Tonight's City Council meeting was another hybrid, with two Council Members attending digitally.
Rachael Hall, the City's communications coordinator, discussed the City's art program. As a
result of the submissions, six new paintings by local residents now adorn the City Hall walls. This will
be a rotating program, with six new paintings exchanging places with the older painting in six month's
time. Rachel also announced that she will be leaving the City for another job in the next few days.
The scheduled Financial review was delayed until the next meeting.
Ordinance 1016 regarding catastrophic leave changes being made to come into compliance with State
law had its third reading. The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1015 dealing with noise nuisance had its third reading. It passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Ordinance 1018 amending the City code to allow city streets to be paved to a maximum of 27 feet had
its second reading.
Resolution 2020-31 approves a reduction in the Mayor's salary. Mayor Norris was scheduled for a
salary increase, which he had requested to forgo next year. The mayor's office has not had an increase since
2015. The Council approved his request unanimously.
Resolution 2020-32 approves a reduction in the City Councils scheduled salary increase, which all
members requested to forgo in 2021. These were all individual decisions that will not be binding
should any member be replaced in the calendar year. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-33 authorizes the City to enter into an agreement with the Pulaski County. It was
added to the agenda by a unanimous vote. Originally we anticipated a 25% increase, but this
agreement negotiates a 3% increase. This is the same rate other cities in Pulaski were offered. The
alternative would potentially see increases as high as 50%. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Mayor Norris commented that Maumelle has seen a recent spike of Covid-19 cases, and encourages
residents to maintain caution.
November 2nd, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council was another hybrid meeting.
Mayor Norris explained that the reason the video was lost during the last meeting was a network error.
Hopefully any future instances will be able to be swiftly resolved.
Mayor Norris declared a proclamation that next week is Nurse Practitioner Week in Maumelle.
The plaque was accepted by a representative from the Nurse Practitioners Association.
The Department report was from Chief Pickard of the Maumelle Police Department.
Year to date crime was down this year to persons, but up to property. This is because of a 798%
increase in unemployment insurance fraud. In July alone identity theft was up 2700%. Arrests are down
this year. A crime study was done on Osage Falls and Maumelle Valley. The two sub-divisions were
described as mirroring each other. Osage had more noise disturbance by a count of 9 to 1 compared to
Maumelle Valley, and suspicious activity calls were twice as much in Maumelle Valley. Otherwise the statistics
were comparable. This year Maumelle did a review on use of force to make certain that they were
compliant with the President's directives in this area.
The Plannning Commission Report was given by Council Member Marion Scott.
The main topic of discussion was how a business had applied to establish a sexually-orientated business
in Maumelle, which had been denied. The applicant modified the name and nature of the business to
transition their proposal to a standard retail business, which achieved a reversal in the Commission's ruling.
Ordinance 1016 regarding castostrophic leave for uniformed personnel had its second reading.
Ordinance 1015 clarifying actions to be considered a nuisance had its second reading.
There was some discussion about the modifications made during the last meeting.
Ordinance 1017 amending the master street plan map to downgrade the classification of a section of
Maumelle Valley Drive in Phase 19 from a Collector to a standard city street. One public speaker who
lives on Maumelle Valley Drive asked that the change be made to Navajo Trail instead, and if not--
asked for addition stop signs and speed bumps in the area. Another speaker who lives in the area
reiterized several comments of the first, with an emphasis on safety concerns dealing with the
steepness of the hill's slope, and opposition to the joining of the neighborhoodpreferring to keep
access limited to one way in and one way out.
The Mayor explained that speed studies were done twice in the area, but there was a software failure
both times, that afterwards was discovered to be due to new licensing being required.
That purchase has happened and the new software is on the way.
Planning Director Scott Grummer addressed the the Council to explain that this proposed connection
had been planned from the start of the development of this area. The reason for the Ordinance
adjustment was because of the steepness of the grade. He also commented that the area has
exceeded the number of allowed houses for a single entrance, and that a second was now required.
The vote passed unanimously.
The Mayor opened a public hearing for:
Resolution 2020-30 to certify a lien against a property in Maumelle to recover $300 in costs for grounds
maintenance done by the City on a house in foreclosure, required to keep it in Code. Director of Code
Enforcement and Permits Trent Carter discussed how extensive the maintenance was, having nearly
20 years of overgrowth and rat activity. The resolution passed unanimously.
This closed the public hearing
Resolution 2020-28 permits the carryover of additional vacation days for essential workers from this
calendar year to the next due to restrictions from Covid-19 passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1018 amending multiple sections of the Maumelle city code to permit local streets to be
paved to a maximum of 27 feet and for other purposes had its second reading.
The streets are local residential streets.
Resolution 2020-29 entered into a contract of obligation with the Edpartment of Evironmental Quality as
authorized by Arkansas Code. This deals with the amount $5500 of funding required to be in our
budget to maintain our waste management transfer station. This is something that was already in place,
but the State requested that new paperwork be put in place.
A new budget meeting is scheduled to take place this Thursday in the Blue Room. A copy of the
proposed budget was provided for advance review.
The Mayor discussed how money from the General funds are being transferred to the Street Fund.
These revenues are grants that were provided fo the third entrance, the adaptive traffic signal, and
Edgewood sidewalk projects. This was a matter of putting the money into the proper fund instead of
letting our General Fund look like it had more money that it did in reality. Now we have a clearer picture
of the City's real financial condition, which is still at the legal minimum. There was a discussion about
how the Council needs to maintain a frugal attitude and keep the City operating within its means in
order to avoid any consideration of increased taxes. The budget being submitted to the Council this
year is $120,000 under budget. According to Mayor Norris there will be no layoffs, normal raises
maintained, and city services improved.
Mayor Norris also announced that he will forego his raise that was scheduled for next year. The City
Attorney pointed out that State statue required a resolution to allow the exception to be made for one year.
The BIG news is that the White Oaks Crossing was approved by Metroplan for an 80% grant to build a
new roundabout where it connects with Counts Massie.
Maumelle will only have to shoulder 20% of the cost.
Tomorrow is Election Day, so everyone get out the Vote!
October 31st, 2020 Update
For Halloween, I joined fellow Council Members (right to left) Marion Scott-Coney and John Vaprezsan, along with his daughter,
to greet trick-or-treaters driving through the City Hall parking lot to score bags of candy from Mayor Norris
and the always pleasant crew of City Hall!
I went as a Pittsburg State University Gorilla--but since I knew no one would know what that was--I just said Planet of the Apes.
It was a great time seeing the smiling faces of all the children, and more than a few adults, in costume!
October 29th, 2020 Update
October 19th, 2020 Update
This week's City Coucil meeting was another hybrid with two members attending virtually.
Problems were encountered with the live feed and the connection was lost early in the
broadcast--which is why there is no video attached to my notes for this session.
Ms. Mathis gave the September financial report.
Right now it appears that residents are slow to pay Real estate taxes.
This is putting us behind for the month, but the overall expectations are ahead for the year.
We are ahead of budget on sales tax.
The internet sales tax is increasing revenues despite the Covid 19 caused reductions
in local business sales taxes.
Most departments remain under budget, compensating for Covid-19 reductions in income and demand.
Ordinance 1003 had its third reading amending the Mayors compensation package.
This and the other compensation packages voted on tonight were all targeted to keep elected
officials in the mid range of elected officials of comparatively sized cities. Passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1004 amending city clerk treasurer compensatation had its third reading.
Ordinance 1005 amending the compensation package for the city attorney had its third reading.
Ordinance 1006 amending the compensatation schedule of city council members had its second
reading. Passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1016 had its first reading after provisions were made to the uniform catistrophic leave package.
Ordinance 1015 dealing with Noise nuisance had its first reading after changes were made in the last
meeting. There were comments made both virtually and live by residents. One of those was by a
representative of the Maumelle Country Club who suggested that the Ordinance not be enacted at this
time. A motion was made to amend section F6 to reword what was valid commercial noise. This motion
had a tied vote, broken by the Mayor in the affirmative. This reset the Ordinance back to first reading.
Ordinance 1017 amending the Master Street plan changing a section of Maumelle Valley Drive from
Collector to local street had its second reading. Crime studies and speed studies are being done to
consider the effects of this change.
Resolution 2020-27 amends the general fund budget moves funds from one account than other.
This was a simple bookkeeping action.
Early voting has started. Lines are very long at the Community Center as turnout has been very strong.
There was a discussion about motorized vehicles on the walking paths and problems from people
using bikes with electric motors. The City Attorney confirmed that electric motors on bikes do count
as motorized, which are prohibited for use on the walking trails.
The Chief of Police has been informed of this for enforcement.
October 5th, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council Meeting was another hybrid meeting, with one Council person attending
virtually, and once again there were technical difficults.
Maumelle resident Michael Johnson attended the meeting as Entergy's representative for Customer
Service, along with other representatives to discuss the recent spate of outages experienced by the City.
They made a presentation about Entergy's plans for the infrastructure in the past and future. We are
served by three sub-stations, with the third MacArthur substation having come on line in recent months,
increasing our capacity for well into the future--especially in the new third entrance area.
Public Inflicted Damage has been responsible for our most recent outages--better known as vehicle
impacts. The first of most recent outages on the 8th was in the Northwest section, which has
underground cables, but overhead lines feeding them, which is where the problem occurred,
suspected to be a dump truck with its bed up‹catching three spans of overhead wires and taking out two poles.
The second outage on the 13th that occurred only a few days later was when a cross arm on a pole
broke, which is suspected to have been damaged in recent weather--or fatigued. Delays in repair were
due to inaccessibility for their equipment, which required wood cutting to clear access.
I inquired about their cable replacement program and how it pertains to Ward 3, which has some of the
oldest underground cable in the city. During the presentation he had mentioned how they do have a
program that is replacing cables in areas, and promised to give me future information on how that will
affect the older part of the City.
Jeff Van Patten made a public question on if Entergy could increase the frequency of their inspections
from the current five year time period, especially after severe weather events, and to increase the
system's capacity for redundancy as a back up for outages. The response was that the five year period
has worked well for the state, but that special inspections will be done in areas that have had damage.
It was said that Entergy is currently increasing redundancy capacity.
Other public comment came from Leslie Rush, who is concerned about a council member's recent
newspaper editorial dealing with a certain dog breed.
Melissa Tubbs also chimed in on the same matter as Ms. Rush, and presented numerous pictures to
support her opinion.
Last year a proposed measure to rewrite city code failed to rewrite our ordinance dealing with dogs and
a ban on Pit Bull dogs (more on this at the end of this report).
Ordinance 1003 amending the compensation schedule of the elected position of Mayor had its second
reading. This and the following resolutions were tabled earlier in the year due to the Covid 19
Pandemic. By City ordinance these wages are due for review every other year. I served on the
committee that made this and the following recommendations--back in February. The Mayor has had
not change in compensation since 2015.
Ordinance 1004 amending the compensation for the City Clerk/Treasurer had its second reading.
Ordinance 1005 amending the compensation for the City Attorney had its second reading.
Ordinance 1005 amending the compensation for City Council Members had its second reading.
Ordinance 1016 adopting provisions for a program in compliance with the Arkansas Uniform
Catastrophic Leave Program. This was the third reading. In the past this was a committee program,
which was a program that had been largely forgotten in recent years, and previous records thought lost.
Since our previous meeting, the last record was discovered to have been in 2012 with 7,022 hours
accumulated on the books, which Mayor Norris requested to be the starting balance for the new
program. Council Member Gardner requested that we establish 180 days as the limit of consecutive
days and the total number of days that can be used in a five year period. These changes takes this
program back to the first reading. The motion to make these changes passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1015 clarifying actions considered to be a noise nuisance had its second reading. My
question dealt with Section F, dealing with construction and lawn maintenance equipment to be
allowed to operate until 10PM. I made a motion that this be changed to 8PM. It did not get a second. I
made another motion to change this to 9PM. It got a second, but it was requested that all the times
changed, which would include music and caused the person who seconded the earlier motion to
withdraw. So lawn mowers will still be allowed to run until 9:30 at night or later. Generators operating
during a power outage were added as an exception. This motion passed unanimously, taking this
ordinance back to first reading.
Ordinance 1017 amends the master street plan to downgrade the classification of a specific section
of proposed Maumelle Valley Drive in Phase 19 of Maumelle Valley Estate addition from a Collector or
a Local Street. On the plan a street is indicated but has never been built. Currently the proposed
roadway connecting Maumelle Valley Drive up to Osage would be too steep to meet Master Plan
Collector Street grade requirements, which is why the request is for a revision to a residential street. A
concern here is to allow fire trucks better access between neighboring communities. One resident
spoke asking for the plan to be changed and requested stop signs be placed in two areas due to
increased population and traffic. He also requested that speed and crime studies be done, and for the
Ordinance be tabled until after those could be done. A second resident spoke about safety concerns
from increased traffic, and requested the plan be changed from a street to a golf paths.
This was the first reading.
Resolution 2020-25 certifies to the Pulaski County Clerk the rate of taxation to be levied on City of
Maumelle real and personal property. This is recertifying the tax rate at the same level it is already
at. This is simple housekeeping required by law. It passed unanimously.
Council person Williams discussed recent concerns expressed by residents dealing with bicycle safety,
where riders are acting in a dangerous manner to pedestrians on the pathways--especially children
and animals. She proposed that we erect signs along the paths instructing cyclists, especially in the
Lake Willistein area, to be mindful of pedestrians and recognize that they do not have right of way.
Bikers should pass on the left, and warn pedestrians when they approach from the rear. Her request
was approved by the Council.
Mayor Norris introduced his new Chief of Staff, Sarah Smith. This was her first day on the job.
Council Member Mosley discussed his recent editorial and how he considers pit bulls to be "sweet,
until they kill." He conceded it was a harsh editorial that ran in the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette.
Anticipating that the dog ordinance will come before the Council again in the next year or so, his stated
point was to "Give the residents a heads up" and encourage residents to question candidates
campaigning for office in this year's elections about their stance on this issue.
September 25th, 2020 Update
September 21st, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council meeting was another hybrid meeting, with one council-person attending virtually.
During the meeting the Zoom connection lost him, as happened during the last meeting.
Finance Director Liz Mathis gave the monthly financial report.
Taxes and fees are behind budget and the previous year,
but expenses are also below budget, all due to Covid-19's impact.
So far they are balancing out.
One key exception is the city sales tax.
Year to date we are up around 15%, or $113,000.
Ordinance 991 adopting payment of sick leave for Police officers in the event of death. The issue here is the state
mandated limit on accrued hours being less than what the City has allowed. The ordinance is to bring
the City into compliance with state law. That said, it's very unpleasant to reduce a benefit, regardless of
whether it was legal or not. The ordinance passed 6 to 1, with one absent counting as an additional no.
Hopefully this law can be adjusted on the state level in the future, which would result in this ordinance
being updated and a return to the benefits previously offered.
Ordinance 1016 dealing with the creation of a catastrophic leave program had its second reading.
In the past this was a policy, not an ordinance. In the past there was a board that made the
decisions about benefits.
Ordinance 1015 clarifies what constitutes a public noise nuisance, and establishes limits to the level of
noise allowed. This was the first reading. There was discussion about including commercial with noise
restrictions. This motion failed. One example discussed was a car wash that recently played their music
late at night. According to the City Attorney, this was noise not caused by their commercial activity, and
would already be covered in the language of the ordinance as written.
Mayor Norris announced that Entergy will have representatives appear during the next Council
meeting to discuss to outage problems recently experienced in the City.
The BIG NEWS is that City is finally under contract to proceed next week with the redevelopment of
Crystal Hill Road. This is a major, multi-phase project and there will be times that the road will be closed,
but local residents will be enabled access. Ground breaking is on Thursday, October 1st at 10AM.
CAW provided a schedule to reduce water fees instituted to cover the expenses of the takeover from
Maumelle Water. CAW has removed one surcharge already, with another scheduled to be removed in
2014, and the long term surcharge to be removed in 2032. I know everyone will be happy to see these
fees reduced. If the change to CAW had not been made, then the city would most like be paying rates
similar to what is being charged now, except with low quality water and no hope of the rates being
reduced. It's been a difficult time with the high water rates, but these will be going down incrementally.
There was also a discussion about controlling the crowds attending the Department of Motor Vehicles
in City Hall. Several options were considered to reduce the size of crowds waiting inside the building.
Discussions will continue with the State.
September 8th, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council meeting honored the retirement of long-time Mayor's assistant Jack Stowe,
and named him as the Mayor's Employee of the Month for April.
There was a presentation by the Director of Planning and Permits, Scott Grummer, of the North
Maumelle Area strategic development plan. This is the northwest corner of the Morgan exit, next to I-40,
where owners have agreed on a preliminary plan. Now the City is investigating available grants and
further developmental plans. The landowners will be making the final decision in any plan. This was
strictly an informational presentation. There is a possibility of annexation in the future.
During the discussion of the minutes from the last meeting, the restrictions on smoking in public park
areas was clarified. See the end of this report for even further clarification.
Director Mike Hogan discussed that upgrades have been made in drainage due to all the rainfall that
has been experienced lately.
Ordinance 1914 amending sections 82-7 of the Maumelle City code to clarify what kind of vehicles can
park on city streets passed unanimously. Two Council members were present remotely, but their
connection was lost, so the vote will show 6-2 on all unanimous votes.
Ordinance 991 for the adoption of a provision to the accrual of sick leave for Police Department
personal had its second reading. There was no discussion.
Resolution 2020-21 to allow a child day care center in a commercial center passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-22 granting a conditional use permit to allow a splash pad permit in an open zoning
district. The Planning Commission had questions about the parking situation in a open space area
during their approval process, causing them to give this Resolution a Do Not Pass recommendation.
Right now the Charter School is planning to allow overflow traffic into their parking lot whenever it
exceeds current on-street parking. City code has no provisions requiring parking space for public
parks. The Resolution passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1016 adopting provisions for the program in compliance with the Arkansas uniform
catastrophic leave program. This will apply to full time employees who have been employed for a
certain number of years. First reading.
Resolution 2020-23 expresses a willingness to utilized federal aid transportation funds to install a
roundabout at the White Oaks intersection with Country Club Parkway. This Resolution is the first step
in the grant process. Right now the split looks 75% cost to Maumelle, and the rest to North Little Rock.
Hopefully Metroplan will approve the grant by the end of the year. Should that happen, the plan would
go to the Highway department for approval. There is the hope that this could be constructed in the next
year and a half. There are a total of 15 projects applying for this funding. Passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-24 amends the 2020 Covid-19 relief fund budget. This deals with receiving federal
funds to reimburse the City for expenses in dealing with the pandemic. Passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-25 reallocated a FEMA grant to its own fund to track how it is being spent with greater
clarity. Passed unanimously.
The Mayor commented about how there have been positive tests for City employees, some of which
have already returned to work.
The City Hall renovations are wrapping us, as attendees to the Council meeting noticed. The gallery
now has comforatable seating that is a major improvement over the chairs used in previous years.
Right now the Revenue Office is seeing several hour delays. It is suggested that people target the
middle of the month for their visits.
If anyone is curious about the cameras being installed with the lights along the Boulevard, the adaptive
traffic signal system is currently being installed. The completion date is still unknown. Once complete, it
should alleviate traffic congestion.
City Attorney Krebs clarified that she had found an ordinance that smoking is prohibited on walking
trails. Signs my be posted soon, since many people seem to be currently unaware of this.
August 17th, 2020 Update
In tonight's meeting, Miss Mathis presented the City's July financial report.
The City is trending at or ahead of budget for the year,
and revenues have remained surprisingly strong, considering the effects of the pandemic.
Ordinance 992 adopting provisions for the Fire Department sick leave accrual was passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1014 amending section 82-7 of the Maumelle City Code, clarifying which vehicles are
prohibited from parking on city streets had its second reading.
Ordinance 991 adopting provisions for sick leave accruals for the Police had its first reading,
having been rewritten at the last meeting.
Resolution 2020-20 to allow the Mayor to issue the down payment for a new fire engine.
The $310,000 was already in the budget and set aside in the Capital Improvement Fund.
Passed 7 to 1.
Mayor's comments were about the numbers of Covid-19 infections.
Cumulative cases are 196 in the city, with active case at 26, which is a reduction from the last report.
City Hall remodel continues, but will not shut down during the renovations.
Odom North has begun to be overlaid from the Blvd to Woodland.
The street fencing near Overland has been damaged by a hit and run driver and quotes for the repairs
are being collected.
The rewrite to the noise ordinance proposed at the last meeting is in development and will come before
the Council at the next meeting.
The Facilities Board sill has an opening and needs applications.
August 7th, 2020 Update
Mayor Norris shared the current Covid-19 pandemic numbers from ACHI
(Arkansas Center for Health Improvement) for Maumelle and the 72113 zip code,
and, while you would prefer no infections at all, the news isn't real bad.
As you can see, currently only 0.14% are cases of active infection.
That's less than 3 out of every 2,000 people.
August 3rd, 2020 Update
This was the first meeting in the new, spacious City Council chamber.
Scott Grummer was appointed as the head of the newly combine planning, zoning, and code enforcement department.
Mister Grummer most recently served as the Mayor's Chief of Staff.
His appointment leaves a vacancy in that position.
Ordinance 991 adopting provisions for Police Officer sick leave accruals and for other purposes.
This ordinance is intended to bring Maumelle into compliance with State mandated requirements found
in Arkansas Code Annn. 14-52-107. This Ordinance came before the Council several months ago, but
was tabled until the Attorney General could issue an opinion defining the number of hours in a "Work Day."
The opinion issued is that a work day would be construed as 8 hours.
This had been an issue because the officers work 12 shifts, three days one week and four days the next.
It had also been discussed about allowing the maximum number of hours accrued to be paid out in the event of death.
That number of hours would be 540 employee hours--which is an understandably hard hit for the
officers who were previously allowed to accrue 1200--which is in violation of the aforementioned State Code.
A motion to add this back into the Ordinance passed unanimously.
Because of this addition, the Ordinance reverts back to its first reading at the next Council meeting.
Ordinance 992 adopting provisions for the payment of Fire Fighter sick leave accruals and payment at
death or other purpose had its second reading. No discussion
Ordinance 1014 amends Section 82-7 of the City Code to clarify those vehicles prohibited from parking
on City streets. The question of what constitutes a large trucks/vehicles from being parked on the
streets and private property overnight. This was the first reading.
Resolution 2020-18 authorizes the Mayor to sign an engagement letter authorizing audit services for
the 2019 financial audit. Passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-19 approves and certifies the amount of liens to be filed with the Pulaski County Tax
Collector against certain problem properties that have not been properly maintained and required the
city to hire someone to cut the grass. This allows the City to recoup its expenses in dealing with these
nuisances. Passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-20 is an item that will come before the Council in the next meeting. It will authorize the
Mayor to issue a purchase order to make a down payment for the purpose of acquiring a new fire truck.
It would be half down, an amount that the Council had previously allotted and set aside. The balance
would be paid next year. According the Chief Ezell the build time would be twelve to thirteen
months. Engine #2 is the truck to be replaced, and was intended remain as a reserve truck for use in
another station when Maumelle expands toward the 3rd entrance. However, the truck is deteriorating at
an unexpected rate and now requires a new engine, so there is a possibility this plan could change.
Because of the increase of costs in maintaining this vehicle it may be retired next, and an older truck
kept to take its place. We currently have one ladder truck and three engines, and a squad that serves
as a second ladder. The total anticipated price for this new vehicle is $620,000.
The Mayor then gave an update on the Covid-19 pandemic and its affect on Maumelle.
As of July 27 Maumelle has had 165 cumulative cases. That is not the active number.
The deadline for filing to run for City Council in this year's election is drawing near, so anyone with an
interest in service should get their petitions signed and filed.
Bids came in for rebuilding Crystal Hill road have come in, but the price has increased
considerably since the bonds were issued in 2014. Fortunately, by having redesigned the road, we
should still come in under the funds collected.
City Hall renovations are nearing completion. See the photos below for the new Council Chamber
and the view of the lake from the Blue Room, where budgets discussions will be held.
During Council comments, it was discussed about recent complaints made about a particular noise
problem during a party at the Maumelle Country Club that lasted until 10:45 PM. The noise has been
described as having a concert in a residential area. Because of this and other noise issues, it was
discussed that we need to upgrade the ordinance from the language of Appropriate noise levels.
The City Attorney will be drafting an Ordinance that will provide more specific guidelines.
July 20th, 2020 Update
Tonight's meeting was the last one to be held in the virtual world.
Starting with the next meeting, the Council returns to live meetings held at City Hall.
Ordinance 1008 to ammend the City Code to allow the Mayor to appoint a staff member
to act as a City spokesperson in meetings with the Planning & Zoning Commissions passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1009 to ammend the Zoning Map (discussed previously) also passed unanimously.
Ordinance 1013 to enact supplimental provisions of the City Code passed recently by the Council
and to provide a manner and time for adjusting those Codes had its first reading.
Resolution 2020-17 to authorize the City to enter into contracts with third party
vendors to provide the bidding process for the purchase of equipment for the
Splash Pad passed unanimously.
The Mayor provided the Council with an update concerning the Governor's recent mask mandate
in connection to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and provided some numbers about the
impact on Maumelle.
During the course of this pandemic, Maumelle has reported a total of 153 cases,
with 41 of those cases occuring in one nursing home.
It has been estimated that there have been a dozen deaths in the City, with the majority
of those deaths occuring in the striken nursing home.
There are currently 34 quarantined addresses within the City.
That does not mean that these are ongoing infections--only that they
are quarantined as a safety precaution, and City Services has been notified
so that they can handle any potential emergencies at these addresses in a safe manner.
July 6th, 2020 Update
Tonight's meeting was another one held in the virtual world.
Ordinance 991, dealing with revisions to the sick leave accrual for Maumelle Police, was back
once again for a third reading. We are still waiting for an opinon to be issued by the
Attorney General, so it was once again tabled--this time until August 3rd.
Ordinance 992, dealing with revisions to the Firefighter's sick leave accrual had its 1st reading.
This should put the third reading at the same time as that for the Police Officers.
There was no discussion.
Ordinance 1008, amending the city code to allow the Mayor to designate someone to represent
him in Planning commision meetings had its second reading. There was no discussion.
Ordianance 1009 ammends the Zoning map on property at White Oaks Crossing from a C3 to a C2
had its second reading. There was no discussion.
The theme of no discussion would not continue after the Mayor brought up the Governor's declaration
that Arkansas cities are free to write their own rules concerning the use of facemasks
to deal with the issue of Covid-19. After much discussion, the Council voted unanimously
to pass a resolution: "to encourage the use of facemasks while in public."
This is neither a law nor a requirement.
But it will empower a business owner to have a patron removed who does not adhere to
that business' policy. There were many reasons to stop short of a mandate, with Council
Member Saunders discussing his own health issues when wearing a mask, and other issues
where a mask could possibly do harm.
In my personal experience, 80 to 90% of people I see about town are already wearing masks
while out in public. Encumbering the police force with a law that the Chief has described as
"unenforceable" could possible create more problems than good. Please be kind to others,
regardless of whether they make the same choices as you, or not.
June 17th, 2020 Update
Here is Maumelle's latest update dealing with the pandemic:
June 15th, 2020 Update
Tonight's virtual Council Meeting had a theme: the word "No."
It started on a positive note as Mayor Norris introduced Maumelle's new Director of Finance,
Ms. Liz Matthews, formerly Chief Financial Officer at Hot Springs Village.
Ms. Shannon Vega, the current Director is leaving after Thursday, so the timing his good.
We welcome Ms. Matthews to Maumelle, and bid a sad farewell to Ms. Vega, who has done
an outstanding job during her time with us. She will be missed.
The first two items on the agenda were Ordinance 1001 and 1002, dealing with the re-Zoning
and rewrite of the Land Use map in conjunction with Central Arkansas Water's potential sale of
the former Waste Treatment Plant property in the center of the Maumelle Country Club.
I have to admit that his was a tough call.
I agree with those Council-members who voted in favor, which would potentially afford the city
even greater control over what was built there--and had no problems with the proposed
PRD (Play Recreational Development) zoning.
The reason I voted No on both Ordinances was because of concerns over the issue of easement.
There are very real concerns over leaving access where it is now. In both the prior meetings I
proposed moving easement first to the South and then to the North. I was glad when the Mayor
indicated that the Club finally showed some willingness to work on the matter and consider the
South option. Should this matter come up again, with the easement in place to the South,
my vote would be different.
The Zoning change narrowly failed by a vote of 3-5,
and the Land Use change failed by a vote of 1-7.
Ordinance 1008 proposes to allow the Mayor to assign a disignee to represent the city in
applications made to the Planning Commission. If this proposal sounds familiar, that's because it is.
This change was previously approved by the Council, but then needed to go to the Planning Commission
for approval. It was approved and now it's back for final approval by the Council.
The was the first of three readings.
Ordianance 1009 ammends the Zoning map on property at White Oaks Crossing from a C3 to a C2.
This same property also came before the Council earlier in the year, and was approved for the C3 Zoning.
Now they've realized that they should have requested a C2, which would allow a gas station.
An exception was made to not force them to wait the standard 12 months between applications.
However, a request to fast track this reZoning to have all three readings done in the same meeting
was defeated in a vote of 1-7.
There will be two more readings.
A proposal to merge the Planning & Zoning departments with the Permits Department was
approved unanimously. This will streamline operations.
Mayor Norris also announced that the 4th of July Independence Day Fireworks will take place.
There will also be a convoy parade (vehicles only) starting at 4PM.
Check the city website for a parade route map.
Individual fireworks will be allowed on the 4th of July between 4:30 and 10:30PM.
Everyone please adhere to these hours, stay on your own property and be mindful of your neighbors, especially those with dogs,
and be certain to clean up any mess afterward.
The Governor has also announced that Arkansas has entered Phase 2 of dealing with Covid-19.
As a result, Maumelle's playgrounds are once again open.
As with the fireworks, please be mindful of others.
The Council also voted No on returning the next meeting to City Hall.
Everyone have a wonderful Independence Day!
June 8th, 2020 Update
City Clerk Tina Timmons recently reached out to Central Arkansas Water, asking for
details about how the money from the sale of the parcil of land on the Maumelle Country Club
would be applied to reducing the debt from the changeover.
This is their response, that Tina just shared with the Council and myself:
The sale proceeds would go towards paying down outstanding debt highest interest
rate first which is the latest maturities. It would not reduce the billed monthly charge in
the short term, rather it would go towards taking the charge entirely off the bills sooner.
Yes. There is active oversight. The Maumelle long-term surcharges go into a
separate account and can only be used to pay Maumelle debt service.
We make periodic reports to the CAW Commission regarding status. Here are notes
from our last Commission meeting update:
· Original bond issue amounted to $22,750,000
· At January 2020 outstanding debt amounted to $17,660,000
· Scheduled average annual principal payment is approximately $650,000 based on
· Approximately $650,000 in additional principal is paid annually (excluding sale proceeds)
· Based on current projections anticipate debt payoff in April 2032 (14 years ahead
of original maturity date).
June 1st, 2020 Update
The virtual Council tour continues for another meeting:
Ordinances 1001 and 1002 were tabled until next meeting by a request of the petitioner.
I think this is a good thing, and hope their intent to negotiate the easement issue with
the MCC board yeilds results. As you will notice by my notes on May 31st, there has been a lot of
misunderstanding about what would happen with this vote. I had one caller who informed me
that everyone she had talked to were under the impression that a NO vote on the rezoning
request would result in the land being given to the Club, and the easement going away.
Neither of these things are going to happen. Since I've made more details available for
residents to consider, I've had several tell me that they no longer opposed the request.
Hopefully, the Club will realize that the easement to this locked property will not go away,
is required by law, and will come to an agreement that everyone will be able to live with.
Ordinance 1007 to provide retirement benefits for the City Attorney passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-3, allows the State Department of Finance and Administration to be
authorized to participate in the Tax Back Program provided by the Consolidated Incentive Act
of 2003, and refund local and state sales and use taxes to Cypress Cold Storage.
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-14 amends the general fund budget to allow the City to hire a new Finance
Director and a temporary Receptionist. The City has been falling behind on the mandated
audits, and Ms. Vega, the current Finance Director has announced she will be leaving, so this
will provide her an opportunity not to just catch up, but train the new Director.
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-15 amends the general budget to replace a broken shaft in the recirculating
pump at the Dowel Naylor Aquatic Center. It passed unanimously.
With all this budget increase resolutions, one might worry that the city is over-spending.
Fortunately, in her financial presentation, Director Vega informed the Council that tax revenues
have actually increased during the Covid-19 Pandemic--despite the monthly payback
to the state for they overpayment made earlier in the year.
People stayed closer to home and spent their money locally--in March.
May 31st, 2020 Update
I've been getting mail about an issue to be voted on tomorrow,
dealing with the rezoning of a land-locked parcel on the Maumelle Country Club,
presented here in an old satellite photo that shows the old water treatment plant that
has since been removed and the land environmentally restored.
By law, easement has to be allowed to property with no other access.
There is an easement already in place, which is what the Club is currently fighting.
I doubt the developer will ever win their attempt to widen that easement to 85 feet,
but the existing 50 easement is already in place.
The only other choice would be to move it--and the only place to move it would be to reroute the road.
The only other avenue of access would be to go north and connect the property to
the dead-end roundabout at the end of Quapaw Trail.
Right now no one is discussing doing that.
But if you look at the map, if the current easement is not used, this would be the only other option.
Another thing that the residents are not taking into consideration is the animosity being
created between CAW and the Club.
CAW has repeatedly asked--and I have also asked during Council meetings--what would the Club prefer?
Every time the same answer is; "Not my job."
I beg to differ.
If the Club is unwilling to work on a compromise that they feel would work best for them,
then it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that they'll end up with something they don't like.
Confrontation is not the best tack to take when the law says that easement must be allowed.
When the Club's representative brought up to the Council that the money generated would only
save Maumelle residents two months on their utility bills, I wanted to know exactly what kind
of money he was talking about, and got the answer.
After the meeting, that same person wrote about how it wasn't the Council's job to consider the
money being paid--apparently forgetting that he was the one who brought the subject up in the first place.
You can't have it both ways--and right now that seems to be the stance that the Club is taking.
Central Arkansas Water will not be abandoning that property.
It will be sold, and so an easement is going to have to go somewhere.
Also, I think it's been forgotten about how big a mess CAW took over from Maumelle Water.
Our water systems had no upgrades or improvements done in 30 years, despite regular rate hikes.
When I asked one CAW maintenance worker about how bad it was, he replied,
"They did things I've NEVER seen."
When asked to elaborate, he replied that he was not allowed to.
MW was a mess, and CAW is looking to reduce the unexpected debt being passed on to residents.
Right now the realtor is already getting other offers on the property that are standing in line if this
deal falls through--which it very well may with the opposition it's getting.
But we have no idea what those offers are or what might go in the place of residential dwellings--
which are exactly the same kind of developments that surround the course.
The current Open Space zoning (page CD94:57 of the city code book) allows for Public Utility or
Educational buildings and facilities, either of which might generate much more traffic than 20-24 homes.
Changing the zoning to residential would protect the community from that happening.
The easement issue is not part of the current issues being decided, but that will come later.
So, as you can see, I'm worried that giving the residents what they're asking for, which would be
the easiest and most popular thing to do, might have adverse long term affects that the
community is not anticipating.
I've not yet decided how I'm going to vote on Monday, because I want to listen to the arguments
given in the final round of discussion before making that choice.
But I want to do what is best to protect our wonderful community for the long-term, and wanted to
share some of the details that many people may not be aware of.
May 18th, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council meeting was once again held in the virtual world.
Ordinanace 1001, amending the land use plan in concern to the CAW waste water location in
the middle of the Maumelle Country Club golf course had its second reading and once again
generated considerable conversation.
City Attorney Krebs was asked to again read city code 94-492 dealing with the preservation of
open spaces, and 54-79 concerning when to ammend the code criteria.
One thing that was repeatedly brought up was the price being paid for the parcel of land,
and how MCC (Maumelle Country Club) had made an offer that had been rejected.
With Central Arkansas Water being a publicly traded company, those details were available
when I asked.
The 4-acre parcel of land has been appraised with a $295,000 value.
The current offer to CAW is $250,000.
The MCC offer that was rejected was $25,000.
The realtor also indicated that he has received other interested calls since the issue was
discussed on the local news.
($250,000 for four acres calculates out to less than $1.44 per square foot)
The third and final reading of this ordinance will be at the next meeting, when the vote is taken.
Ordinance 1002, amending the zoning map for the same parcel of land only generated one
question from Council Member Mosley, who wanted to know if the rezoning would adversely
affect the community. The final reading and vote will be during the next meeting.
Ordinance 1007, providing retirement benefits for the City Attorney had its second reading
and generated some conversation. Again, the final reading and vote will take place next meeting.
There were two openings to be filled on the Civil Service Commission, and four candidates.
All four candidates were excellet applicants, and there were no wrong choices to be made.
The five-year term created by the retirement of Doug Coney was voted 6-2 in favor of Sheila Sharp.
The two-year term to fill the balance of the term vacated by Ray Schwankhart was voted
unanimously in favor of Greg Northen.
I would like to thank applicants Bynum Matthews and Gary Washam for also applying.
As I said before, there were no wrong choices, regardless of who was selected.
Resolution 2020-12 renewed a Title 6 Program for the transportation of Muamelle's senior
citizens. It was approved unanimously.
The Mayor announced that the Maumelle Swimming Pool is currently on schedule ro open at
its regular time of May 23rd--this weekend--barring any announcements made to the
contrary by the governor.
Mayor Norris also mentioned that the launch of the See Click Fix App has so far had 84 items
reported. If you see a road kill, pothole, or street light out, this is the quickest way to get
these issues resolved.
The Mayor also announced that this week is Municipal Clerk Week, in recognition of City Clerk
Tina Timmons. Congratulations, Tina!
May 8th, 2020 Update
Mayor Norris released this COVID-19 Update:
"This afternoon Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health provided
a new directive authorizing municipal pools to open in a couple weeks as long as
specific health and safety measures are followed. I am confident that our Parks and
Recreation Department is able to create an environment that complies with and in
some cases exceeds the Department of Health's requirements. With this in mind, I am
excited to announce that the Maumelle Aquatic Center will open Saturday, May 23, 2020."
"Additionally, effective Thursday, May 14, 2020, all outdoor basketball courts in City
parks will be open for use by individuals. Proper social distancing is encouraged at the
courts and gatherings of more than ten people is strongly discouraged. Please note
that the indoor basketball courts in the Community Center will remain closed pursuant
to the Department of Health's May 4th directive regarding gyms and fitness centers."
For more information, visit:
http://www.maumelleparksandrec.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/maumelleparksandrec/
May 4th, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council meeting was once again held virtually, and there was a lot
of tabling going on.
Ordinance 991 dealing with vacation pay for police officers and firemen is still waiting for an
opinion from the Attorney General, and was voted unanimously to be tabled until the first
meeting in July.
Ordinance 1001 ammends the land use plan for the site where the old Maumelle Water Plant
operated. Central Arkansas Water (CAW) has cleared the land and gotten a clean letter of
environmental saftey. They plan to sell the land to a buyer who intends to erect multi-family
dwellings there, the proceeds from which will go to pay down CAW's debts from their takeover
of Maumelle Water, thereby reducing the water bill of all Maumelle Water customers.
The problem with this property is easment. It is surrounded by the gold course of Country
Club of Arkansas, and the developer's plan is to use the same easement as did Maumelle
Water. This is a plan that is faught with problems, being that it goes right through the most
heavily trafficked cart paths on the course.
I encouraged CAW and the Club to consider working on a compromise, the best of which sounds
like it would be to the South of the clubhouse.
But right now the two ordinances in front of the Council deal only with the Land Use in
Ordinance 1001 and ammending the Zoning Map in 1002, taking the property from
Open Space to PRD zoning.
The next set of Ordinances, 1003 through 1007, deal with elected official compensations
for the Mayor (1003), the City Clerk (1004), the City Attorney (1005), the City Council (1006),
and Retirement benefits for the City Attorney. All of these ordinances had votes to table their
second readings until October 5.
I served on the committee that made these salary adjustment recommendations, which were
finalized in February, well before the Covid-19 Pandemic struck. At the time we felt our
recommendations were very conservative, taking into consideration a list of 10 similar, peer cities,
and keeping Maumelle's compensation in the middle of that pack.
When the econmic uncertainty of the pandemic struck, we decided to hold off making our
recommendations until the very last day permitted by law. It still wasn't a long enough time,
and given the current economic uncertainy, Ordinances 1003 through 1006 were all voted
unanimously to have their second readings tabled until October 5th.
Ordinance 1007 was voted unanimously to continue having readings made, since it deals
the retirement benefits of the City Attorney, and will have no immediate effect on the city's budget.
The City Attorney later brought the Council up to date on the city's escrow agreement with
Newton Ranch LLC, dealing with Counts Massey/White Oaks road extension. Half of the escrow
had been previously funded to the city, but the other half of $61,875 was considered defaulted
because the stipulation that all properties must be tied to wastewater lines by this time.
The reason this did not happen is because of the fee NLR Wastewater intended to impose
of $1184 per acre. This would have cost the city far more than the escrow, and the
decision was made to abandon it.
The Mayor announced that the Community Center opens their walking tracks and their
weight and fitness room tomorrow. Vistoers will be screened first.
However, the city's outdoor playgrondd and basketball courts remain closed.
Other city news is that the Click Fix web program launches tomorrow, allowing residents to
easily report street lights that may be out, pop holes, or stray dogs.
April 20th, 2020 Update
In keeping with social distancing guidelines, tonights City Council meeting was the
first to be done as a remote podcast.
Ordinance 996 Accepting Dedication of Streets & Drainage of certain streets
and drainage associated with the IM at White Oak Crossing had its third reading,
and passed by a unanimous vote.
Ordinance 997 Amending Maumelle Land Use Plan, changing 2.684 acres at the
northeast corner of Diamond Park Lane and White Oak Crossing, SW ? , SE ? ,
of Section 34, Township 3N Range 13 West from SUR to COMM, had its third reading.
Property owner Mark Redder joined the conversation and explained that he does not know
what the actual use will be for the property. He mentioned that the purchaser by the name of
Singh had indicated that the use might be a strip malls, but nothing is certain.
Unlike at the Planning Commission meetings, no residents spoke on the matter.
The Ordinance passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Ordinance 998 Amending Maumelle Zoning Map, changing 2.684 acres at the
northeast corner of Diamond Park Lane and White Oak Crossing of Section 34,
Township 3N Range 13 West from PRD to C-3 had its third reading.
It passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Ordinance 995, which allows internet auction for the purchase of goods and services,
had its third reading and passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-9 Amends the 2020 General Fund Budget to move funds from
Capital Improvements to the Operating line items for Vehicle Rental for Police Department.
It passed by a vote of 7 to 1.
Resolution 2020-10 Amends the 2020 General Fund Budget appropriating funds to
Parks and Recreation from a private donation received for the Splash Pad project
This was a situation where the donation was made in error to the City, and this simply
moved the money where it was intended. If this vote had failed, the donation would have
had to be refunded. The Resolution passed 6 to 2.
Resolution 2020-11 Authorizes the Maumelle Fire Department to complete the desgin
specifications for a new Fire Engine. Again, this is for design only. Not an actual purchase.
A motion was made to table this resolution indefinately and have the Mayor approve
the design. This motion passed by a vote of 7 to 1. I was the lone vote against,
since creating the design would have cost the City nothing if the Resoltuion had been approved.
There was some further discussion about the City's response to the Covid-19 pandemic,
and how we did NOT want to enact police enforcement of the social distancing guidelines.
There was also some discussion on the self-reporting for the nationwide Census.
Maumelle currently ranks #5 in Arkansas for self-census.
The Mayor mentioned that if another 4% of Maumelle's population were to fill out their
census reports, we could be #1 in the State.
April 6th, 2020 Update
They told us that the new City Council Chamber would be a lot bigger than the old one,
but this ...
... this was the temporary Chamber set up at the Jesse Odom Community Center basketball court
to enable social distancing during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Council did NOT engage in a slam dunk competition.
Fire Chief Ezelle was at the door, screening all who entered.
This took the phrase "checking the temperature of the crowd" to a whole other level.
One person was absent from the meeting, meaning that any unanimous votes will be listed
on the official record as a 7 to 1 vote.
Right at the beginning of the meeting the Mayor mentioned how he is staying in contact with the
Mayors of our neighboring cities in order to coordinate any actions taken during the pandemic,
and that NO CURFEW is being planned in Maumelle at this time.
Ordinance 996 for City accepting the dedication of certain streets and drainage associated with
the IM at White Oak Crossing had its second reading.
There was no discussion on the matter.
Ordinance 997 had its second reading amending the current Land Use Plan for the Northeast
corner of Diamond Park Lane and White Oak Crossing. Council Member Mosley discussed how
he has concerns about rezoning the property without knowing what the actual use will be.
Council Member Scott discussed about how she felt that having commercial use on the property
would be better than a potential apartment complex, which the current zoning would allow.
Ordinance 998 had its second reading for amending the Zoning Map for the property discussed
in Ordinance 997. There was no discussion on this.
Ordinance 995 allowng the city to conduct internet auctions for surplus properties had its
first reading. There was no further discussion.
Ordinance 1000 amends Chapter 2 Artcile 2 to change the meaning of 'present' at a City
Council or Planning Commission meaning to include attendance by electronic means.
An Emergency Clause was enacted and all three readings of this Ordinance took place.
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-7 amends the 2020 Sanitation Fund. The State Recycling District had budget cuts, meaning the city either had to replace the lost funds or cancel Spring Cleanup.
It passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-8 allows the Mayor, or the Mayor's Designess, to apply directly to the
Planning Commission for future Ordinances. It passed unanimously.
March 26th, 2020 Update
Mayor Norris released the following statement today:
Effective immediately, Maumelle is closing playgrounds at all City parks.
The City of Maumelle has been diligent in disinfecting playgrounds but we want to
take reasonable precautions to ensure that we protect our children and our citizens
as a whole from the spread of COVID-19. City parks will still remain open, but
we encourage individual responsibility in preventing the spread of disease.
Please stay home when you are sick, wash your hands frequently, cover
your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and practice social distancing. Also, please
adhere to social distancing even on our walking trails and sidewalks.
March 19th, 2020 Update
After the Governor's speech today, the City of Maumelle has now updated our response
to the Covid-19 pandemic.
March 18th, 2020 Update
Here is the latest update on how the Covid-19 is affecting Maumelle.
I've also heard that most, if not all, banks are closing their lobbies and restricting
all transactions to their drive through windows.
March 17th, 2020 Update
I just received the following notice from Mayor Norris:
Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Maumelle Center on the Lake will be
closed to the public. In order to continue to provide nutritious meals to those who rely
on the Center's Café, the Café will open from 11am-1pm weekdays for carryout
meals only. Essential Transportation services will continue. The Center will remain
closed until further notice. Our number one priority is to do everything we can to help
protect the health and safety of our 50+ population.
March 16th, 2020 Update
On a night when the nationwide pandemic is causing most public gatherings to either
be cancelled or be limited in attendance, the City Council met to deal with a very full agenda
in a marathon session.
Ordinance 993 that I had proposed to adjust the Business License Fee Schedule,
and redirect those monies to funding the Police and Fire Departments failed on a 6-2 vote.
Shown here is the bottom line of a fact sheet I destributed concerning the proposed change,
which would have represented a modest $25 increase for most businesses in Maumelle:
Given the recent impact of the Covid-19 virus on businesses, I had expected this reaction and
considered postponing the vote until a later date. But with no end in sight for the
pandemic, decided to let the vote take place.
More on Covid-19 later.
Ordinance 996 had its first reading and deals with the dedication of certain streets and
drainage, associated with the IM development at White Oak Crossing, to the city.
Ordinances 997 and 998 both dealt with the undeveloped property at the corner of
Diamond Lane and White Oaks Crossing. 997 amends the Land Use Plan from a SUR
Special Use Residention to Commerical. 998 amends the Zoning from a PRD
Planned Residential District to C-3 Commerical. They each had their first readings.
A study dealing with building a Roundabout to connect White Oak Crossing with
Country Club Parkway was presented. The Council voted 7-1 to proceed with the planning.
All the City is committed to at this point are the planning expenses.
The hope is for Metroplan to fund 80% of the costs to build it.
If that should fall through, the project could then be stopped.
A dispute with City Code Enforcement concerning the conversion of the Maumelle
Exxon gas stations sign from plastic letters to LED lights to display the price of gas
caused the Mayor to convene the Council in the Board of Sign Appeals.
There is a Sign Commission looking to rewrite the City code dealing with matters
like this one, and it is expected that the code will be changed in this instance.
The Council voted 7-1 to allow the sign to be changed over.
The Tree Board had two vacancies that needed to be filled.
The Council voted unanimously to appoint Whitney Hargis and Erin Hall
to fill those vacancies.
Resolution 2020-5 passed unanimously to allow the City to begin leasing 6 (six)
Police vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Management. If the costs compared to the
current practice of purchasing them yeilds the expected savings, then over time
all the Police cars will be replaced with this plan, until we have a fleet of 26 cars.
This proposal passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-6 all passed unanimously to accept a State-Aid Funds Grant which will
pay for 100% of the overlay of North Odom from Maumelle Blvd to Woodland..
Ordinance 995 had its first reading to allow the Mayor to begin using online
auctions to sell excess and obsolete City equipment.
Ordinance 999 proposed to limit the Fire Department's response to 9-11 calls
pertaining to Covid-19 which to not require immediate care--in the event that the
Department is already operating at maximum capacity to deal with more immediate
emergencies. In this event, those calls would be handed off to MEMS.
Given the fast pace of the developing pandemic, an Emergency Reading of all three
readings was done and the ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.
March 9th, 2020 Update
ARDOT, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, held a mini-siminar tonight
at Maumelle's Jess Odom Gymnasium. This was one of several held across the state
to educate people about Issue One, a measure on this November 3rd's election ballot.
Back in 2012, Arkansas voters approved a temporary 1/2 cent sales tax to fund highway projects.
This was a tax on everything--not just gasoline--and amounts to $300 Million a year,
funding one-third of Arkansas highway projects.
It was the legislature's intent to replace it by its imminent expiration with another tax.
None of those proposals were approved.
Issue One on this year's election ballot would make that 1/2 cent state tax permanent.
Voting it down would reduce the state sales tax rate from 6.5% to 6%.
One of the projects already earmarked to be initiated should the bill pass is the
restriping of lanes on the I-430 bridge, creating a dedicated turn lane into Maumelle
when headed north, and a dedicated Little Rock Highway 10 exit when headed south.
Another is the widening of Maumelle Boulevard to six lanes between I-430 and Counts Massey.
Council Member Steven Mosley confirmed this during the question and answer session.
The main speaker, who more or less implied that the new Maumelle entrance was an
ARDOT project during his initial presentation had it clarified that it was not by a couple
of different people during this session.
Maumelle's 3rd entrance was 100% funded by Maumelle's residents, except for One Million Dollars
contributed to the planning stage by former Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines,
with the stipulation that the exit be connected to Short Marche,
something that current Judge Barry Hyde has blocked with a barrier.
March 2nd, 2020 Update
Tonight's City Council was one member short, so unanimous votes will count as 7 - 1.
The meeting began with a memorial video and moment of silence dedicated to Jim Narey,
Maumelle's Director of Planning & Zoning, who passed away one week ago today.
Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, an organization supporting our military men and first responders,
and whose motto is "Helping others is a way of life,"
awarded their Sheep Dog of the Year award to Maumelle Fire Chief Gerald Ezell,
for his selfless acts that included donating a kidney to a young girl he did not even know.
Mayor Norris gave a 40-minute State of the City Report.
His report will also be available online, and since it focussed mostly on last year,
the only part I would like to draw attention to was his discussion about the results from
Maumelle's recent petition to evaluate resident's thoughts about a new roundabout at
Country Club Parkway and White Oaks.
According to the survey, 54% were in favor of a roundabout, with only 20-plus% stating a dislike for roundabouts.
The balance of those surveyed were ambivalent, with no preference.
Last month I was the Council's liason to the meetings held by the Planning Commission,
and I gave my report based on the following notes:
With the passing of Planning Commission Director Jim Narey,
Chief of Staff Scott Grummer stood in as the temporary Director, and did an excellent job.
The current Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary were reelected to another term.
Four items came before the Planning Commission,
and all four will soon be coming before this Council .
The revised Preliminary Plat for the IM at White Oak crossing has
several changes made to redesign its 30 lots. Adjustments like
access for the Fire Department and trash truck access, utilities
easement and an easement for an open, currently undeveloped space were made.
An issue raised by the City Attorney I thought was significant because of the
problem the City encountered last year with potholes on Savannah Drive,
and how the owner responsible for that private drive had gone bankrupt.
She requested that a plan of transition be put place should the Im owner someday
no longer be around to maintain the development's private fences and roads.
There will be no building, nor future phases, until the final plat is approved,
which will require emergency access that is up to code for the Fire Department.
The Preliminary Plat and the Preliminary development plan for the IM
were both given Do Pass Recommendations.
The 2.6 acre corner property between Country Club Parkway, White Oaks, and the ballpark
had two Zoning requests. This property is identifiable because so many developers have
dumped materials on it in the past.
The first request is to amend the Maumelle Master Use Plan from
SUR Special Use Residential to Commercial.
The second amendment for that same property is a request to be rezoned from
PRD -- Play and Residential Development -- into to a Commercial C-3.
There were two residents who spoke in opposition to these changes,
and wanted the property kept residential. One said that she represented
around 25 other residents who were unable to attend.
The Planning Staff recommended to proceed, since the property could still
be used for a different type of commercial or even an apartment complex,
which would add to traffic congestion, which was a concern expressed
by the citizens in opposition. Staff felt that a C-3 Zoning would give the city
better control over whatever type of commercial enterprise goes in that location.
The owner has not indicated exactly what business that will be,
but requested the C-3 as being appropriate for her plans.
The change from SUR Special Use Residential to Commercial passed unanimously.
The change from PRD Planned Residential District to C-3 Commercial
passed by a vote of 6 to 1.
They were both given Do Pass Recommendations to the Council.
At the conclusion of the blue room meeting earlier in the month,
Acting Director Scott Grummer also gave an update of efforts to spur
economic development in the North Maumelle/Morgan area,
and how he is currently attempting to get owners to meet
and work together on a plan.
Ordinance 993, which is my proposal for adjusting the business license rate,
and applying it to the Police and Fire funds in an effort to reduce scofflaw businesses who do not pay
generated a fair bit of discussion once again.
One aspect of the Ordinance that I had not mentioned before was how anyone under the
age of 16 would be exempt from having to pay a license fee.
So, if a child wants to set up a lemonaide stand, they can do so without worrying
about an encounter with the authorities, as has happend in other cities.
Resolution 2020-3 was a request for Council permission to sell a city vehicle,
a Chevy Silverado that has engine problems.
The Council approved unanimously.
February 24th, 2020 Update
The City of Maumelle has created a poll for residents to vote their preferences in connection
to a Roundabout being built to deal with congestions at the
intersection at Country Club Parkway and Counts Massey/White Oaks.
With the new 3rd Entrance now open, this area is seeing accelerated traffic growth,
and some residents have complained about excessive wait times to make turns off
Country Club Parkway and onto Counts Massey/White Oaks
during the rush hour periods of 8AM and 5PM.
This proposed Roundabout would deal with that problem.
Please consider taking a minute to answer a few questions and let your thoughts be known.
Click HERE or on the image below to get started.
February 18th, 2020 Update
Since Monday was the President's Day holiday, this meeting of the City Council was held on Tuesday.
The Council was one member short, so all unanimous votes will be recorded as 7 to 1.
Captain Austin Woody of the Fire Department was proclaimed February's Employee of the Month.
Ordinance 993, which proposed changes to Maumelle Business License fee schedule had its first reading.
The was a resolution that I proposed, and attached here are the notes I used to
explain the Resolution to the other Council Members.
A number of years ago I volunteered to help rewrite Little Rock's business license fee schedule.
After joining the Maumelle City Council, I discovered some parallels with Little Rock's situation.
One of those similarities was scofflaw businesses, people who do not pay their business
license fee. I've been told that this averages between 20 and 25 percent, which was the
same rate that Little Rock used to suffer. One of the changes our committee made was
to convert the business license fee into a funding source for the Police and Fire
Departments. This not only reduced the percentage of scofflaws, it helped make those
departments the highest paid in this area.
The other problem Little Rock had was that it's codebook was seriously outdated,
still listing categories for industries like mule skinners and hide tanners.
While Maumelle doesn't have a problem with obsolete industries like Little Rock,
our Business License Schedule became outdated when the Community Service Fee was
replaced by a half cent sales tax.
That's when the part of the annual business license fee that calculated a the square
footage of every business simply went away. We basically stopped collecting the
majority of the fee for doing business in Maumelle.
So, what I'm proposing here is not a new tax, but to recoup those fees we
stopped collecting, and putting them into the police and fire funds.
Even with this increase, the rates being charged businesses will still be far lower than
all other cities--except Conway, which only charges ice cream vendors.
To use my own businesses as a comparison, the rates would go from 10% of what it
costs to do business in LR or NLR to 20%.
A drop in the bucket.
There were several questions, including proposals to put the fees to others uses.
Generally there was surprise that our fees were so low when compared to the rest of the state.
Resolution 2020-1 authorizes the sale of deed restriction options for 3 acres of City owned
property in the White Oaks Bayou wetlands.
This resolution ties with Ordinance 986 that was discussed in last year's notes for October 21st,
which dealt with selling the option on 2 other acres of City owned wetlands,
in order to facilliate the sale of a larger tract of unrestricted wetlands for industrial development.
Since that time the tracts being considered have been even larger than anticipated,
and it was determined that more acreage was required.
Resolution 2020-1 passed unanimously.
Resolution 2020-2 proposed an updatee to the city budge to allocate $10,000 for
planting new trees on city properties.
This was an item that was removed during last year's budget discussions.
Since that time tax revenues appear to be trending higher than expected, and the
Coucil voted unanimously to add the program back into the budget.
After the council session ended, the Mayor gave a tour of the renovations being made to City Hall.
The picture above shows the new Council Chamber.
All the renovations are estimated to be completed mid to late April, which will
include a facelift to the building's main entrance.
February 3rd, 2020 Update
Keisha Walker was introduced at tonight's Council meeting as the new Director of Human Resources.
Her previous job was as the Benefits Coordinator for Goodwill, and she has a lengthy
Everyone welcomed her to Maumelle!
Ordinance 991 was tabled for a minimum of 3 months, until the city can get a ruling from
the Attorney General as to the exact parameters of a state statute limiting the number of
hours that a police officer can accrue of sick leave.
Odinance 992 was about to be introduced, but since it deals with the number of hours
that a fire fighter can acrue for a retirement payout, it was also tabled for 3 months.
State Representative Mark Lowery has offered to assist in the research being done on these issues,
and they may be back on the agenda with first readings for both in May.
Mayor Norris and City Attorney Krebs also gave updates on the progress for the Crystal Hill Road
renovations, and easement issues are close to being resolved.
Also, Central Arkansas Water should have a main water pipe moved by the end of July.
The pace of work should accelerate after that is completed.
A feasibility study is doing a poll about installing a roundabout at
White Oaks and Country Club Parkway, which should be up by the end of the week.
This survery will allow citizens to indicate their preferences on how the city should
There is a possibility that this roundabout could be built with funding from a grant.
The Mayor also updated the Council on how the intersection of Club Manor and South Odom
is still be evaluated for options. Another meeting is scheduled later this week.
I reiterated my support to install a traffic signal at Club Manor and South Odom,
and also about how I have heard complaints about the difficulty some drivers are having
accessing White Oaks from Country Club Parkway during peak traffic periods.
January 22nd, 2020 Update
Mayor Norris announced City Communications Coordinator Rachel Hall as Employee of the Month.
Ordinance 991 was the only one on the agenda, which had its second reading.
This subject generated a considerable amount of discussion.
City Attorney Krebs mentioned that creating an Emergency Bank for the hours that the
police would otherwise lose by adopting state mandated limits was a doable idea,
but would be a complicated matter to arrange.
At one point I seconded a motion to table the ordinance until later, but withdrew it
as the motion was withdrawn after the City Attorney made more options known.
I later made a motion to rewrite Ordinance 991 to grandfather in the officer's current
accumulated hours, but failed to get a second.
I feel confident that a motion like this will pass during the next Council meeting,
when another ordinance is also in place to replace their future lost benefits.
The Council seems to collectively agree that the officers should NOT lose their hours.
January 8th, 2020 Update
A Little Rock Air Force Base Compatable Use Study had been launched, which could affect Maumelle.
What is the Little Rock Air Foce Base Compatible Use Study?
The Little Rock AFB Compatible Use Study (CUS) is a cooperative planning effort
conducted as a joint venture between Little Rock AFB, Pulaski County, White County,
Lonoke County, Cabot, Jacksonville, Sherwood and other jurisdictions and stakeholders
in proximity to the base. The study is administered by the Jacksonville Economic
Development and Cultural Alliance and co-funded through a grant from the Department
of Defense (DOD), Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).
What is the purpose of the Compatible Use Study?
The Little Rock Air Force Base Compatible Use Study is aimed to benefit both the Air
Force and the surrounding region by:
Preserving long-term land use compatibility between the installation and the surrounding communities;
Sustaining the operational mission of the Air Force in nearby communities while
protecting the quality of life of nearby residents and businesses;
Enhancing communication and coordination among local and regional stakeholders; and
Integrating the growth plans of the communities in the region with Air Force plans and mission operations.
The purpose of the Compatible Use Study is to identify means of promoting responsible
land use near Little Rock AFB, to accommodate compatible growth and economic
development in the region, to protect public safety and quality of life, and to sustain the
mission of the Air Force in the region for the long-term. The Compatible Use Study will
evaluate ways to enhance communication and coordination among local and regional
stakeholders with the goal being to protect land use compatibility as both the
community and the Air Force plan for the future. The Compatible Use Study will not
result in changes to land use, zoning, or how a property owner may use their property,
though it may identify regulatory changes for the community to consider.
What does the CUS address?
The Compatible Use Study will provide:
An assessment of existing land use conditions near Little Rock AFB, Camp Robinson,
and the Blackjack Drop Zone;
An assessment of potential future civilian and military land use conditions, to include
projected incompatible uses; and
Strategies to promote compatible land use planning around Little Rock AFB and the
Compatible land use planning can be defined as the balance between the needs and
interests of the community and the needs and interests of the Air Force installation. In
order to assess compatibility, the project team will identify current or potential
encroachment issues, which include noise, endangered species/critical habitat, safety/
security, air or water quality, regional airspace management, energy development, and
frequency spectrum interference, among other issues.
The Little Rock Air Force Base Compatible Use Study is expected to be completed in
early 2021. Implementation of any actions recommended in the Compatible Use Study,
should the community wish to take that step, would follow completion of the study and
would follow community-wide consideration and input and action by local decision-makers.
Who will guide the development of the Compatible Use Study?
While the Jacksonville Economic Development and Cultural Alliance will act as the fiscal
agent and project manager for the Compatible Use Study, the development of the
Compatible Use Study will be guided by two steering committees with input from the
general public. The Policy Committee is composed of elected and public administrative
officials representing jurisdictions in the study area and Air Force leadership. The Policy
Committee is responsible for guiding the direction of the Compatible Use Study and for
managing implementation actions. The Technical Advisory Committee is comprised of
staff members from local governmental agencies, the Air Force, and other entities, and
will identify and address local land use matters, provide feedback on documents
prepared by the consultants, and assist the Policy Committee in the development and
evaluation of implementation strategies and tools.
The project is overseen by the Compatible Use Study consulting team of White & Smith
Planning and Law Group, Marstel-Day, LLC, and Benchmark Planning. This team has
completed numerous Compatible Use Study projects around the country.
What are the opportunities for public input?
There will be multiple opportunities for public input throughout the development of the
Compatible Use Study. The project team will hold a number of public meetings to
provide Compatible Use Study project updates and to seek input into the process and
deliverables. More information on public meetings can be found on the Process tab
Also, the general public will be able to provide input through a public survey, the results
of which will provide the Compatible Use Study steering committees and project team
insights into community attitudes regarding regional Air Force activities.
Finally, the public will be able to provide input on the project through the Little Rock
Compatible Use Study Facebook page, or by emailing us at the contact information provided below:
Jacksonville Economic Development and Cultural Alliance
January 3rd, 2020 Update
There was no carryover of old business from 2019, and only one new matter was brought
before the first Council meeting of 2020.
But it is a thorny matter.
Ordinance 991 adopts provisions for the number of hours of sick leave that police officers can accure.
While working on a new employee handbook, the city became aware that the number of hours currently
allowed are in direct violation of 1985 State Ordinance 14-52-107.
The problem in bringing the department into compliance is that three-fourths of the force has already
accumlated sick hours maxed out at the old system, and bringing them into compliance would result in
them losing a significant amount of those accumulated hours.
It was asked if we could simply ignore the state ordinance, but failure to adhere to state law,
especially after we are already aware that the City is in violation, could bring a lawsuit against the City.
Many suggestions and questions were discussed, trying to find a palatable path to compliance.
My suggestion was for the creation of a "Catastrophe Bank" where those excess hours would be saved in case
of an emergency, to be used by all members of the force.
That way the hours earned would not be lost.
This option and several others will be evaluated by the Mayor and City Attorney.
The second reading of this Ordinance will be held on January 20th, and the vote taken on February 3rd.
More to come on this matter.
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: