City directors have heard the first reading of Ordinance 21-24 concerning a plan for the reallocation of neighborhoods.
City staff introduced the ordinance because Arkansas code requires that whenever there is a census, the city must consider redistributing neighborhoods based on population, according to city administrator Phillip. Patterson.
“Based on the current population, there is a gap of just over 14% in wards 1 and 3,” Patterson said.
Patterson said the city has historically used the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission to review census tracts and propose neighborhood changes. The commission presented the city with two different plans to propose changes between Ward 2 and Ward 3, Patterson said.
Plan 1 has a deviation of just under seven percent, and the second plan has a variation of about nine percent, Patterson said. Staff are recommending the city follow Plan 1, Patterson said.
Patterson said the difference between the two plans is that Main Street is limited to the north, Jefferson Street to the south, and Mount Olive Street to the west. In Plan 1, this area is in Ward 2 and in Plan 2 it is in Ward 3, Patterson said.
“Based on the fact that the way the courts have generally looked at electoral district redistribution, we believe plan number 1 provides more coverage because there is less population deviation,” Patterson said. “From a public perspective, it settles the spells a bit cleaner and easier. “
Some city directors weighed on the ordinance. Director Marla Sappington asked Patterson if the city or the commission initiated the plan. Patterson told him that the commission created the designs.
Director David Allen asked how long ago did the city learn of the census numbers? Patterson said maybe three months at most.
Allen asked Patterson why a town hall hadn’t been arranged for the public to comment. Patterson said this was the first time he had reallocated quarters and that the three readings of the ordinance would be the time for public input.
Patterson also said staff would be happy to release this to the public if the board so wished. Director Brad Burns has said he prefers Shot 1 as well.
Burns said he lamented the loss of the eastern half of Ward 2, but was a supporter of change; he couldn’t stomp his foot when presented with a change.
City directors also approved and heard the following:
• Introduction of new firefighters / paramedics Zachery Bailey; Dalton Sharp; Caleb Lloyd and Josiah Sewell.
• City flag design proposed by Jerry Cavness.
• Comments by James McQuirk regarding the city’s possible purchase of an electric four-door diesel truck and McQuirk’s opposition to increasing utility rates.
• Report of the workshop on November 2.
• Minutes of the regular meeting of the municipal council of November 2nd.
• Appointment of David Glass to the Arkansas Council of Public Education Institutions.
• 2021 Benton County Certificate of Assessment for Mileage Setback.
• Dedication of utility easements and right-of-way for 1299 Brashears Rd.
• Contract for a storm pipe for Simon Sager Phase IV from Scurlock Industries for $ 188,394.
• Passing for second reading Ordinance 21-23 adapting the programmed increases in public service tariffs for 2022-2027.
• Review of purchasing regulations.
• Presentation of zoning.
• Administrator’s report.