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Mountain Home City Council will be meeting at its regularly scheduled time of 6 p.m. at City Hall this evening.
The council’s meeting earlier this week was short, with the council only looking at one new ordinance for the evening before looking at a resolution to establish incentives for residential developments within the city limits of Mountain Home. The resolution for residential developments was put on hold and will be addressed again tonight.
The council also address a request from the North Arkansas Transportation Service (NATS) to receive an additional three months of funding from the city to provide its services for free to public. That request was granted.
The initial three-month pilot program for NATS was approved in October, with the council moving in November to approve the line item in the budget for the public transportation provider.
The motion to create the line item carried, with only one dissenting vote.
The dissenting vote was that of Councilwoman Paige Dillard Evans, who recently was re-elected to City Council in a landslide against Marshella J. Norell. Evans originally voted in favor of the program back in October but voted against the budget line item on Nov. 3 after hearing from constituents.
NATS is a transportation company that aims to provide rides at no cost to residents within Mountain Home city limits by getting the city to foot the bill.
Currently, NATS has seven buses and six employees and provides transportation in Mountain Home along its scheduled route for $1. NATS also provides the Mountain Home area with a $3 “dial-a-ride” service where anyone can book a ride in advance to anywhere in Baxter County.
Despite being snowed in for large portions of its initial test run, NATS did relatively well during its initial test run, offering 1,328 trips to the public. There was little advertisement of the organizations service during Christmas festivities, and the organization was missing a full time driver. Those who did ride with NATS, gave the organization high praise, according to representatives attending the meeting.
Ordinances for this evening
For its first ordinance of the night, City Council will look at waiving competitive bidding to authorize the purchase of Axon body worn cameras and software.
Mountain Home Police Department is currently requesting 30 body worn cameras for its officers for the purpose of replacing existing cameras that are no longer operable. The department is wishing for sign off on purchasing Axon cameras due to the size of the purchase, some $275,000 over a five-year period, and Axon’s reputation with keeping and maintaining one of the United States most comprehensive evidence library.
Local governments all across the country have seen a rise in the use of body worn cameras over the last decade due to the cameras ability to protect officers and the public in court. MHPD is requesting that City Council pass the ordinance with an emergency clause.
The second ordinance of the night will see city council amend the zoning ordinance No. 98-21 for the City of Mountain Home, to clarify and expand permitted uses within zoning districts.
A third ordinance amending the schedule rates for water system users in Mountain Home will also be taken up by the council. That ordinance will be followed by another ordinance amending the schedule rates for sewer system users within city limits. The proposed numbers can be read below.
An additional ordinance to address humidity levels in regard to the open burning of yard waste. That ordinance, if passed, would dictate that burning can only done on days with 5 mph winds or less. All burning would also be required to be supervised person 16 years or older.
Residents would also be required to have their burn permits 25 ft or more from their residential structures. No outside burning would be allowed if the relative humidity level is at 25% or less. That determination would be made by on-duty Fire Department personnel.
The Council will end the evening by making some amendments to the city’s noise ordinance.
Mountain Home’s Fire Department will also be asking City Council for the following:
1. Request to open new Checking Account for Fire Department Donation Funds at First Security Bank and move current amount for donations in amount of $ 125,335.55 into this account from Farmers & Merchants using same line item in Incode for checking 113-1000-11020. Interest Rate at first security bank is @ 3.67% we are only drawing .14% at Farmers on this account.
2. Request to open new Checking Account at First Security Bank for Act 833 Funds W/line item 109- 1000-11020 in Incode for checking and move Act 833 funds that are currently inside Fire Department Donation Funds account at farmers to the new Act 833 fund checking in the amount of $44,568.75 to new account when opened.
3. Request to Create new funds for Act 833 inside Incode (Fund 109) and create line items for recording revenues & expenses for Act 833 to record transactions: Fund at current budgeted levels to new fund 109 from old fund 113. Fire Chief feel this will be a better way to track Act 833 due to the limitations and tracking/reporting ability for Act 833 funds.
• 109-1000-11020 – Act 833 Checking
• 109-4000-36010 – Act 833 – Revenue
• 109-4000-61230 – Act 833- Interest Income
• 109-4000-83300 – Act 833 – Carryover
• 109-5109-23010 – Act 833- Purchase Expenses
• 109-5109-79000 – Projected Carryover
4. Request to close Farmers & Merchants Fire Department Donation Account after all funds have been transferred to new accounts satisfactorily.
5. Request to open new Checking Account at First Security Bank for Public Safety for saved funds for (New Fire Station).
• Request approval to create a line item within Incode for new fire department checking account to be 134-1000-11021 – New Fire Station.
• Request authorization to move current saved funds from prior years savings thru end of 2022 in the amount of $2,500,000 + 249,999.99 from January, February & March 2023 = for a TOTAL INITIAL TRANSER of $2,749,999.99 from the shared checking account 134-1000-11020 to new checking account 134-1000-11021 – New Fire Station.
• Request approval to then transfer to new checking 134-1000-11021 from shared checking 134-1000-11020 each month an amount to equal $83,333.33/4 each month thru December 2023 to meet the remaining total of $750,000.01 of the 2023 budgeted monies – minus any expenses that are paid out prior to getting account opened and moved to new one. This to allow for payment of invoices that have already started coming in will and will continue until the building is completed. The purpose for separation is for better tracking of expenses for this project. The total of saved and current budgeted funds for this project will be equal to $3,500,000.00 at yearend.