Riley sworn in to fill vacancy on BV Council

Friday, February 5, 2010

BERRYVILLE -- Marty Riley was sworn in as Berryville's newest alderman at a short city council meeting Tuesday night that was highlighted by Mayor Tim McKinney's 20th State of the City address.

Riley replaces Deretha Walker who resigned from her post when she moved out of town. He resides in Ward 1, on Pleasant Street, the same ward in which Walker lived before her move from Hailey Road.

Berryville has only two wards -- divided by Ark. Hwy. 21, the north and south dividing line.

Riley has lived in Berryville 22 years, and has been an insurance agent with Farm Bureau Insurance those 22 years. He and his wife Robin, who works at the Eureka Springs Family Medical Center, have three children. Riley said he's "happy to serve."

Mayor McKinney, in his State of the City address, began by remembering the devastating ice storm of 2009. He thanked all who helped with the clean up, especially those responsible for getting the city a 100 percent FEMA reimbursement.

When speaking about the city's wastewater treatment plant, he said they were "just now" advertising for bids on a plant upgrade that was expected to cost between $2.5 and $3 million. The upgrade will utilize de-watering and biological processes and a belt press to accomplish an 80 percent sludge reduction. "We'll be out of the land application business," he announced.

There is still some debate as to state-imposed phosphorus levels, he added, saying if phosphorus should become an issue, the addition of a filtration system will handle whatever comes their way.

Water rates will likely rise, he said, because they have only risen once before in the 20 years he has been mayor, except for increases passed on by the city's provider, the Carroll-Boone Water District.

"Water funds are in bad shape," he commented, saying the city needed to expand and improve its service lines, and a small rate increase was needed to make it happen.

The street department completed a Trinnen Lane widening project, a pricey undertaking, he said, based on state highway department estimates of $2 million a mile for its road work. He said Trinnen Lane is the first step toward the creation of an east-west traffic corridor.

McKinney said he was proud of the city's park system. Besides existing park lands, he said the city recently acquired another three acres near Pool Park and trails being developed on Pension Mountain should be completed this spring.

Cemetery improvements were in the works, he said. Also, the city will be hiring an engineer to develop a comprehensive five-to-10-year water, sewer and street plan to go along with the comprehensive development plan recently completed by planning and zoning commissioners. That plan, he noted, replaces a previous plan created in 1971.

Council members were given a copy of the new plan. Acceptance is expected at a future meeting once they've looked it over.

McKinney also mentioned the "long-time servants" who left their city posts during the past year, including fire chief Gene Chafin and city treasurer Wanda McKinney, who both retired, and Emma Hamilton, the parks and recreation director who accepted another position out of state.

He thanked his council members and said, "I look forward to the year ahead and maybe many more to come."

Also during the meeting, Police Chief Dave Muniz presented his monthly report and aldermen approved two public square gathering requests submitted by the Chamber of Commerce for a spring garden show and summer Ice Cream Social.

The garden show is set for Saturday, April 24. The 25th annual Ice Cream Social will be a two day event, June 11-12.

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