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October Council Agenda: What's To Come

Each month we hear new and interesting statements during City Council's agenda prep meeting. This month, it's definitely the following statement:

"There is an easement going through someone's living room."

Before I start this recap I want to say a huge congrats to Michele Barraza on becoming the City Councilor for the Ward 1 seat left vacant when Shawn Harris resigned last month.

City Councilor being sworn in in front of desk in Russellville AR
Councilwoman Michele Baraza being sworn in by Mayor Teague, October 6th 2023.

Finance Discussions

  • In committee housekeeping, Councilman George was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Finance Committee.

  • Councilman Gray reported that he is still waiting for an estimate on the key card security measures for City Hall. Mayor Teague and Councilman Gray did a walkthrough with Arkansas Valley Communications where they found vulnerabilities and are figuring out how to best make it work with the existing police system.

  • Breakdown over reimbursement for Workforce Development expenses.

  • Sidewalk connectivity project for Reasoner Lane, Timberwood Lane, Red Hill Lane, and Ashley Lane asking for $40,000 appropriation from the City Street Fund.

black and white map of vicinity of proposed improvements in city
Project locations for proposed sidewalk connectivity.

  • Installation of fencing and gate at the Oakland cemetery asking for $32,000.

  • Relocating Entergy infrastructure affected by Prairie Creek Drainage Project.

  • Installing signal upgrades along 16th and 19th street railroad crossings, like the updates recently done on E. 4th St. D+R and ARDOT Grant covering cost of upgrades ($500,000 per crossing), closing down 7th and 10th street crossings due to low traffic volume.

aerial map of railroad and street crossings
Aerial shot of railroad crossings being proposed for updates as well as closings.
  • Blackstone Construction entering into agreement between Entergy and Brightspeed to transfer above head utilities to underground conduit.

  • Updates on landscaping for DIG Russellville project coming within two weeks.

  • Heard from utility attorney about what is involved in the city entering into conduit lease agreement with Brightspeed, how that relates to Blackstone moving the utility underground in first place.

  • City Corp asking council to consider selling .12 acres outside of gated area at 632 Waterworks (Water Treatment Plant) that is not used and is being maintained by another property owner. Council requests neighbors be notified of sale.

Full Council Discussions

  • Russellville Housing Authority to appoint Jennifer McGill, as well as re-appoint Wayne Jones to Board.

  • Plat at 401 Quarry Road no longer needed by city, consideration to vacate and abandon it so property owners affected can make changes if wanted.

aerial shot of map
View of proposed plat abandonment.
  • Rezoning 1805 W Main Street from R-1 to R-0 (Single family residential to Residential office).

  • Amending zoning code and land subdivision and development code to clarify and update language.

  • Phoenix Innovations Grant from ADECP requires a copy of city's Fair Housing Ordinance, of which the city does not currently have. The council will be considering the ordinance at upcoming council meeting.

  • Frankhouse vs City - this is just... a lot. I will try to recap in separate post.

  • Setting a public hearing for vacating a 20' alley behind 1009 N Greenwich. Area would be fenced in if approved.

  • Rezoning area of 110 W Harrell Dr and 2303 N Arkansas Ave by Arby's (see image below) and the new University Loft Apartments from R-1/C-4 (Single family residential/Neighborhood and Quiet Business) to C-2 (Highway commercial). Updating this is in-line with the ReImagine Russellville 2040 plans and would increase value of property. Current buildings on property contain asbestos, development company wants to move quickly to avoid vandalism and remove any potential public health concern.

aerial shot of land
Lot by Arby's
  • Public hearing to vacate an easement between lots 136 and 137 in Western Hills area. AKA the easement going through someone's living room. This is what happens when a house that's been bought and sold multiple times never has a survey done. Surprise easements!

Bonus Round

Old Fire Station on W 2nd St has letter of interest from Point Remove Brewing to lease property with option to buy after 10 years. Discussion of making sale of property more widely known before making decision. Multiple parties have inquired about property over the years including an Art House, the Advertising and Promotions Office, and others. Point Remove would bring an already established local business to the growing downtown area. Plus, how cool would a restaurant in an old fire station be?

WasteManagement representatives spoke to council about inconsistency of service. The Central Arkansas District Manager, Blaine Ellzey, was there to update council on how WM will address the frequent issues.

Main issues:

- truck reliability

- DOT regulations (drivers have to have CDL to operate trucks and they are not

allowed to drive over a certain amount of hours)

- communication breakdowns

Course of action:

- bringing in two new ASL (automated side-loader) trucks by end of week (10/13)

- bringing in workers from other areas to assist when service gets backed up

- establishing clear line of communications for when trash will be impacted,

so customers will be notified and not left to wonder.

Take aways:

- Blaine's phone number is (252) 723-0723

- council does not expect perfection, but does expect clear communication to

customers if issues arise.

- WM working with City Corp to utilize their mass texting capabilities.

- council will be getting quarterly reports from WM on how they're improving to

make sure and honor contract with city.

- if WM continues to not deliver on service, council can fine WM for violations of

contract and other courses of action.

City Council will hold their full meeting on October 19th, 2023 at 6pm in the Council Chambers. That's all for this episode of City Council Rundown: Agenda Prep. Now you're ready to show up to City Council with knowledge on your side.



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