Berryville council approves budget, gets good news on state grants
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville City Council approved the city’s 2021 budget resolution at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and also got some good financial news from Mayor Tim McKinney.
McKinney told the council that the city has been approved to receive two separate grants, one for $242,000 and the other for $100,000.
The $100,000 grant, from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, will be used to build a trail from the Berryville Community Center to the historic Berry Spring, which is being restored by the city.
The larger grant, which was awarded by the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, will be used for playground equipment at the city’s new soccer fields as well as adding some sidewalks and parking places to make the facility compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
McKinney said the city received an initial state grant to help pay for construction of the soccer complex. He said the city tries to use revenue from its half-cent municipal sales tax to help attract state grants. Berryville voters first approved the sales tax in 2011 and approved a 10-year extension of the tax in 2017. It is set to expire in 2030.
“We try to use all that money we can to match us on grants,” McKinney said. “We’ve done real well. I think we’ve gotten over a half-million dollars in grants from Parks.”
Also at the Dec. 15 meeting, the council approved the second and third readings of an ordinance vacating an undeveloped street easement in the Fort Addition No. 2 and McKinney signed a proclamation distributed by the Arkansas Municipal League recognizing Jan. 19, 2021, as a National Day of Racial Healing.
At McKinney’s suggestion, the council agreed to table a proposed ordinance authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption. Permits would be limited to private clubs and restaurants, with restaurants defined as any business that derives at least 50 percent of its gross revenues from the serving or sale of prepared food.
McKinney said he had discovered that the city actually adopted a similar ordinance in 1998. He suggested that city council members review the existing ordinance and consider amending it rather than adopting a new ordinance.
The Berryville City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Berryville Community Center.