Jordan named new police chief

By Staff, 08/18/20 2:29 PM

PRESCOTT – Ann Jordan was officially named the new Prescott Police Chief.

This was done during the Aug. meeting of the Prescott City Council Monday night. Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver reminded the council Joey Beavers is retiring and had an excellent career spanning 32 years. Beavers’ career included being in the military police, working as an officer with the Department of Defense, U.S. Border Patrol, Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas State Police where he was a special narcotics agent as well as a trooper, the assistant chief with the PPD along with being the chief. As chief, Beavers applied for and obtained $150,000 in grants for the PPD, helped get a new salary package instituted for officers and entered into an agreement to work jointly with the Eighth Judicial District North Task Force.

Oliver said there were four good applicants for the position, but he picked Jordan, who’s been working at City Hall almost 10 years. He pointed out JordanĀ  started as a patrolman with the PPD in 1999, worked her way up to Sgt., was a school resource officer and, eventually, the assistant chief. He said law enforcement is her passion, and she has a close working relationship with the community and wants to work more with those in the 15-25 age group.

After the meeting, Oliver was asked why he chose Jordan over officers currently on the force who are certified. He said he’s worked with her for years and he’s seen other officers come and talk to her and seek advice. In addition, he said she knows the people well and also knows the streets and, “IĀ  feel she can do what’s needed.”

At this time, Jordan isn’t certified as a law enforcement officer. When asked about this, Oliver said she’s been in contact with the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA) about becoming recertified, but has already passed her physical exam, though she hasn’t taken the psychological test yet.

Oliver admitted Jordan won’t be allowed to carry a firearm until she’s certified, and won’t be working the streets until she is. In the interim, she’ll be at the PPD doing administrative work. Her first day as chief was Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Jason Carter, general counsel with the Arkansas Municipal Power Association, and Henry Thompson, electric consultant for Prescott, were on hand to talk about net metering. Carter was at the July meeting to tell the council what net metering meant. Tuesday he talked a out the need to approve an ordinance specifying the rules and regulations people will have to follow who want to use solar power.

City Attorney Glenn Vasser told the panel utility companies across the state are being barraged with people wanting to connect to solar power and the Arkansas General Assembly passed a law mandating municipal utilities to allow net metering. Vasser added there are people locally who will want to do this as well.

Net metering is basically connecting a solar system to an existing electric grid. Vasser pointed out the rules a city adopts must be fair to all parties involved and work to make sure those on the city’s system aren’t subsidizing those using solar power and vice versa.

Carter said Prescott is one of 14 cities in Arkansas with its own municipal system. By allowing net metering, he told the panel, this will allow customers to have control over their utility bills and the environment. He said this isn’t a new thing and has been around since 2000, but has become popular in recent years because it costs less for people go use solar energy.

He said the city won’t make money from this, but it shouldn’t lose money either. The basic rules, Carter told the council are: (1) safety first; (2) reliability; and (3) getting the money right for both parties.

Those wanting to go solar will be limited as to how much power they can generate. Carter said normally residential limits are 10 kilowatt hours (kwh) and non-residential is 100 kwh. He said the city and solar systems will work in parallel, which means they’ll be generating and receiving simultaneously. An automatic and manual disconnect will be required on any solar system to insure the safety of city employees.

Thompson said the way the proposed ordinance is written individuals won’t be providing 100 percent of their electricity needs, and will be billed for how much they use from the city. Conversely, the city will credit those using solar for the power the city received from them.

Carter said those using solar will pay the same rates and will get credit for the electricity going to the city’s system. He said residential and non-residential customers can operate from the same system.

Those looking to go solar will have to go through an application process which includes proving their system is properly designed. The owners of the system must do annual tests, while the city is required to test solar systems every three years.

The ordinance was tabled until the September meeting to give the council more time to go over it and through the proposed rules.

In other business, Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said an effort is being made to clean up the Potlatch property. There are several portable buildings on the property that will be let for bid over Facebook. Anyone interested can go to the EDO’s Facebook page, examine the buildings and make their bids.

She reminded the council the EDO is still working on the 2020 Census. Godwin pointed out Nevada County is just above 50 percent and it’s important to get everyone to fill out their census forms. The council members were given copies of the information needed and told to get people who hadn’t filled out their forms to provide the info so her office could upload them to the web.

Alex Smith, with community outreach from Magnolia, said he’s working in the county on substance abuse, which is a big problem. He said young people are making changes, and he’s working hard to get resources to do more locally. He’s currently working with Curry Ministries to get the word out about the dangers of drugs.

Brad Glass, with Park Baptist Church, was on hand to ask the city if it would reduce the price of the two lots the church wants to buy and turn into parking lots, or if the city would pay for the removal of seven trees from one of the lots. He said the church is growing and the room is needed.

Earlier this year, the city agreed to sell the church two lots near the church for $20,690. Glass said the courthouse shows there’s still a lien against the property and nothing can be done until it’s removed.

Vasser said the lien isn’t valid and is uncollectable so there’s no reason the church can’t do what it wants with the land. He pointed out the council decided what the property should sell for after it was appraised and the city has a fiduciary responsibility to sell at the appraised value. The trees, he added, are part of the appraised value.

Glass asked if the price could be reduces to $13,150 as it’s going to cost $7,500 to have the trees removed. The two amounts combined still equal $20,690, he said. Glass continued saying the church has doubled in size over the last two years and parking is an issue. He said it will cost more than $20,000 to get things the way they want them and will still have to pay for stump removal and land leveling. He also said the church is looking to build a new building in the near future.

The council took no action on the request as the decision had been made earlier this year.

The meeting ended with Perry Nelson, water and sewer superintendent, updating the council on the sand removal project at the Little Missouri River. He said 50,000 cubic yards of sand was removed and mud buggies were used to haul the sand away. An area 100 feet long and eight to 10 feet deep, or to the original river bed, was dredged to remove the sand, which was infiltrating an intake valve.

The city, he said, received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing the city to dig within 200 foot of the tank. However, Nelson added, this is a stop-gap measure and will have to be closely monitored. The project came in under budget by $10,000. He told the council it would be a good idea to look for a more permanent solution and funding in the future.

He added the sand is available for anyone wanting or needing some, but it’s still wet.