City attorney: Ball is in Entergy's court

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Berryville City Council is waiting to pursue legal action against Entergy until hearing from the company's attorney.

City attorney Clint Scheel informed the council at its Tuesday meeting that he has been researching the legal issues regarding the relocation of Entergy power lines for the College Avenue project.

"I'm hopeful that the last correspondence I had with Entergy's attorney is going to be beneficial for us," Scheel said, "but I have not gotten the final response on whether or not she has been convinced to see it our way."

The city has been working to widen College Avenue and add sidewalks along the street to improve its safety, Mayor Tim McKinney said, but there has been some disagreement over whether Entergy or the city is responsible for paying to move the utility lines.

At the council's Sept. 6 meeting, McKinney said the law states that the citizens are not to bear the costs of relocating utility lines.

"Entergy has sent us a bunch of case law and other things, but none of it really pertained to our situation," McKinney said.

Scheel said he will return with Entergy's final decision at the council's next meeting. If an agreement has not been reached between Entergy and the city, he said, he will advise the council on how to proceed with legal action against the company.

"We need a final decision from them before deciding to go forward or not," Scheel said. "If their opinion has not been swayed, then there's the next step."

McKinney said the College Avenue project will continue as scheduled no matter the outcome.

He later reported to the council that the water department will be switching to an envelope bill. The new billing method will allow the department to include all of the information on a single page, he said.

"It will actually be a little bit cheaper, too," McKinney said. "We're not completely ditching the old system, but we're going to try this and see how it works for us and the customers."

Also at the meeting, McKinney read the monthly police report for August sent by Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos. The report states that 157 citations were issued, 75 offenses were reported, six warrants were served, 18 fingerprints were done, 10 VIN verifications were done and 18 accidents were reported.

The council also voted to approve a request from Berryville Christian Fellowship for the use of Pioneer Park for a church service from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.

McKinney also said that the annual city leaf pick-up is coming up in November. The trucks will be making only one pass through each route, he said, so residents need to check the pick-up schedules and guidelines and place leaves and limbs at the curb or edge of their streets.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 at City Hall.

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