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April City Council Rundown

First up is the Mayor's Report because financials were before that and I'm just not the person to discuss numbers. It sounds like things are pretty good though and I know that Robin Johnson is doing a mighty fine job as the Finance Director.


Mayor's Report

The council appointed Joshua Holmes and Nick Ouzts to the Parks and Rec Commission. Welcome, sirs!



Suzy Griffin from The Russellville Chamber gave a report in place of Chamber President Dr. Megan Selman who is out on maternity leave (give baby Cole a good squeeze for us).


There were so many interesting and amazing things covered in this report that it deserves its own write up. So, tuned for that.


 

Planning Department Report

City Planner Sara Jondahl presented a report on the planning department's accomplishments last year as well as individuals accomplishments within the department. One major stat that stood out was that they went from 544 code violations in 2021 to 1,513 code violations in 2022. Sounds to me like Russellville is starting to hold itself to a higher standard while educating the community when things are not to code. That's a huge win!


Sara gained her AICP certification in June and Victoria Marchant passed her AICP exam and is on her way to certification. Having these certified planners on staff shows that Russellville is committed to the highest standard of ethical practice. Perry Whitbey passed his International Code Council Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector gaining his PHI certification. In other words we've got an outstanding team in the planning department.



Yard of the Month, where the Planning Dept awards one yard per ward the distinction, resumes in May. Your yard could be award-winning! Councilman Nathan George clarified that City Council Members are eligible to win so it is now one of my personal goals to get this honor at least once in my life.




The $25,000,000 RAISE Grant for multi-use trails throughout the city that was applied for in February won't be announced for another few months, so keep your fingers and toes crossed.

 

Green highlight means it passed. Red highlight means it failed. Orange highlight means it's simply a reading, not a passing.


Personnel Committee

Chief Ewing of the Police Department came to the personnel committee about how he is wanting to restructure his non-uniformed personnel and pay structure to make the department more efficient and productive.


 

Finance Committee

  • Ordinance adopting permit and review fees for the city that reflect the state code goes into effect January 1st, 2024.

  • Reimbursement request for 1st quarter 2023 expenses for Alliance Work Force Development in the amount of $28, 49835

  • Reimbursement request for 1st quarter 2023 expenses for Arkansas Valley Alliance in the amount of $25,326.58

  • Appropriation from the Russellville EMS Services reserves fund for $8,302.03 to cover the graphics for ambulances.

  • Appropriation from General Fund 2022 for $225,176 in order to provide additional funding for the 2023 911 expense.

  • Appropriation from 2022 carry over balance for $100,000 to replenish the Capital asset fund building costs budget.

  • Reimbursement request from Boys and Girls Club for 1st quarter of 2023 in the amount of $24,395


 

Unfinished Old Business

  • Ordinance to establish a permanent Entertainment District in Downtown Russellville.

This part got a little muddled because there were a few different things happening. The Council was honoring two businesses that requested to be removed from the boundaries of the district by amending the original ordinance that was also being decided on at the same time. If they had simply resubmitted the boundary map in the original ordinance the three reading rule would have restarted, taking us back to square one. The council approved the Entertainment District as originally submitted and then immediately amended the boundaries to reflect the new map excluding the requested businesses. Two birds one stone? Basically.

There will be a lot more information coming out in the next few weeks about what exactly the Entertainment District means and how it will work. Something like this is very new to our community and we want to make sure it is implemented as smoothly and clearly as possible.
  • Ordinance adopting the current Arkansas codes to be reflected in the city code. Removing any confusion of what codes to be followed.


 

New Business

  • Ordinance submitting to the voters of the city a question of annexation of land.

  • Ordinance amending the zoning code.

  • Ordinance amending the land subdivision and development code.

For some more details on what these ordinances cover please check out the previous blog on the agenda prep meeting.



 


Upcoming meetings


5/9/23: Prep meeting for Finance Committee @ 5:30pm.

5/9/23: Prep meeting for City Council agenda @ 6:00pm.

5/11/23 Ice cream social w/ Historic District Commission*

5/18/23: Finance Committee meeting @ 5:30pm.

5/18/23: City Council meeting @ 6:00pm.


*not a meeting, but sounds fun.


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