired over this.
Mayor Norris said that he was not aware of this particular issue happening. He talked about how only in the last few years the City has
started showing Revenues in different departments. In the past reimbursements for things like utilities were processed as a general expense,
and “camouflaged” this particular problem. Another problem was how at that time the accounting department was invoicing for serveral months
at a time, with lag times taking place between billings. Apparently a group of invoices would build up, since at that time we did not have an
invoicing system, and were often overlooked until they became obvious.
Council member Mosley talked about how the City Clerk is related to Ms. Timmons.
Mayor Norris asked if he was accusing anyone of doing something underhandeded.
Member Mosley said that was not his intention.
He went on to discuss that he felt Team Summit should have vacated the premises when the previous contract had expired.
Mayor Norris discussed how the City is still developing new software to avoid such things happening again.
Member Mosley said he wasn’t buying it, and Mayor Norris said he wasn’t selling.
The $75,000 that were not invoiced during this time period was discussed. Council member Mosley felt that since Team Summit had continued
to occupy the property, they owed the monies.
There were a number of exchanges about who was responsible for these gross incompetencies and oversights. The Mayor accepted responsibilities
for errors that occurred on his time and said he was working to correct such things from happening again. He went on to discuss the problems
in cancelling the current arrangement because some people had already booked the property for upcoming weddings.
Member Mosley said he was not accusing the Mayor of any intentional wrongdoings.
Council member Gronwald asked member Mosley about how he defined Revenues. She considered that 2020 and 2021 were devastating for the event
industry because of Covid. She mentioned how the Mayor how acknowledged that former accounting personnel were responsible. She felt that the
City would actually lose revenue by turning the property over to Parks and Rec. She was fine moving the property there, but was concerned
about the need to hire a new person to administrate it. She felt that the $75,000 in uncharged lease payments would not be a fair amount to
try and collect, and wondered what the Council’s endgame was moving forward.
Council member Mazzoni said this was a mess in the past, and the spreadsheet “was a mess.” He suggesting giving it time to be further assessed,
and questioned if the City could legally charge Team Summit for rentals during the years after the lease had expired. His question is how to
maximize the use of the property for the citizen of Maumelle. “This is a gem of a place.”
Mayor Norris said he does not anticipate finding any more undiscovered revenues. Director of Finance Sousa said she had thoroughly gone through
those records and could fine nothing else—no other revenues. She added that “When we billed, we were paid.”
Council member Mosley clarified that he was counting the time from May 2019 through the present, and multiplying that time by the original
lease to come up with the $75,000 number.
Director Sousa pointed out that the pandemic struck during March of 2020, and did not feel that the months affected should be charged since
the property was unable to be used.
Member Gronwald talked about loosing the monthly lease fee if we converted the property over to the Park Department. She did not feel it was right
to hold someone accountable for a lease during a pandemic, and that it was the Council's responsibility for not discovering before.
Mayor Norris also took responsibility for not discovering these billing oversights.
City Attorney Andrew Thornton commented how the contract explicitly stated it was for five year only. He felt Covid shutting down the event
industry should be considered. He felt that we either needed to be under contract or request Team Summit to vacate immediately. Before we
bill for anything, be it the next month, he felt the City should be under contract.
Council member Gardner echoed members Gronwald and Mazzoni. He did not feel funds were missing since the City had not been billing.
He did not feel the City was in a position to manage the rental, and felt it would cost the City more to turn it over to Parks and Recreation.
He felt that even if we rented it more, the increase in management costs would offset this. He felt the purchase of the property was “was a
strange purchase” by the City. He also wondered why there was a phone in the building.
The Mayor answered that it was connected to the alarm system.
Member Mosley said revenues were not a priority, “the optics on this thing is terrible” and felt citizens might question if something
underhanded might be going on “with this thing.”
Mayor Norris asked if he could be allowed to be the one who ran the meeting.
City Clerk Timmons clarified that she had nothing to do with the invoicing or billing of the Park on the River, and had at no time ever
asked anyone to stop billing for the property.
Council member Mosley asked if we were more interested in exploring what happened in the financial department. The City has admiteed that
a poor job had been done in handling this in the past. He mentioned about how Council member Gronwalk had asked about the collection of
revenues of this property during the last budget meeting. He asked if we could open the door to other companies to rent the property.
Council member Shinn said to actually market this property, it would not be happening through Parks and Recreation.
Council member Mosley asked City Clerk if she oversaw the financial department.
She replied she was responsible for taxing of the business, not what Mister Mosley was suggesting.
Council member said he did not enjoy doing this, and had been accused of causing trouble.
Mayor Norris asked him to clarify how the Mayor had actually said after the meeting that Mister Mosley was slowing the accounting department down.
Member Mosley replied that we needed somebody independent to look at this, and was going to ask the auditors to look into this.
Ms. Timmons then asked to address the Council, she spoke of her service and her heart, and commented how it is the Council’s job to look
into what we think is not happening. She welcomed it. She then talked about how everything closed up in February of 2019. She felt that
Jess Holt had said the City was not responsible for giving charity.
Member Holt said that was not what he said, and asked if the minutes for his statement could be reviewed. They could not until later.
Ms. Timmons said she felt hurt by the comment, and emphasized how Covid “shut everything down in two years.” She said she had conversations
about renewing the contract, and has paid everything she had been charged and thought the City was giving her a break because the Governor
had shut everything down. She talked about how she has struggled and that the Council has not done anything to help. She spoke of giving to
the community out of love, and was insulted that she was accused about having done something wrong and her feelings have been hurt.
She expressed her disappointment with the Council.
Council member Williams suggested now was not the time to discuss her resolution that was on the schedule. She discussed how the Council is
a legislative body. Our job is to find things that are wrong, point them out, and move forward to try and fix it. She felt the Council needs
to give the Mayor time to investigate the matter. She found a section in the City Code, 206-D, about how authority over personell of the City
lies with the Mayor, and any discussion with employees should be done in the presence of the Mayor. She emphasized that we are not the Mayor,
and needed to let him do his job.
Council member Mosley said Ms. Timmons comments had raised some questions he would be asking later. He didn’t understand why the property
wasn’t surrendered when the lease expired. He emphasized he was just asking questions.
Resolution 2023-13 by Council Person Terry Williams was proposed that the Mayor negotiate a lease with Team Summit on the same terms as the
2015 agreement, except that the lease agreement would instead charge a flat monthly fee of $1500 per month and would only last through September 2024.
The Mayor would also be directed to investigate the City’s options for future use of the property and present them to the City Council and the
public within the next six months.
Council member Williams discussed the contract, and how weddings were booked up through the next 18 months and that this time could be used for
the Mayor to establish a plan for the future. Her intent was to put the issue back in the Mayor’s office.
Council member Gardner asked about doing away with all the utility charges and going with a flat $1500 rate. He supported this action in the
short term. He did not want to put Parks and Rec in the Event business. He appreciate that this would provide a short and long term solution.
The City Attorney confirmed the utility question.
Council member Mosley said there were some aspects about this that he liked, and some that he did not. He felt that for optics, because it had
been so badly handled in the past, we needed move away from the previous arrangement, and that Ms Timmons said she could work with the existing
wedding being handled through Parks and Recs.
Council member Shinn asked if this was a flat fee, and would not require invoicing.
Council member Mazzoni discussed the dangers about getting between a bride and money that had already been spent on a venue.
Member Williams concurred.
City Attorney Thornton said he felt the Resolution would be a good compromise.
Council member Holt expressed his support. He felt this was a doable thing.
Mayor Norris recalled a discussion about needing to renew during Covid, and then then matter was dropped when a new Finance Director, Liz Mathis,
was hired. This is the only property handled like this, “it is a unique beast that just got lost, and looks like it routinely got lost.” He agreed
with member Mosley that this was not managed well, and because he didn’t catch it he felt it was his responsibility. He also added that
“compared to the whales that we’ve been slaying, this is small potatos.” He went on to discuss particulars about the financial records,
and how Team Summit’s net profit for 2018 amounted to $6,000.
Council member Mosley asked about calling Parks Director Phillip Raborn to testify managing the property.
Direct Raborn said that his department could rent the property, but that they could not provide the full services of Team Summit. They would just
rent the space. Renters would have to go to someone else to rent tables and chairs. When Council member Mosley asked if he could recommend people
to provide these services, Raborn replied “I do have someone” and pointed to Ms. Timmons.
I thanked Ms. Gronwald and member Mosley for bringing these very viable issues and suggested that we needed to find a way forward and proposed
approval of Resolution 2023-13.
Council member Williams expounded on the know how and expertise Ms. Timmons provided when servicing weddings.
Council member Mazzoni asked if this resolution would prevent events that Ms. Timmons does not do. The City Attorney said that part of the
agreement would allow other uses of the property on certain days.
Council member Mosley questioned if the right to cancel by either party would also be included in this agreement. City Attorney confirmed that
the only changes would be to the payments and to the length.
Council member Gardner read details in the lease that stated we could not terminate the lease before the last booked event.
The Resolution passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Council member Holt spoke about the Arkansas Federal Credit Union using Maumelle to advertise a North Little Rock branch.
Mayor Norris said there have been lawsuits about this in the past, but the reality is that this is not something over which the City should
send a letter or try to enforce a change in language.
Council member Mosley discussed Ms. Williams discussion about contacting personel, and discussed that he mainly talked to the Director of
the Finance and the City Attorney, and that he has a right to criticize something that is not right. “It’s not all praise.”
I expressed my appreciation for the wonderful work done by Chiefs Buford and Pickard during the recent tornado.
Council member Williams discussed outreach being done to assist those affected by the storms.
City Attorney gave an update on the roundabout's imminent domain proceeding, and how it is progressing to trail.
City Clerk Timmons had previously announced ny email that the Planning Commission now has an open seat.
FOR THOSE IN NEED OF TORNADO RELIEF:
Prior to the Council meeting, Council person Terry Williams sent out an email announcing that City of Faith would be setting up for Tornado Relief
on their parking lot at 1401 S. Garfield Drive in Little Rock. They are helping those in need after the tragic events of the recent tornados,
and are accepting donations to deliver that help.
March 29, 2023 Update
Over the weekend Maumelle sent a delegation to join other representatives from Arkansas at the National League of Cities Conference
held in Washington D.C. The purpose of the convention was to bang the drum on the needs for local community representation in Congress.
The benefits of the programming were mixed, with the messages being repeatedly delivered concentrated on using the recent ARPA (American
Recovery Program Act) funds before Congress can take those monies back in 2024. Maumelle has already used all of those monies on
on our Fire and Police Departments. Much of the other programming seemed more focussed on re-electing Joe Biden as President.
The real benefits came from meeting other representatives from around the state and other parts of Arkansas, as well as time spent
bonding with Maumelle's other representatives; Mayor Norris, council members Christine Gronwald and Chad Garner, plus his wife Mary,
and City Clerk Tina Timmons. That's Christine, Tina, and myself shown above having dinner at a local restuarant, which was comped
to us free of charge. The expenses were kept down on the trip by walking to most locations. That's China Street shown above on the right.
Other dinners were provided at meetings with the Arkansas Municipal League, and by Congressman Womack--held in the Lincoln Room that
is located right behind the Rotunda in the Capital Building. Afterwards, Congressman Womack revealed a secret tunnel hidden in Lincoln's office.
Visiting the nation's Capital Building was a highlight of the trip.
In the first picture above, Mayor Norris can be seen in the underground tunnels that connect the Capitol to neighboring buildings through
tunnels that run beneath the surrounding streets. In the second picture Council Person Christine Gronwald is seen in the hallways that
most tour groups take. Our delegation, however, was given access to areas that most others rarely see--including an upper level of the
Rontunda, which left many of the visitors below wondering who we were. The image above that on the right is the Seal of the State of Arkansas
that hangs outside the office of Senator French Hill, who also took time to talk to members of our delegation.
During our free time, we visited the Capital Mall and toured some of the many monuments, including the Washington Monument, the World War 2
memorial, and the Reflecting Pool (that was so empty of water it was more of a non-reflecting pool) that led up to the steps of the
Lincoln Memorial. It was along the pool that a pergrine hawk nearly made a kill of a squirrel, which managed to escape into a nearby tree.
A murder of crows immediately swarmed in, but were loudly disappointed that they could now steal a meal from the unsuccessful falcon.
All in all it was a very colorful and event filled journey that was well worth taking. The picture below is the sunrise of our final day there.
March 20, 2023 Update
Tonight’s Maumelle City Council meeting was two members short, so all unanimous votes will show a count of 6 to 2,
since all absentees count as a vote of No.
The Mayor gave his State of the City Address, to report on the affairs of the City. He felt that the fact that those on the
City Council who ran for re-election were all unopposed, and how he won his own campaign with two-thirds of the vote
was a mandate that citizens approved of the job being done by City Hall.
He then discussed future plans for the city that include the Greenbelt Way, the upcoming Gateway Park for central Maumelle,
increasing the connectivity of the walking paths, adding seven new pickle ball courts by the end of 2023, the work being done
by Courtney Dunn and Cydney Thompson to increase commercial and community development. He also discussed the change in Fire Chiefs,
as Maumelle welcomed Chief Bo Buford as outgoing Chief Ezelle’s replacement, and how the City has purchased new a vehicle and a
flat water boat, along with adding three new Lieutenants to the Departement.
Chief Pickard of the Fire Department was selected for and attended the FBI Academy in 2022, with Captain Dustin Ivy serving in his
stead during that abscene. Last year overall crime was down. Two more cars were stolen, but in most cases the cars were left
unlocked with the keys inside them. Five new police vehicles were added, along with new body cameras and software, also adding
two new positions last year and with plans to add two more this year.
New City Attorney Andrew Thornton was sworn in at the start of the year, and his credentials were discussed,
as was the excellent work done by outgoing City Attorney Melissa Krebs.
City Clerk Tina Timmons issued nearly 500 business licenses, as well as upgrading software services and equipment, while also
converting to cloud-based technology and digitizing the archives. She was elected vice-president of the City Clerk and Recorders Associateion.
Finance Director Liz Mathis has left for an opportunity in the private sector, replaced by Beatrice Sousa, who was hired as her
replacement. She brings many years of experience as the City moves their record keeping to Open Gov software and cloud-based technology.
The Department of Human Resources led by Doreen Mathis is also upgrading their software and technology.
Turnover rate in City Employees was down from the year before.
Planning and Permits Director Scott Grummer dealt with the City Limits expanding by 108 acres as the City continues to annex new
areas into the City. The industrial park developed more square feet of space in the last year than had been developed in the previous
12 years combined. Maumelle High School also continues to added new athletic fields and activities. Business continue to be launch
and residential construction continues. 31 miles of new and repaired utility lines were added across the city, prompting the need
to add new processes to track this activity across the City.
Codes enforcement issued many citations last year, primarily for high grass and illegally parked boats and RVs.
Parks and Recreation led by Philip Raborn continue to maintain Maumelle’s many parks and various outdoor events.
A new indoor batting facility was added last year. With new parks being added this year, it will be another busy year.
City Sanitation managed by Mike Hogan has been delivered a new truck, but it arrived with a broken arm,
which will involve a several month delay before it goes into service.
The Sanitation Department processed 5,678 tons of solid waste, along with 5,624 cubic yards of yard waste last year.
A study is being done to consider a raise in the rates charged--which were last increased 12 years ago.
Animal Service had another busy year, with 22 animal bites reported, 15 of them by dogs,
two of them from outside the City limits and two by pit bulls.
That concluded the Mayor’s report.
Outgoing Finance Director Liz Mathis gave the financial report for February.
Overall Revenues for the are $248K ahead of the budget year-to-date and $104K more than the prior year.
The Total General Fund balance is $12M.
Last year was the first year of the implemention of a new road preservation project, which includes asphault sealing.
Bids will be going out soon for the construction of the roundabout at White Oaks Crossing and Counts Massie and Club Manor.
Ordinance 1088 amending the competitive bidding and purchasing procedures had its third reading. The Oridiance passed by a unanimous vote.
The discussion of how to proceed with the leasing of Park on the River, begun during the last meeting, was continued.
Council member Mosley gave an update on the situation and the discussion from the least meeting. He proposed having
a public meeting and having a tour of the facility. He also requested seeing the documents the City might have for the last few years,
with a focus on the collection of 25% of revenues for the property, which seen low to him.
Mayor Norris mentioned no records are kept as far back as 2017.
City Attorney Thornton advised that Council member looks at the property and records separately.
Finance Director Mathis said the requested records are in storage and on paper, which would require manual recover from 20 boxes of receipts.
New City Director requested more precise instructions about what she would be looking for.
Member Mosley said he’d like to focus on documents that would support the payments that were being paid by Team Summit.
He wanted to see how well the property was managed in the past.
Mayor Norris said it was very poorly managed, since it was a Park of the City Council, as opposed to a part administrated by Parks
and Recreation. It’s been a pet project of the City Council since the very beginning, and was administered by the Accounting Department,
and was lost during the transition where we lost a Finance Director, had a period without, another Director for a while who then left,
and then further changes after that. Mayor Norris said it was very poorly managed on the administration side. He felt that conducting
this investigation would stop the transition of the new Finance Director into her new position. He felt “it’s like shoving a bar into
the gears as they’re trying to catch up.”
Member Mosley asked to start with the records of 2018. Mayor Norris felt this is important, but that there are other more important things
that will be stopped while the investigation is done.
Director Beatrice Sousa encouraged we wait until later to do this.
Member Mosley was firm in that he wants to see the records now and made a formal verbal request.
Council member Holt said he was interested in doing a personal trip. He wants the area to belong to the City.
He echoed my suggested from the last meeting about the possibility of have Food Trucks at the Park during certain times of the year.
Mayor Norris said that the park is currently open to the public.
Member Holt emphasized that he did not want it being used by private companies, and felt that residents should have the right to rent
it at different times of the year.
Member Mosley said at this point he would like to see the Park placed under the umbrella of Parks and Recreation, and
“love to see (it used as) a open house … for residents to come out and enjoy it.” But he is still researching the matter,
and suggested doing an on site work shop.
Some other Council members said they were already very familiar the facility.
Member Mosley proposed an Open House workshop on Wednesday at 1PM. This requires making an announcement that it is a public meeting.
Resolution 2023-11 approves an Economic Development Service Contract between the City of Maumelle and Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA).
This is an ongoing contract that has been renewed on a yearly basis.
Mister Chesser from the MLRA gave an address to the Council. He announced that a resident of Maumelle is now a member of the
MLRA administration. Scholastic is currently investigating a site adjacent to the Tractor Supply Distribution Center site.
He felt the success of landing the Tractor Supply put an emphasis on identifying new sites in order to land more projects to
be located in Maumelle. City Employee Courtney Dunn is leading a program that targets deal makers and industry experts and educates
them about the opportunities to be had by locating in Maumelle. MRLA also provides database analytics about the workforces available
in the area to prospective employers.
Council Member Mosley asked about chain restaurants inquiries. Mister Chesser said it was usually more a matter of the MLRA contacting them.
The Resolution was approved unanimously.
Resolution 2023-12 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget to appropriate funds to the Police Department for Police Vehicle Insurance.
There was a police car involved in an accident and this applied the insurance reimbursement to the budget. The Resolution passed unanimously.
The influx of visitors expected for the 2024 Solar Eclipse was discussed.
Council Member Gardner wanted talk about the potential.
I asked Chief Pickard about if his department felt the Council needed to re-address the question about regulating local airbnbs.
He said that this was a problem during Covid, but there had only been a couple of instances of disturbances since that time.
Council member Gardner said that the State is currently considering a bill that would strip Cities of the right to administrate local regulations.
City Attorney Thornton said this amendment, if passed, would require airbnbs be administrated like a regular residence.
Mayor Norris announced that Maumelle was once again designated as a Tree City.
He also wished a happy birthday to Chief of Staff Grelen.
Member Norris asked about if anyone had heard anyone asking about convening a meeting about private parking. None one had.
City Clerk Timmons mentioned that Planning Commissioner Landis had resigned, and we also have several opening on the Tree Board.
She also welcomed Christina Russell as the new Deputy City Clerk and that her department is now fully staffed.
March 6, 2023 Update
The March 6, 2023 meeting of the Maumelle City Council finally broke our several-year long streak of absenteeism.
We had full attendance by all Council members, so all unanimous votes will show a count of 8.
The new Finance Director Beatrice Sussa was introduced. She has 22 years of experience in the Miami area.
Outgoing Finance Director Liz Mathis gave the Financial Report. She is continuing to assist the City during the transition.
The City is currently over $8.3 million over the required minimum balance.
Council Member Gronwald gave the Planning Commission Report. None of the items discussed are coming before the Council
Ordinance 1085 to annex the lands contiguous to and adjoining the City, known as Ascent Development Property, had its third reading.
Council member Mosley asked if annexing this area might affect getting Short Marche opened back up to the public.
Eric Holloway said it might move us “closer to that reality,” but probably not at this time.
Planning and Permits Director Grummer said that proper notice was given to the residents and there was no opposition,
other than hunters who were not happy about no longer being able to hunt there. All the property is vacant and the majority in flood plain.
There are no imminent plans for development now or in the future for the property.
The Ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.
Ordinance 1086 had its third reading to amend the Maumelle Land Use Plan for the property in the previous Ordinance from
from ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) to O-S (Open Space) and SUR Special Use Residential). The majority of the property
has a stream running through the middle of it. The Ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.
Ordinance 1087 had its third reading to amend the Maumelle Zoning Map for the previously discussed area previously designated as
County and change it to O-S (Open Space), FW (Flood Way), and PRD (Planned Residential District). The Ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.
Ordinance 1088 had its second reading to amend the Competitive Bidding and Purchasing procedures.
Council Member Mosley confirmed with the City Attorney that is a requirement by State Law.
Resolution 2023-05 amends the 2023 Drug Control Fund Budget to appropriate funds for the purchase of a license plate reader system.
These are search and seizure confiscated monies, and the police department requested an appropriateion of $60,000.
Council member Mazzoni confirmed with Chief Pickard that his is a one time expense.
Council member Holt confirmed that these would be placed at the entrances to Maumelle to watch for stolen vehicles or
vehicles involved in an Amber alert. Once one is recognized an alert would be given.
Council member Mosley confirmed how the system takes a pciture of the license plate, and an officer then must verofy
and then an immediate alert would go out to all vehicles. The readers will only be at the entrances and exits.
Chief Pickard assured member Mosley that this would not be a situation of “Big Brother,” and that there are stiff penalties for misuse.
The system has been approved by the ACLU.
Member Holt confirmed that the vehicles would be read when exited.
Chief Pickard said it would give the police another investigative tool in the case of felonies committed in.
It will take a picture of every vehicle entering or leaving the city.
Council member Mazzoni confirmed that only license plates would be collected and kept in a database for 150 days,
and would only go to police in the case of an incident.
Chief Pickard gave an example of a recent apprehension that only occurred because officers were in the vicinity,
but in the future the system would help when they are not. The system is designed for immediate circumstances,
not to build a database of activities and movements. State law require that it only be kept for 150 days, unless tied to a case.
Council member Mosley made a motion to table the measure until next the next meeting.
Council member Shinn asked about where the police would keep the information.
Chief Pickard confirmed that the system could not be used by repo companies.
Council member Gardner asked about details in the areas that state law made this not usable by FOIA.
He also asked Chief Pickard about how Conway, Mayflower, the City of North Little Rock, and the County are already reading license plates,
but Maumelle does not have access to this information until the equipment upgrade is made.
The Mayor confirmed that a lot of equipment the City has been purchasing has been designed to work seamlessly with the cities of
North Little Rock and Sherwood.
City Attorney Thornton said that the Freedom of Information Act is addressed under state law does put restrictions on accessing
captured plate data, and would not be disclosable under FOIA. If we received a supenoea, that might be a different situation.
The images themselves would have restrictions on who could see them. The number of images taken would be a public record,
but not the actual images themselves.
Council member Holt asked about missed opportunities due to not having the equipment, and should the public be informed.
City Attorney Thornton said member Holt could ask people what they thought, but the City was not required to put up signage.
Stolen vehicles, outstanding warrants, missing children, amber alears, and ongoing criminal investigations are the accepted
useages of the information being gathered by the license plate readers.
Chief Pichard said the majority of crime in Maumelle is property crime, and most vehicles stolen in Maumelle begin with another vehicle
stolen in another jurisdiction and driven into Maumelle, and then another vehicle was stolen. With the system they would now know in
advance that a criminal in a stolen vechicle had entered the city.
Council member Gronwald confirmed that these are activities that are already being done, and this is a measure to make the City safer
and the job of our officers a little easier. She advocated public disclosure, but feels that the Council had been elected to make these
kind of decisions to keep the City safe.
Council member Williams likes the sharing of information with other cities and making the jobs of police easier. We’re already tracked
by our cell phones, so she felt that the safety factor was something we cannot say No to.
Council member Mosley again stated how he was in favor of tabling the matter.
Council member Shinn asked if three years from now we might be tracking expired tags.
Chief Pickard said the system cannot do that.
Council member Gronwald spoke about how she had been a victim of this type of crime and supported this proposal completely.
I shared a story about how when I was thinking about moving into Maumelle, a customer said he’d never live in Maumelle because
if a crime were committed in it, they could block off the city and capture them. I replied that he had talked me into moving here,
and completely advocated the police having the ability to be proactive rather than only reactive. We want Maumelle to be considered
off-limits to thieves.
Mayor Norris talked about crimes that could have been solved years ago if we had this type of system previously, and that the Police Chief
had worked very hard to make certain civil liberties were protected. He reiterated that this was a vote on the budget, and not on the
usage policy. Before the system is put into service a full policy will be in place. He discussed previous policies dealing with things
like police body cameras.
The motion to table the vote failed by a vote of 5 to 3.
The motion to pass the resolution succeeded by a vote of 6 to 2.
Resolution 2023-06 amends the 2023 Grant Fund Budget for an all-inclusive playground. The Grant Fund was set up to separate out monies
targeted for grants away from the General Fund. This is a grant with the State of Arkansas for the All Inclusive playground. She felt that
when grant funds are accepted, then these types of funds should be set up. This is a $300,000 transfer that includes a $240,000 grant that
was already planned. The resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-07 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget related to salaries in the Planning and Permits Department. There was a salary
discrepancy in the budget of $1,030 that this resolves. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-08 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget related to salaries in the Finance Department. This deals with the transition between
Finance Directors, and enables the City to compensate Ms. Mathis as she continues to work for the City during the transition.
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-09 deals with Audit Procedures requiring an annual audit for 2022 to be performed by Forvis, LLP, in accordance with the
guidelines and format prescribed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. This is an annual requirement.
Council member Mosley discussed the services the new auditors are doing that previous auditors did not do, and how they provide more
assistance that had not previously been included.
The Mayor commented about how the audit is more of a year round partnership that inovlves training to help avoid mistakes being made.
Ms. Mathis talked about how the rules and standards are continuing to change. As the standards change, Forvis has been a good partner
in how and what information to gather. She feels it is a good relationship between auditor and City.
The Resolution passed by a unanimous vote.
Resolution 2023-10 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget to appropriate additional funds for Auditing services. This is to appropriate $7000 for
additional audit help that the City hopes it does not need. In the event that the change in Director’s runs into any snags, the money
will be in place to hire assistance from the auditors.
Council member Mosley felt being proactive was a good idea. He doesn’t want to fall behind, and likes how we have been catching up on our audits.
Ms. Mathis explained other steps involved in creating audits. She supported adding funds to help in case it is needed.
Ms Mathis explained that it is permissible for auditors to write reports, but cannot prepare the financial data that goes into the report.
A new lease between the City and Team Summit/Timmons Arts Art Foundation was discussed. for the City Park property known as Park on the River.
On November 5, 2015, a five year lease was signed by former Mayor Watson for a charge of $1000 a month plus paying all utilities,
taxes, and 25% of all revenues generated by events held on the property. Residents of Maumelle were also eligible to lease the property at
a discounted rate of $800 per day, as opposed to the normal $1200 charge—plus clean up and security. That lease had an option for renewal,
but no new formal arrangement was made after its expiration.
Mister Mosley asked for Ms. Timmons in the audience to be given a copy of a sheet given to all the Council members. He then gave a brief
history about how Burch Johnson encouraged the Council to buy a property on the river and made it an Event Center. The first contract was
with Ms. Timmons back in 2006, and renewed in the agreement on November 5, 2015, discussed above. The initial term expired in 2020, then
covid came along and revenues stopped. The City has continued to allow Team Summit exclusive use of the property, but was no longer collecting
rent on the property, resulting in significant losses to the City on an annual basis
In 2020 and 2033 the losses from the unitility expenses were approxiamately $10,000 each year, and 2021 showed a loss of $15,000.
Ms. Mathis mentioned how the finance department was getting behind on things at that time and never caught up. When Ms. Mathis came in,
she was told not to bill Summit for the utilities. Starting in 2020 no more billing was sent to Summit. Summit has paid any invoices sent to them.
The form provided to the Council showed no revenues paid to the city for the years of 2020 through 2022.
Mayor Norris that the contact was considered to have expired.
Ms Timmons discussed the original agreement, and how they have paid everything they were billed. Covid shut everything down and she lost
the person who was running the center. She was paying someone to clean it every week. Monday through Thursday it was open for Maumelle
charities to use if they wanted. She said in 2022 things began to pick up sporadicly, and in 2023 she had about 15 events booked, and 3 for next year.
What she wanted to happen was another contract for two years at the same rate, and to see what happens after that. She expressed concerns about
new venues opening in competition. She once asked to buy the property, but was told it could not be sold because it was a park. She felt it was
the best place in the state, and did not think the city should sell. She then spoke about her own charity work.
Member Mosley asked how many events happened in the years between 2020 to 22, and she replied about six, and said she is still paying for poeple
to clean the interior the property. Parks and Recreation has maintained the exterior.
Mayor Norris talked about how this was a unique arrangement with the city that had slipped through the cracks. It is not a profitable endeavor
for the City. The options are to renew it, or something completely different. He said several more times about how it is not profitable.
Ms. Timmons said she has invested around $30,000 in the property.
Council member Gronwald talked about how she has used the property and that it has “an insanely beautiful view of the river.” She sees it as a
partnership, and considers it something that attracts people to the city of Maumelle. She wanted to see more people use it.
Council member Gardner felt it would be efficient for the Mayor to negotiate with Team Simmons and come back tot he Council with a proposal.
He asked if State Law required a bidding process for proposals.
Council member Mosley asked how many events Team Summit had held in a good year.
Ms. Timmons said an event is an event whether it’s paid or not paid. In a good year it was about 20 event, which included Non-paying events
like the City or the Chamber of Commerce using it.
Council member Holt said it was an understatement about the property being unprofitable. He is vehemently opposed to any new contract being proposed,
and that the city is not a charity organization, so this property needs to be utitlized in a way that turns the City a profit. It needs to either be sold
or used in a way that benefits the City. He considers it to be a financial travesty. He wants to see any agreement in advance, and how the property
can be made profitable. He considers it the most beautiful property in the county.
Council member Mazzoni agreed that we need to consider other options before agreeing to another contract. He wants to know what the other options
might be to benefit the city.
Member Mosley echoed his agreement with members Holt and Mazzonii. He had asked Ms Dunn and Mr. Raborn to share their thoughts on how the property
should be used.
City employee Courtney Dunn said we do not need to sell the property, and thanked Ms Timmons for all the work she does for the community.
Ms. Dunn also discussed about how the entrance to the Park on the River will be on the incoming Greenway, and could be used as a visitor center
and sell Maumelle merchandise. Add parks ammeties and more picnic tables and the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce could help run the visitor center.
Member Mosley suggested renting it as a restaurant. Ms. Dunn said it would make an amazing restaurant.
Mayor Norris said the building is no longer equipped for a restaurant.
Ms. Dunn advocated keeping it a public park.
Mr. Raborn of Parks and Recreations said if it was put into his deparment, their job is to provide a service, without the intent of
generating a profit. It has flooded three times, so he suggested nothing going on the lower level, because the pier and fence have been
refurbished/replaced twice. There is a bike path connected to it, and there is a wooded area that could be made into a bicycle park as part
of the incoming Greenway. When it was first purchased, there was no plan and it was never turned over to the Parks Department, but they do
take care of it. They couldn’t provide the whole package like Timmons does. They could rent the space, but others were have to handle the
other services. They would treat it like the Pavillion at Lake Willastein. They are not wedding planners.
City Attorney Thornton felt that federal grants may have prevented selling the property, but selling the house separately could be a possibility.
Council member Shinn asked for a platt of the layout.
I suggested putting food trucks there.
Council member Holt discussed the license plate process, and that he was disappointed that the information was not given to us in advance.
I asked about the progress in getting bids for building a roundabout at the intersection of Club Manor and South Odom Blvd.
Mayor Norris had no news to report, but said he would be working on it.
I asked Fire Chief Buford about about the City’s preparedness in the event of a train derailment such as what happened in East Palestine.
He said the North Little Rock has a hazmat response team in place should an event occur in Maumelle, and that they could track gases.
We have automatic aid agreement with North Little Rock, and he is building the ermergencey reponse infrastructure in Maumelle.
There is NLR a fire station with hazmat response capabilities in Burns Park that could help us in partnership.
He is also trained on that technology. They can read what is in the air and where it is going in order to direct any evacuations.
He is working on an evacuation plan, and is dividing the city into zones. The current lack of a plan is a weakness he has identified.
I also inquired about areas in Maumelle where the rail lines crossed with gas lines and oil lines, and he felt we had no exposure there,
but that was place with such a concern nearby in North Little Rock.
Council Member Mosley discussed the Maumelle Country Club event center, and inquired about putting up No Parking signs in certain areas,
and asked to call a meeting of the Traffic Commiette to address the possibility.
Council member Shinn asked about the imminent domain proceeding on the White Oaks roundabout. The judge has set a hearing date.
Council member Mosley talked about flooding over in Country Club, and how the City has determined the problem is backwater from the bayou
and nothing can be done until house flooding occurred. One resident has been offered drainage with the City paying 75% of the expenses.
Member Mosley said on January 20th a Maumelle woman was attacked by a dog she was either adopting or fostering and had to flee her house.
The Fire Department rendered first aid and the police department assisted animal control in capturing her dogs. The woman was reported
to have had a broken arm, but no other details were known. He felt this attack happened because the ban on pit bulls had been lifted.
The Mayor determined that member Mosley was calling for a street committee meeting for an area outside of his ward,
and someone from either Ward 2 or 3, or the Mayor, would be required to call it. No one did.
February 26, 2023 Update
Maumelle has a large number of Senior Citizens on Social Security, so as a public service I thought I'd share the Social Security Administration's
upcoming Stop the Scam Day on March 9th.
If you are ever a victim of a suspected scam, you cann click on the image above to be taken directly to the SSA Administration page to file a report.
February 21, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council continued the several year-long streak of absenteeism due to a variety of reasons.
The meeting opened with a recognition ceremony to honor the late Sergeant Joshua Caudell of the Arkansas Department of Corrections,
who gave his life in the line of duty just outside the city limits on February 28, 2022, when he and several members of the
Maumelle Police Depart were assisting Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies search for a man suspected of shooting at them.
Sergeant Caudell was doing a welfare check at a residence where his service dog had tracked the suspect when shot.
Pastor Chris Perry of Christ Church addressed the officers and representatives of the Corrections Department who attended to honor Sergeant Caudell.
Mayor Norris read a proclamation and Chief Pickard presented the flag flown at half mast on the day of his passing to Sergeant Caudill’s family,
as well as a Challenge Medallion from the Maumelle Police Department.
The room as a whole stood and applauded the Caudell family in Thank You for their sacrifice.
Finance Director Liz Mathis gave a financial statement. The 2022 preliminary audit report showed overall revenues for the year to be
$5.1 million ahead of the budget and $4.4 million more than the prior year. A good chunk of this was from an excess of $3.5 million
deposited into the General Fund after the Crystal Hill road improvement bond debt was retired last year.
Ms. Mathis has also submitted her notice of resignation, as she has taken another opportunity in the private sector.
A search for her replacement has already begun.
Ordinance 1085 had its second reading to Annex the Ascent Development Property land into the City of Maumelle.
Ordinance 1086 had its second reading to amend the Maumelle Land Use plant from ETJ (Extra Terrirtorial Jurisdiction) to O-S (Open Space)
and SUR (Special Use Residential).
Ordinance 1087 had its second reading to amend Maumelle Zoninng, changing an area previously designated as County of Open Space, Flood Way,
and PRD (Planned Residental District).
Ordinance 1088 had its first reading to amend the competitiv3e bidding and purchasing procedures.
This was an ordinance proposed by City Attorney Andrew Thornton. He proposed changing the old limit required for bidding
from $20,000 to $30,000. State law has also been changed to allow the City Council to waive the bidding process by a Resoltuion, as opposed to the
current practice of an Ordinance that require three readings.
Council Member Gardner confirmed how the Council will be required by State law to pass a new ordinance on this procedure every five years.
Council Member Mosley had requested a discussion on the current Park on the River contract, but given his
absence due to illness, a motion was made to table this matter to a future meeting.
The Mayor thanked Jay Greelan, assistant to the Mayor, for his work on arranging tonight’s tribute to officer Caudell,
and expressed his appreciation for how law enforcement officers risk their lives to protect our community.
February 6, 2023 Update
The Maumelle Fire Department Honor Guard presented the flags at a ceremony held today at the Odom Community Center.
Fire Marshal Scott Eaton gave an Invocation and Mayor Norris gave a congradulatory speech as Darron Pitchford was promoted to Captain.
He was pinned by his wife, London.
Three new Lieutenants positions were approved by the City Council during this years budget meetings, and they were also promoted today.
Erik Fulton was promoted to Lieutenant. He was pinned by his wife, Hope.
Cole Schichtl was promoted to Lieutenant. He was pinned by his mother, Becky Starr.
Isaac Young was promoted to Lieutenant. He was pinned by his wife, Kristen.
Also celebrated today was Firefighter Alex Hronas completing his one year internship. He was pinned by his girlfriend, Brittany Hammock.
The ceremony closed with the Firefighter's Prayer:
When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage;
give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child before it is too late.
or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout.
and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to guard my every neighbor and protect his property.
And if, according to your will, I must answer death's call;
please bless with your protecting hand
my family one and all.
February 6, 2023 Update
Tonight’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council was once again one member short.
All unanimous votes will count as 7 to 1 as the extremely long consecutive streak of absenteeism continues.
A representative of the firm making the 2020 audit gave a presentation of their findings. The 2020 numbers
involved a lot of cleanup as we switched Financial Directors and made a number of changes in the operation
of the Finance Department. There were a number of one-time items charged that will not reflect on future years.
Other items that were not properly charged and recorded in prior years that were corrected in 2020.
A clean opinion was issued on the City’s funds balances and operations. There was no modification in that clean opinion.
There were notes made about how the Financial staff was previously too small, but that has been corrected since then.
Their judgement that estimates of our audits and disclosures did not require any adjustment, while some adjustments
that were made actually applied to previous years and were handled with the 2020 numbers.
Feduciary activities have been properly recorded and no issues were found.
I confirmed that on the matter of significant deficiencies had all been discussed in his presentation.
Council Member Mosley confirmed that previous audits had been completed an no further issues existed from them.
The Mayor complimented Council Member Gardner for the last meeting having been efficient during his abscnce for that session.
Financial Director Liz Mathis said that the Finance Report is still being closed out for 2022 and only waiting on a
few bits of information. We should have that and the January report by the next meeting.
She also added that one of definciencies in the audit report was how she previously had been required to do double duties,
but no longer did.
Council Member Gardner said the Planning Commission meeting lasted around three and a half hours. The Krash Activity Center
had both measures approved and passed to the Council. Other issues involving in tonight’s council meeting all received Do Pass
recomendations from the Planning Commission.
Two seats on Planning Commission were voted on. The candidates were Wes Booker, Hall Ramsey, and Tracy Gill. Wes Booker and
Hall Ramsey, whose term is expiring, were both unable to attend. Tracy Gill was present and interviewed with the council.
Council Member Mosley commented about how he had talked with Mister Gill previously about the considerable amount of time
required to properly do the job. Mister Gill commented about how crucial thes meetings were to attend.
The first vote had 4 votes for Mister Ramsey, and the Mayor voted to give him a majority win.
The second vote for the second position elected Mister Gill to the seat.
We thank Mister Booker for his application and his interest in serving the City.
Resolution 2023-01 approves a conditional use permit for Krash Events Enterprises, LLC for the operation of an event center
in an area zoned PCD (Planned Commercial District). This event center is located within and surrounded by the Maumelle Country
Club was previously approved. This is for a proposed 2,000 square foot expansion and a new layout design. When the original
plan was approved, there were no objections from the public and the Country Club issued a letter of support. The approval
was based on the cooperation between the Country Club and Krash Events. The proposed expansion was different, as I received
numerous complaints and emails of opposition to the proposed expansion.
There were a number of public comments, but Director of Planning Mister Scott Grummer gave a presentation first. During the
time since this project was first approved there were a total of 18 public hearings held on this issue. The main change is
in the name to Krash from North Wind Holdings, a PCD condition was removed because the property had already been converted
to the PCD zoning. The last event dealt the shared parking spaces between the Event Center and the Maumelle Country Club.
Previously there were 42 statements of support and 52 in opposition. Since then a petition has been signed in opposition.
What was approved by the Planning Commission was the variant for overflow parking and to allow for distance between that
shared parking to be extended to include the Country Club parking.
The first public comment was by Jerry Parker. He thanked Brent Ashcraft and Chris for the way they had worked with the residents
on the concerns of the community. He was concerned about how the Center got so far into development without the community
being properly notified. People beyond the 300 required feet had no idea of what was happening. He felt there was a potential
for disruption in their lives and felt the rules of notification about rezoning should be changed.
Jodie Parker also expressed appreciation of Mister Ashcraft’s group and their willingness to work with the residents and address
their concerns. She thanked the Commissioners, Mister Grummer, and Council Member Mosley for their assistance.
Keith Brine stated his opposition to the Center, and how he is filled with dread about how the Center will overlook his property.
He said he also has hope from the meetings he has had with representatives, Brent and Chris, but still has concerns over the
headlights from the traffic.
Mike Holliday said he has no issue with developers, but does have an issue with the Country Club and how they have created
a rift within the community by claimed to represent their interests, when in fact they were not.
Brent Ashcraft talked about how ugly the conversations started on this matter, but had evolved over time as discussions were
held with residents. The residents had issued their concerns, and how they felt that the Center was only serving the Country
Club’s interests. He pledged, whether this was approved or not, that he would continued to work with the community. He vowed to
always be a good neighbor to the residents and the City. He said the floor plan was increased to add a second room as part of
their ignition to host weddings, not tough man conents or job fairs. With one room was intended to have a ceremonies on one side,
and also to allow for storage to reduce the number of vendor trucks coming in and out. The name change still involved the
same people. He also commented about how the parking agreement that this project hinged on had been committed with the
Country Club to allow for shared parking.
Member Mosley commented about how this new plan is intended to have no increase in impact on the community, and how he has
met with both the owners and the residents who had concerns about these changes. Music, lighting, and many concerns were discussed.
If he had not had those meetings, he would have been a strictly No vote. But by implementing restrictions on capacity and total
parking would make him more likely to vote Yes. He also suggested that the rest of the Council take the same tour he had taken.
Council Member Gardner did not feel that taking another two weeks would help. He had already taken the tour that Member
Mosley had taken. He confirmed with Mister Grummer that the plan had already suggested the limit of a 400 person capacity occupancy.
He did mention that they could request to increase it to 500 in the future. The change of the development plan included Exhibit B
and others to amend the body of the resolution would accomplish his limits on parking.
Member Gardner also mentioned that this is a better plan than the previous one, shifting the building further away from residents.
The footprint of the building did not change that much, with a lot of the extra space in the increase being part of the storage
on a new, lower level.
Member Shinn mentioned his concerns about a large wedding occurring at the same time as a large wedding, and the potential demand
on the parking.
Brent Ashcraft said they would not be using the facility during scheduled events for the Country Club, and that their events
would be scheduled later in the day. Mister Ashcraft said he is the Acting Tournament Chair for the Country Club, and would
work to avoid capacity conflicts. He would be improving the lot so greatly that it would no longer include a gravel lot that could
be crowded by several trucks.
Member Gronwald said she had seen a lot of concerns on social media, and had watched as Mister Ashcraft had patiently talked
with the community and addressed their concerns. As a non-profit professional she felt that placing tree lines could address the
issues of car light and could see this Center as “working out,” and how Maumelle does not have venues like this. She also commented
about how the Center would be imposing their own curfew on events.
Member Holt talked about how his Ward will not be affecting the residents of his Ward. He talked about how his emails did not match the
enthusiasm he had heard from those who had made public comments at the meeting. He did not want to feel like he was bullying
those who were opposed to the venue.
Member Gardner addressed Mister Holt’s concerns, and about how many people were opposed to an Event Center, period. He felt that
if we did not pass the revised plan, then the event center would be built closer to people's houses. He summed this as being a
choice between being smaller and closer to homes, or a larger and a better design further away from housing. He also acknowledged
that the notification system had failed to properly notified residents, many of whom are completely opposed to the Center.
But that part has already been approved. He felt the new plan would work better for both the residents and applicant.
Member Shinn agreed with what Member Gardner said. He also commented about how the support from the Country Club had been
misrepresented to us in the past during the initial approval, and that they did not have the support of the members that was
claimed previously. He also noticed that none of the folks who had made those representations were in attendance at this meeting.
Member Williams agreed with Mister Gardner about how this was already approved, But she wanted to address the notification
system moving forward, and that it needed to be extamined. She also did not want to delay the vote and wanted to move it forward.
Mister Mosley felt that the Council should not have rezoned this property in the first place. He felt that was a error.
He felt the council is between a rock and a hard place, trying to make the best of a bad situation, and how the
failure of the notification system had created much of the current problem.
Mayor Norris said he talked with the City Attorny about requiring an Advisory Board, but the City Attorney did not feel that
it was appropriate as a condition on a conditional use, and did not feel the Council had the authority to add that as a requirement.
Mister Ashcraft pledged an open line of communication with his neighbors.
Member Mosley made a motion that the vote be deferred for two weeks.
The City Attorney cautioned that no more than one Council member could tour the site at the same time without a public
notice being given first.
Member Gardner opposed Mister Shinn’s support of delaying it, citing that the conditions that Mister Mosley had suggested
were already being addressed. Mister Gardner reitterized that he had other concerns like the lighting, which Member Gronwald
said she had felt those had already been addressed.
Mister Ashcraft commented how his lighting was determined by City ordinance, and their goal was to look like part of the Country Club.
They would be using low level lighting, and any high level lights would be aimed at the ground.
The proposal to delay the vote failed by a vote of 5 to 2.
When I came to this meeting, I was fairly certain that I would be voting No on this issue. However, after considering the overall
impact on the community, decided that these changes would be in the better interest of the community than the previous plan.
Member Mosley made a motion to limit capacity to 400 persons. I seconded the motion. Mister Grummer confirmed that the plan
currently shows 500, and that it did need to be changed by agreement with the applicant. He felt it would be a stronger
change to be made at this point.
Member Williams confirmed that adding this material change would still allow the matter to be voted on tonight.
The motion to change capacity from 500 to 400 passed unanimously.
Member Mosley also proposed that all events be contained inside the building as opposed to allowing outdoor events.
Member Gardner opposed that suggestion, feeling that weddings should be allow to go outside and “Enjoy the beautiful view
of the Arkansas River.” Member Mosley clarified that he was more concerned about indoor events as opposed to outdoor concerts.
The City Attorney said that any restrictions would need to be more clearly stated, and that leaving vague areas could create
problems with enforcement, so Member Mosley withdrew this suggestion.
Member Mosley then made a motion to prohibit, concerts, sporting events, and expos. This motion failed for lack of a second.
Member Mosley then commented that he trusted Mister Ashcraft to work with the neighbors.
The Resoltuion passed by a unanimous vote.
Resolution 2023-02 approve the new preliminary development plan for Venue 10 event center in City of Maumelle.
Mayor Norris asked to amend the Reolsution to add extra Exhibits. The Exhibits motion passed unanimously.
Member Mosley made a motion to add the condition to provide the screening be added to avoid light pollution. I seconded the motion.
Member Gardner felt this was unnecessary. Mister Grummer said it would help require the changes by putting it into the plan.
Mayor Norris also said it would strengthen the plan to include the condition, and supported having it added. Member Gardner still
felt it would be better to have staff handle this. Member Mosley asked for the Mayor’s thoughts, and he said he trusted Mister
Grummer’s thoughts wholeheartedly.
Mister Ashcraft said the point Member Mosley made was a point that was a concern of the residents, and he supported making the motion
read however it needed to be stated. He would not resist any changes made to shield residents from light pollution.
Member Williams supported avoiding redundancy.
Mayor Norris said she was right, but he disagreed on this particular situation and felt it would instill confidence in the public.
Mister Grummer felt that the change would give him the authority to make those decisions.
By saying it, the Council gave him the authority that would help with his enforcement.
The motion to provide appropriate screening to avoid light polition passed by a vote of Six to One (member Gardner).
Member Grunwald wanted to make sure that the Country Club was also held to the same standards,
since they would share the same parking lot. That was a good point on her part.
Member Mosley made one last motion about posting No Parking signs along Park Drive.
Mister Grummer said that was out of bounds since that was not part of the development plan.
Since this was a public street that motion would go to the Parking Committee. Member Mosley withdrew his motion.
Member Gardner asked if we had the authority over a private section of the street.
Mayor Norris confirmed that the City did not have that authority.
Member Mosley expressed his support of the Resolution.
The amended Resolution passed unanimously.
The Mayor thanked the residents and the property owner for working together on what could have been a confrontation matter.
Ordinance 1085 had its first reading dealing with the proposal to accept lands known as Acsent Properties which are
contiguous to and adjoining the City of Maumelle, Arkansas. The parcel is located near White Oak Crossing and Short Marche.
It is mostly un-developable, being inside the flood plain, but there is a short section fronting Short Marche that might
be developed in the future.
Member Mosley asked what the benefits were to annex to Maumelle REsidents.
Eric Holloway said there would be no plans to develop until the road someday is opened to provide access to the third
interstate entrance. He does not want the property to be clear-cut for timber, and to have the city offer protection from hunters
who currently use the trails. As part of the County, he can not stop the hunting. By bieng part of the City this could be stopped.
Member Mosley asked if the property could be turned to a park. Mister Holloway said that in the County the trees could be cut down
to within six inches of the ground. By adding it to the City it would stop this from happening.
He would love to have park trails on the land and it be opened up to the public, and White Oak Bayou goes right up to the middle of the property.
Mayor Norris commented about how the bulk of the property could become protected wetlands and used an an offset by the
owner for developing other property he owned in North Little Rock.
Mayor Norris also said that annexing in the land, the City could protect the trees in ways that the County does not.
He also joked about how you won’t be hearing Mister Holloway being excited about the City’s Timber Management Plan ever again.
This was the first of three readings.
Ordinance 1086 amends the current Land Use Plan for the property discussed in Ordinance 1085 from ETJ
(Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) to O-S (Open Space) and SUR (Special Use Residential).
Mister Grummer explained about how this is floodway and open space for the majority of this property.
Ordinance 1087 amends the current Zoning Map previously designated as County is hereby changed to T= O-S (Open Space),
FW (Flood Way), and PRD (Planned Residential District). This was the first reading.
Resolution 2023-03 approves a preliminary development plan for Phase 1 and 2 Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing.
Mister Grummer said this property has been back and forth to the Planning Commission and the Council several times.
The recommendation of the Commission was that a higher square footage minimum of 1500 square foot be required.
Member Mosley opposed allowing the developer to ignore that recommendation, and opposed it.
Member Gardner questioned if the City could legally require the buildings to have a minimum of 1500 square feet.
Eric Holloway said this is PRD, so that it is debatable on if the City can restrict the types of buildings.
He felt imposing the restrictions such as requiring all brick would keep the property from ever being built.
They wanted to have the option of building 1000 square feet and RI restrictions.
The City Attorney said the restrictions were arguable, but that there are exceptions.
They Mayor said this would not be a contract with the City, but it would give the next City Council more teeth
if the issue were to arrive with the maintenance of the park areas in the proposal.
It would give the City the option to step in and accept responsibility.
A motion was made to approve the Resoltuion as proposed by the Planning Commission.
Member Mosley opposed the Resolution because of the square footage.
Holloway said that people would not buy properties based on the suggested restriction.
The motion passed by a vote of 6 to 1.
Resolution 2023-04 amends the 2023 General Fund Budget to cover costs related to a new Evaporator coil for the rooftop heat and air unit
at the Police Department. This is a rotation of monies from the police fund to building repairs for expenses over $800.
City Offices will be closed February 20, so the next meeting of the Council will be held on the 21st.
Member Holt pointed out what he thought was an oversight in today’s agenda. He felt that the name change for Krash had not happened.
Mayor Norris said it was not a separate motion, and the name change was approved with the Resoltuion for the amended application.
Member Mosley asked for an update on Crystal Hill road.
Mister Andrews said he had spoken to the contractor today about why the road was not yet completed. Delays had been encountered
with the freezing temperatures and rain, but putting in driveways were next. Earthworks are nearly done, then the curb will be
done on the river side and the pathways installed. Then this long overdue renonvation will finally be completed.
January 26, 2023 Update
For a second time, Maumelle City Hall hosted third grade students from Maumelle and North Little Rock.
They were given tours of the different departments, and conducted mock City Council meetings, assisted
by Mayor Norris, City Clerk Timmons, and Councilman Gardner and myself.
Unlike last time, where one of the two mock councils voted down a proposed playground, this time both
councils approved the measure!
As you can see by the photo, a wonderful time was had by both the students and their hosts!
January 20, 2023 Update
Attended a State and Local Officials Webinar yesterday on the subject of
U.S. Preparedness for Nuclear and Radiological Disasters, hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
The topic was the U.S. preparedness in the event of nuclear or readiological disasters.
As always, I share all the notes I take on my website, and I've got to say that the plan for a
nuclear event isn't much different from when I was a kid during the Missles of October crisis
with President Kennedy in the 1960s, when we were told by our teachers that the most effective
defense was to duck beneath our desks.
The Council acknowledged that the old plan was useless, and advised that the way to prepare today
for a nuclear event is the same way that you prepare for a natural disaster.
Stock up on plenty of food and water.
It was also discussed that if there were a target in the U.S. that Russia wanted to hit,
they've had that ability for decades, and that the new threat of their recently developed
hypersonic missiles is "more about fear" than it is a new strike capability.
Obviously, the hot top concerned the potential for a neclear event focussed on the Ukraine,
and three scenarios were discussed.
Scenario One: Russian has not tested a nuclear device since the 1980s, and they might do so
again simply to scare the world.
Scenario Two: Russian might use a small bomb on the battlefield in Easter Ukraine.
The problem with this would be the resulting creation of No Man's Land and radioactive dead zones.
Scenario Three: Targeting Civilians.
While this is considered unlikely, Russian has repeatedly targeted civilians with
In the event of a nuclear detonation, the chances of fallout reaching the United States
is small and would depend on atmospheric conditions.
The United States is in communications with Russian to state that a nuclear detonation would
be crossing a Red Line, without providing any specifics about what our response might be.
Attendees to the meeting were promised that contact numbers to FEMA and other agencies
would be forwarded to us following the meeting, but a day later that still has not yet happened.
January 17, 2023 Update
This week’s meeting of the Maumelle City Council continued its long streak of being short-handed.
One Council person was absent due to a family emergency, and Mayor Norris was also absent with a prior commitment, so council member Chad Gardner served as his president pro tem replacement.
Kelly Wall was introduced as the new Executive Director of the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce. During the days she is the chef at Sugar Rush Snowballs.
Ms. Mathis was closing out the year end books, so the financial report is delayed.
Mrs. Alex Sims was nominated to the Central Arkansas Library System Board of Trustees. She is a five year resident, and introduced herself to the council.
She was elected unanimously.
City Attorney Thornton announced that the City had filed the public domain proceedings on the last piece of property blocking the construction of the roundabout at White Oaks Crossing.
City Clerk Timmons announced that her assistant was leaving.
January 3, 2023 Update
I thought tonight’s City Council finally would have full attendance for the first time in two years,
but I was wrong. We were once again one member short, so all unanimous votes counted as 7 to 1.
All four recently elected council persons, including newly elected Christine Gronwald and
re-elected members of Jess Holt, Chad Gardner and myself were in attendance,
along with re-elected Mayor Caleb Norris, new City Attorney Andrew Thornton, and re-elected City Clerk Tina Timmons.
We were all sworn into office by Judge Bailey.
Council member Mazzoni reported that last month’s Public Service Commission was cancelled due to bad weather.
Once again another vote was held to decide between Kelly Hughes and Sam Williams for the Public Service Commission.
Council member Holt objected to holding a vote since Ms. Hughes was not present and new Council person Gronwald
had not yet had a chance to interview her.
Mayor Norris said that neither person has been asked to speak at the last two meetings and had been told it was not
necessary for them to attend. He felt everyone had “heard their stories.”
Council member Holt made a motion to table the vote until the next meeting. There was no second, so the motion failed.
Two votes were held, both with the same 4 to 2 results.
Council member Williams abstained because of her conflict of interest.
Council member Holt motioned to move into an Executive Session to discuss the matter, and was seconded by member Mazzoni.
A session was held, but nothing significant was decided. I commented about how excellent a choice each candidate was.
A third vote was four for Sam Williams and two for Ms. Hughes, so the Mayor elected to cast the deciding vote and
former police chief Williams is now officially our new representative.
The Mayor then entertained suggestions for any proposed changes in the City’s protocols. There were none.
Since Mayor Norris will not be in attendance for the next meeting, a new Pro Tem candidate is needed for this meeting.
Council member Mosley, who had done it last time, asked not to be considered. A motion was made for member Chad Gardner,
who was the lone vote against his appointment.
The Mayor then welcomed everyone new and old to their new offices and/or terms of office.
Council member Holt shared advice from a penguin, a polar bear, a glacier, and a sea turtle about appreciating life.
Council member Williams addressed an unsigned letter and email sent to all members of the council about an event that happened 26 years past,
it was sent by a former inmate of hers who was disgruntled. There were no revelations, and this was something discussed on the radio by Paul Harvey.
City Clerk Timmons asked for everyone to turn in their Statement of Financial Interest and offered other information for holding office.
January 1, 2023 Update
Here is a graphic showing the new All Inclusive Playground expansion next to the new Splash Pad,
for which the City of Maumelle was recently given a $240,000 grant to complete.
The State of Arkansas has it's own long-range planning, called Long Range Intermodal Transportation Plan (LRITP), with a vision that reaches to 2040. You can access the public record of this plan on the following link: