McKinney discusses Halloween safety

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

Mayor Tim McKinney discussed guidance on Halloween activities from the Arkansas Department of Health at a Berryville City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

“What they’re basically saying is put a mask on your kid, only go to the houses of people you know and that want you there, any packaged candy you get, sanitize it when you get home, and stay away from large crowds,” he said. “The city doesn’t have any rules other than use common sense.”

The ADH says traditional trick-or-treating, crowded parties, haunted houses or hayrides with people outside of your household are higher risk and should be avoided.

Lower-risk activities include decorating one’s home, carving pumpkins with household members or outside and at a safe distance with friends, doing a virtual costume contest or having a candy scavenger hunt in one’s home.

It also says that costume masks are not a substitute for a protective mask unless they are made with two or more layers of fabric that completely covers the nose and mouth. However, layering a costume mask over a protective mask could be dangerous if it makes it difficult to breathe, so it is best to incorporate a cloth mask into the costume.

Also at the meeting, the council voted to go ahead and transfer the deed of the property the city donated to the Berryville Public Library for its new building.

McKinney said he wanted to transfer the title to the library even though it has not yet come up with a building plan so that the library can receive grant money.

“We’re giving them that land, and the deal was we’d make the final transfer when they got the building plan,” McKinney said. “They’re applying for grants, and they need to show ownership of that land now to help them with the funding.”

McKinney said that if a library is not built on the property, the land would go back to the city’s ownership.

McKinney also proclaimed the week of Sunday, Oct. 18 to Saturday, Oct. 24 the Friends of the Library Week.

“Our library does a lot for the community and we need to support them and all they do,” McKinney said.

In other business, Catherine Baker from the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD) was at the meeting to discuss a community development block grant.

Baker said the NWAEDD provided a grant to Nighthawk Custom Firearms a couple years ago to purchase equipment if the company retained a certain number of jobs.

“We’re at the end of that period; they had to retain those jobs for 24 months,” Baker said. “We are closing up the grant paperwork and we’ll move to the final audit.”

Also at the meeting, the council voted to approve millage rates for 2021, which are the same as last year. The real property millage for maintenance and operations and the personal property millage for maintenance and operations are both zero mills, and the real property city cemetery tax and personal property city cemetery tax are both one mill.

The council also voted to allow a one-man-band to reserve the town square to play music and talk about Jesus on Saturday, Oct. 10 after the farmer’s market.

The Berryville City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the Berryville Community Center.

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