Easement plan still in works, McKinney says

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

BERRYVILLE ---- Talks between Carroll Electric Cooperative and the city of Berryville over a right-of-way that would help the city get a traffic light bogged down, but the issue arose again last Tuesday at the city council meeting.

The mayor told the council last summer that Wal-Mart would donate $80,000 for a traffic light at the busy intersection, if the city could align a street with its intersection on U.S. Highway 62.

That proposal would have meant the city would trade land for an empty lot owned by Carroll Electric, that happens to line up with Wal-Mart's entrance.

At the time, the mayor said Carroll Electric wanted $100,000 for the exchange.

Those negotiations broke down, but the city is still in need of the traffic light "for the safety of our citizens," Mayor McKinney said.

In last Tuesday's meeting, in his district report, McKinney stated that Carroll Electric needed an easement on city property near Johnson Springs to maintain their power lines.

Alderman Burt George asked "how much are they offering?" and McKinney said "zero, I guess."

Alderman Burt George was visibly irritated, saying Carroll Electric wants something for free, and would not cooperate on the traffic issue at Wal-Mart.

He also noted the city only charges Carroll Electric $1 a year to put a radio tower on city property on Saunders Heights, and now is being asked for "free" right of way for its power lines.

Mayor McKinney interjected that Carroll Electric was "a good corporate citizen that serves many people in Carroll County."

He said the city and Carroll Electric are still working on a deal that could please all concerned.

"We are talking (with the cooperative) and any way we can, we hope they reciprocate for the public safety of our people," he said.

Alderman George said he hoped so, "because we've been good to them."

There was no action taken on the request, and McKinney said he would get more information for the council at its next meeting.

In other business, McKinney read a proclamation declaring Feb. 6 though Feb. 8 as "Ronald McDonald House Week" in Berryville.

McKinney noted that the Ronald McDonald houses in Springfield and other locations allow for families to stay with seriously ill children. The project has served 90 Carroll County families and 26 families from Berryville alone.

The Berryville McDonald's is participating in collecting donations for the Share a Heart Campaign, which runs through Valentine's Day.

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