Berryville council allocates funds for police, fire personnel

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Berryville City Council on May 3 voted to approve a resolution appropriating more than $1 million of the funds the city received under the American Rescue Plan to offset personnel expenses for the city’s police and fire department personnel.

Mayor Tim McKinney said the funds were available for this purpose according to guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the planned use for the funds was a project coordinated by his administrative assistant, Jay Lee.

“Jay has been working on this,” McKinney said. “What they basically did is, all these rescue funds, instead of showing $20 here and $50 there, if it’s under a certain amount, apply it all to the police and fire on wages and salaries and missed time and all that stuff.”

Tim Mckinney

Under the approved resolution, the city will transfer $1,088,474.75 of the city’s ARP grant to cover the city’s budgeted expenses for the police and fire department personnel expenditures, freeing up the budgeted funds to be returned to the city’s general fund and amending the operating budget to reflect the change.

“It’s money that we’ve always budgeted, most of it,” McKinney said. “Instead of having to fill out 50 pages of paperwork, the [Arkansas Municipal League] and others worked with them to come up with this plan to just say you used it and then there it is.

“It’s just dotting an ‘i’ and crossing a ‘t’ here is what we’re doing.”

In response to a question from council member Jason Williams regarding a possible surplus, Lee told council members that the money returned to the general fund would be used to cover extra expenses related to the city’s new industrial park.

“So it kind of balances everything out,” said council member Max Nichols.

In other business, the council also set a date for a public hearing regarding a petition for the city to vacate a portion of Fancher Avenue that extends into property owned by Mark Stone.

According to Williams, the proposed change would only affect Stone.

“There’s only one landowner abutting it,” Williams said, adding that the parcel on Fancher, described as “lying between Blocks 15 and 16 of the Original Survey plat” and “being all that part of Fancher Avenue lying between Baker Street and Spring Street” serves no purpose.

The public hearing regarding Stone’s petition will be held during the council’s next regular meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

The council approved two requests from citizens, one regarding the use of Pioneer Park for a block party hosted by Kings River Church at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 15, and the other from Carroll County Cruisers regarding their monthly Cruise Ins on the downtown square.

According to the request from the Cruisers, the first Cruise In is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, May 27, and they will continue monthly through Oct. 28.

Both requests received unanimous approval.

The council also reviewed the monthly report from the city’s Saunders Museum.

The report, prepared by museum director Joan Lasseter and issued for the abbreviated month of April, showed the museum hosted 89 visitors — 86 adults and three children — since opening on April 15 and took in $519, including $437.50 in admission fees, $68.50 in merchandise sales and a $13 donation. Last year, the museum hosted 66 visitors in April and took in $381.75.

“Its awesome to see that,” said council member Linda Riddlesperger, a volunteer at the museum.

Riddlesperger told the council that the museum would soon be featured in a segment on KOLR-TV in Springfield, which was preparing a report on places to take a day trip in Carroll County.

“They asked if they could film and do a little bit of video and do an interview with Joan,” Riddlesperger said. “They said it will be an abbreviated interview on the news but you can go to their website and see a more extensive interview. I think that will be good publicity.”

The segment, Riddlesperger said, is scheduled to air Wednesday, May 11, between 5 and 7 p.m.

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