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Council votes to end Beard’s pay

By Staff, 05/22/18 10:18 AM

PRESCOTT – Following an executive session, the Prescott City Council, at its May meeting Monday night, voted to quit paying Connie Beard, though she remains an employee of the city.

Beard was charged with theft of more than $38,000 from the Prescott Police Department and placed on administrative leave with pay initially. The council left Beard on administrative leave, but suspended her pay.

Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office (EDO), updated the council on work being done by the EDO. She said the mural has been sealed and should last longer and construction is finished on the splash pad. Sod was put down at the splash pad Tuesday morning.

Other work at the park will see Lawrence Construction repainting the bathrooms and concession stand, with commercial grade toilets installed in the bathrooms. Godwin said the splash pad won’t be open for Memorial Day, as planned, but should open soon. Part of the problem is the computer will need to be programmed and people trained to operate it to set the water timers. The pad will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.

Prescott and Nevada County have been included in Arkansas Opportunity Zones, she said. Several months ago the EDO was contacted by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission about participating. The paperwork was filled out and submitted to the governor’s office where it was approved. There are 337 potential sites in Arkansas, but the list was narrowed to 85. The information has been sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for approval as this is a federal program.

If approved on the federal level, Godwin said, it could help Prescott and Nevada County, as it would help provide business and industry with more incentives to locate and invest here through tax credits and capital gains.

The board approved hay contracts as well. Chance Cummings was awarded the bid for the Industrial Park with a bid of $8.01 per bale. Under the agreement, he will be required to cut hay on 90 percent of the property there. Bids for a plot behind the DeAnne Cemetery and the old garment factory were awarded to Ed Godwin for $2 a bale.

Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, told the council about a community-wide cleanup set for May 30. Volunteers are asked to meet at Sterling Square at 8 a.m. and go to areas needing to be cleaned up. Businesses participating are asked to take pictures of the cleanup work they do as well. Participants will get Great Arkansas Cleanup trash bags to use, along with a Great Arkansas Cleanup t-shirt for participating.

Bulk items will be picked up as well. Hillery asked people with bulk items to call the Chamber at 870-887-2101 so city sanitation crews can be dispatched. Some brush will also be picked up.

The council approved two new members of the Prescott Fire Department. Kevin Carlton will be replacing Chris McKay and Ronnie Sargent will take over Tim Plunkett’s position.

Helen and William Mullins were on hand to ask the city to repair the right of way by First Baptist Church as it’s in poor condition and reportedly is a hazard to church members, especially the elderly.

There was a lot of debate about whether the city could make the repairs or if the property even belonged to the city. In the end, the decision was to repair the ROW.

Jackie Dansby talked to the council about problems with the Prescott Police Department, claiming officers were pulling over young people and senior citizens for no reason. He said several of those pulled over are on parole and can’t refuse having their vehicles searched. According to Dansby, the PPD is using the law to its advantage and people are scared.

He hinted at a possible lawsuit, but agreed young people do need discipline. However, he said the PPD is “crushing their dreams”. Dansby told the council he’s talked with the chief of police several times, has complained to the mayor and went to the Prosecuting Attorney, who never got back with him. He said he’s even called Little Rock asking for the PPD to be investigated.

Chief Joey Beavers said he’s more than willing to meet with Dansby and will look into the allegations made. Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver said he’d meet with both of them as well. Dansby was told to bring any evidence of police wrongdoing he has with him.

Oliver said the city repaired a weather siren for tornadoes at a cost of $2,000. However, the bill can’t be paid because the city doesn’t own the equipment and an interlocal agreement was needed with the county. The council approved an interlocal agreement so the repair costs can be paid. The siren near the Nevada County Rescue Unit is the only one to be maintained.