Tobacco-free parks bill advances in Green Forest

Friday, April 14, 2017

Green Forest has taken its first step toward tobacco-free parks.

The Green Forest City Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to approve Ordinance 656 on its first reading.

The ordinance would prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco in any city parks or recreational areas. The ordinance clarifies that smoking and tobacco use shall include the lighting or possession of any cigarette, cigar or pipe as well as smokeless tobacco products such as dip, chew and electronic cigarettes.

The city shall post signs in conspicuous places at all city parks and recreational areas, the ordinance states. It says any person convicted of violating the ordinance shall be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $100 for the third and subsequent offenses.

The council will review the ordinance for its second and third readings over the next two months.

The council later voted to accept a $24,488.87 bid from the Arkansas Municipal League for the city’s building and automobile insurance.

“The Municipal League contacted the city and asked why we don’t use them for building and automobile insurance,” said Mayor Charles Reece. “They said they could save us a considerable amount of money.”

While the city previously had a bid from United Insurance for $70,000, Reece said the Municipal League’s quote would save the city about $45,000.

“To me, that’s a no-brainer,” he said. “The city has already been using them for health insurance.”

The council also voted to approve the purchase of a new meter reader truck for $21,770 and a new mower for the parks from Midwest Equipment for $8,000.

The council also approved the allotment of $8,000 to the fire department for the purchase of 12 extrication suits. Green Forest Fire Chief Tim Howard said the suits are $628.50 each and $657.50 for the larger sizes. Howard said the department needed to purchase 23. Reece recommended that the council approve the purchase of the first 12 suits at this time.

“That money will come out of the emergency fund,” he said. “We will approve the fire department for $8,000 for the purchase of 12 extrication suits. That should provide some cushion for the total price.”

Also at the meeting, Reece said the city’s spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 22. He said electronics must be brought to the parking lot of Green Forest United Methodist Church where a dumpster will be set up.

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