Carroll challenged to leave post
Questions about Alderman Penny Carroll's actual place of residence arose during Monday evening's Eureka Springs City Council meeting as other aldermen questioned her ability to remain on the council.
A discussion of city's wastewater treatment plant "situation" and moving a trolley stop to help upper Spring St. businesses, along with Carroll's situation, took the majority of the council's time.
Seven of the 12 agenda items were deferred, primarily because Alderman Robert "Butch" Berry was absent and unable to participate in the discussions.
The regular meeting was barely underway when Alderman Earl "Bud" Umland said he had gotten four telephone calls during the day saying Carroll had moved out of Ward 1.
That would automatically disqualify her from sitting on the council.
Carroll's response was, "No."
Alderman Karen Lindblad asked her "Where have you moved to?"
"This is a legal challenge and it should go through proper legal channels," Carroll answered, "I still reside in Ward 1."
When Alderman Bill Ott suggested Carroll be given time to respond to the questions, Umland said he agreed and moved to suspend the rest of the council's business for the night.
City Attorney Tim Weaver said there would be no votes taken that would complete any business Monday evening and he thought it would be all right to continue.
Later, during the open microphone portion of the meeting, former Mayor Beau Satori challenged Carroll to resign immediately and leave the table since she had moved into Ward 2.
As the meeting adjourned almost three hours later, Carroll said she was sorry about the confusion about her residency and she "will be here with documentation after my vacation."
Alderman Bill Ott said rumors are "running rampant" in town about the condition of the wastewater treatment plant, who is employed there and who is not, and what is going on?
Mayor Kathy Harrison said she and Public Works Director Robert Forrest met Friday with Mark Owen of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and discussed the treatment plant and plans at length.
She showed the council a letter from Owen approving the deconstruction of the city's trickling filter, sludge beds and anaerobic digester to make way for new structures.
"ADEQ is willing to work with us and not fine us or penalize us as long as we are going forward," she said. "They are happy that we are finally getting a new treatment plant. They are anxious to see the plans."
Asked about sludge taken from the plant and land-applied, Harrison said, "We have a license to land-apply sludge and we have had it for years."
Harrison said the city's drinking water supply is not involved in any way with the wastewater treatment plant.
Carroll is anxious to have cost estimates and plans for the new plant. She said she has asked for costs for weeks and can't get them.
"The plans aren't completed yet," Harrison said. "When the plans are finished, we will get cost estimates."
Consulting engineer Ron Tracy had provided component cost estimates to the council, but Carroll said she didn't understand what he was talking about.
Council members agreed to hold a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday, July 19, so residents could ask questions about the proposed improvements and new plant.
John Wiley presented a proposal to help upper Spring Street merchants to get more tourists into their shops by removing a trolley stop at 99 Spring Street which would force trolleys to stop around the corner from the post office to unload passengers.
Included was a petition with 38 signatures asking the city council to "make a positive change to preserve business establishments on Upper Spring Street."
(See related story on Page 3)
Council members agreed to ask Transit Director Lamont Richie to give the suggestion a trial.
Planning Commissioner Eric Scheunemann expressed his sorrow at the resignation of City Planner Richard Harper. He said Harper had given valuable assistance and information to the commission.
Harper submitted his resignation last Wednesday to Mayor Harrison and Building Official Randy Mills, effective at noon Friday, July 1. Harrison had moved Harper's job into the building department several weeks ago.
In his letter of resignation, Harper cited differences in opinion as to how he was to conduct his job as his reasons for quitting.
He was hired in June of 2003.