Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Rosston council meeting contentious

By Staff, 06/14/18 2:52 PM

ROSSTON – June’s meeting of the Rosston City Council was contentious as customers of the Rosston Rural Water System were on hand in force because they were unhappy (to say the least) about changes the city’s made recently.

Nevada Superintendent Rick McAfee was on hand to see if the council would exempt the school from being required to have several separate meters. He said he realized this is a touchy subject and the city needs to stay in business, but, he added, his job is to make sure the school stays in business as well.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Attorney General, he said, there is no state law requiring separate meters for multiple households. For the ADH, he pointed out the key word in its requirements is “own” and the school isn’t privately owned, but owned by the people of the district. The council made its decision, he continued, basing it on residential customers, whereas the school is a commercial customer. The ADH, he pointed out, wondered why the school had two meters.

The city is requiring the school add four more meters, which, McAfee said, would require the district to seek a millage increase, something it hasn’t done in 30 years.

He asked the school be exempt from this requirement, saying it’s a decision of the council, not the state, adding the Attorney General’s opinion states schools don’t need more than one water meter. McAfee continued, telling the council it doesn’t have the right to shut the school’s water off or it would be in violation of state law and the district would press charges if this were done.

“Look at what’s actually required and vote accordingly,” he said “Ownership is the key, and there is case law where other cities have lost trying to do the same thing.”

Herbert Coleman said the same law applies to residences and if a person owns the property they can put all the building on it on one meter.

Rosston Mayor Lewis Jackson reminded the crowd of the 1983 ordinance which states one meter per household.

From there the meeting degenerated as people began talking over one another, saying the city hasn’t been enforcing the ordinance and shouldn’t start now, especially with the requirement of those double hooked to meters having to get a perk test done.

Bo Morris, with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, told the council an ordinance isn’t a law, but something passed by the council.

Jackson said ordinances approved by the council are laws. It reached the point where Jackson said nothing was getting accomplished and called for the meeting to be adjourned.

McAfee asked the council to vote on the school issue, and was told by Jackson he’d rather wait until the entire council was present. Only three members were at the meeting. One of the council moved to adjourn the meeting, getting a quick second to shut the meeting down.

Those present left, still unhappy, and a member of the council began discussing the situation again. The council was informed once the meeting is adjourned, it is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act for any further business to be discussed. Under the FOIA, once a meeting is adjourned, it can’t be opened again unless the media is given a minimum of two hours advance notice for a special called meeting.