Widgetized Section

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

Citizens unhappy with Rosston City Council

By Staff, 07/12/18 9:15 PM

ROSSTON – Once again disgruntled citizens filled the tiny Rosston City Hall because of the water issue.

However, they left even more unhappy than they were when they arrived because they were informed they wouldn’t be allowed to speak if they weren’t on the agenda. This was done after the debacle the June meeting turned into with several people talking at once, no one listening and the meeting being adjourned with nothing being done.

The Rosston City Council held a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, prior to the council meeting for July, to discuss a fun grant for $50,000 which could be used to purchase playground equipment. Rosston Mayor Lewis Jackson said the grant wouldn’t require any matching funds from the city, but a resolution was required giving the city permission to apply for the grant. He said the city could purchase a slide-swing combo and put it in the middle of the walking track, near the bench already there.

One member of the public suggested the city do something like a splash pad so the children would have somewhere to go in the summer months and cool off. Jackson said this would be looked into, but children can also use the playground equipment.

The council approved the resolution.

That done, it was agreed to start the regular council meeting early. People were piling in and continued showing up throughout the meeting. Jackson told everyone if they weren’t on the agenda they wouldn’t be allowed to speak at the meeting because of how the June meeting got out of hand. This didn’t set well with the packed house, who were ready to vent their spleen in opposition to the city’s ordinance requiring one meter for each house.

He said the council had voted on the meter issue and he’d talked with an attorney from the Arkansas Municipal League, who reportedly told him those not complying could have their water shut off after getting due process.

According to what Lanny Dwight Richmond II, attorney for the AML, sent to Jackson, the statutes specifically authorize cities to offer water services outside city limits. If the non-compliant customers refuse to come into compliance the city could begin the process of shutting off the water. Prior to this, the city needs to ensure the customer received due process.

Jackson said a person must own the property and house where the meter is set. Those who own the property can hook as many structures to the water as they want, but they have to be the owners of the land and houses. He told the audience he’d called the Attorney General’s Office and was referred to the AML where he was told the city ordinance stands up under the law.

However, instead of voting on the measure and putting an end to the situation, the council decided all five members need to be present when the decision is made and tabled the issue yet again.

Rick McAfee, superintendent of the Nevada School District, was on hand to find out if the district would be exempt from the requirement as it’s not a privately owned entity, but is owned by the public. Jackson had said if anything would be exempted, it would be the school.

The council was told an ordinance was needed to close a street for the proposed Dollar General Store and one would be ready for the next meeting.

The council passed a resolution applying for a loan to paint a water tank through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission at 3 percent interest. He said the Arkansas Department of Health requires the interior of the tank to be painted and this is something that’s needed to be done for years.

The council also decided to change the city’s agreement on the cell tower and enter into a 10-year agreement for an easement for $81,000 in a lump sum payment. Jackson said he and the city’s attorney tried to get the company to go for a month-to-month lease, but this was rejected. The company, ATC Sequoyah, bought the tower from Verizon. The money will be placed in the city’s general fund.

Several residents stayed behind after the meeting was adjourned to complain and be placed on the agenda for the August meeting.