BV Council to amend 2017 budget
The Berryville City Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to amend the 2017 Operating Budget.
The council voted to approve Ordinance 1028, which amends the operating budget for the fiscal year of 2017. The council voted to adopt an emergency clause in order to pass the ordinance on all three readings.
City administrative assistant Jay Lee said the ordinance reflects adjustments made to certain line items in each city department.
“We’re not adjusting the overall department budgets,” he said, “just line item type stuff where expenses may have gone over or where we took in more revenue than expected.”
Lee said the budget adjustments are an annual process for the city.
The emergency clause states that the operating expenses for the city of Berryville are necessary for the orderly function of city government and for the preservation of public peace, health and safety. Therefore, it says, an emergency is declared, and the ordinance will go into full effect upon its passage.
The council later voted to adopt Resolution 1029, stating the city’s intent to vacate portion of Railroad Avenue and an undescribed alley located in the Railroad Addition to the city. It further states the city will abandon all interest it may have in the property.
The resolution says the portion of Railroad Avenue and the undescribed alley have not been used by the city for longer than anyone can remember but have been used exclusively and privately by the Paul Jackson Irrevocable Trust and its predecessors.
The council also voted to approve a request for the use of George Pond Park submitted by Kings River Church for a neighborhood block party to be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 8.
Also at the meeting, public information officer Jeff Hatley presented the activity report for Ozark Regional Transit Authority.
“To say 2017 was a challenging year would be an understatement,” he said. “As you all know, we had a major fire in January 2017, which put us on our heels the rest of the year.”
The transit system lost 20 out of 25 buses, Hatley said.
“We went into borrowing mode,” he said. “Thankfully, there are a lot of transit systems across the country which let us borrow some of their extra vehicles to keep our routes going. That came with some issues because we obviously didn’t get the cream of the group and had some maintenance issues to address.”
Ridership dropped by 18 percent, Hatley said. Overall ridership for last month was 18,385 people, he said, which is a 29 percent increase.
“It was a lot larger because we had such a drop-off last year,” he said.
Hatley said the company started a program in June 2017 allowing veterans with government identification of their veteran status to ride the fixed route systems for free.
“Veterans are liking that,” he said. “The total number since June 5, 2017, is 13,464 veterans who have ridden our fixed route system for free since the program’s inception.”
Dan Lovelady, representing Crews & Associates Inc., presented the council with the Arkansas Trendsetter City 2017 award. The city received the award for the Education/Workforce Development category for cities with populations between 5,000 and 20,000 people. The recognition was for the Connect 4 program, an innovative program and initiative that has forged a partnership between the city of Berryville, Tyson Foods and the Berryville, Green Forest and Eureka Springs school districts.
“As a former school superintendent myself, it’s great to see a project like this,” Lovelady said. “The benefit that will come directly for your students and indirectly for the communities is just tremendous.”
“It’s nice to be recognized for that program,” said Mayor Tim McKinney. “The remodeling of the old armory is coming along well. I believe they’ve had over 70 students show interest in the program already.”
The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at City Hall.