BV council approves city vote on tax extension

Friday, February 20, 2015

Berryville citizens will be voting on an extension of the sales and use tax in the next 120 days.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Berryville City Council approved one ordinance to extend the tax and a second measure to establish a community vote on the extension.

Ordinance No. 970, according to city attorney Clint Scheel, will extend the existing 0.50 percent sales and use tax for a period of 60 additional months. The funds derived from this extension, Scheel said, would finance the operation and maintenance of the police and fire departments, as well as street and public safety improvements.

Scheel read Ordinance No. 971, which calls for a special election to extend the tax. The council approved both ordinances on all three readings with the last two by title only because of time constraints.

Mayor Tim McKinney explained that it's a timing issue. "We have to have the election within 120 days to pass the ordinance. It's complicated but it works," he said, noting that the city is required to file the ordinance with the county clerk 60 days before the election.

The council approved Ordinance No. 972 on all three readings with the last two by title only, declaring an emergency to amend the city's 2014 operating budget. "The operating expenses of the city of Berryville are necessary for the orderly function of city government," Scheel read, adding that the amendments to the budget were attached to the ordinance.

These amendments, according to the meeting agenda, include: unbudgeted revenue for the fire department, fireworks display donations, tourism fund and solid waste collections; unbudgeted reimbursement revenue from the water system fund; additional interfund transfers necessary for an increase in year-end bond payments; additional interfund transfers necessary for capital outlay in year-end bond payments; unbudgeted revenue for the parks commission fund; and several other changes.

Additionally, the council approved Resolution No. 968. The resolution, Scheel explained, will formally adopt the 2015 operating budget from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. The council previously voted to approve the budget Dec. 16.

Approved on a first reading, proposed Ordinance No. 969 will rezone an undeveloped parcel of property located south of the intersection of E. College Avenue and Hailey Road from R-1 Residential to R-2 Residential. The request was first approved at the Berryville Planning and Zoning Commission's Jan. 13 meeting, where Steven Thrasher from Phyllis Montgomery Trust asked to rezone the property from R-1 Residential to Manufactured Home Park.

Many homeowners near the area urged the commission to reject the request, but the commission voted 3-1 to approve it. At the council meeting Tuesday night, McKinney explained that Phyllis Montgomery Trust chose to build single-family homes and duplexes only, opting against placing trailer homes in the area.

"After consideration from the neighbors, they've decided to make this back part duplexes. There will be no trailers," McKinney said.

Alderman Cindy George said she worried about the influx of traffic in the area with more homes being added to the neighborhood.

"It's going to be magnified by this," she said. "What we can do about it, I don't know."

McKinney suggested that the city continue to improve the streets, saying any addition to the city will cause more traffic.

"We'll just keep making College better," he said.

The council approved Ordinance No. 966 on a second reading by title only. The proposed ordinance would replace an existing portion of the city code regarding animals and fowl. The ordinance would increase the annual license fee for an unaltered dog or cat from $20 to $25, decreasing the fee for an altered dog or cat from $7.50 to $5.

It also addresses the confinement of dogs, prohibiting direct-point chaining or tethering of dogs to a stationary object. Dogs may be restrained, the ordinance reads, by a trolley system with one dog tethered to one cable run and each dog having a properly fitting collar.

There must be a swivel on at least one end of the tether, the proposed ordinance continues, and the cable must run 10 feet in length and allow the dog access to the maximum available exercise area, as well as food, water and shelter.

The council also approved proposed Ordinance No. 967 on its second reading by title only. The proposed ordinance accepts the streets identified as Paradise Heights Drive, located within Phase VI of the Paradise Heights Subdivision, into the Berryville city street system. Henry Adams, who has developed the land over the years, was granted final plat approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting Jan. 13.

McKinney informed the council that spring cleaning is coming up, saying the city will not pick up tires, batteries or scrap metal. After years of citizens abusing the cleanup, he said, the system has considerably tightened up.

"This last year they were pretty strict on what they picked up. They put down a pretty hard and fast rule about the number of things to pick up," he said.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at City Hall.

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