Batesville City Council meet: Parks and Recreation Commission abolished, new advisory committee formed

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The Batesville City Council approved an ordinance at Tuesday night’s meeting abolishing the Parks and Recreation Commission and creating a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

Parks Director Jeff Owens said the change reflects the way the body operates, which is more as an advisory group rather than a rule-making commission.

Owens recommended that the current members of the commission be appointed to the advisory committee. After adopting the ordinance, the council did just that.

Current members of the committee include Kristie Jenkins, Jonathon Burgess, Kim Looney, Greg Mohlke, Kyle Kallsnick, and Scott Fredricks. Dr. Chris Beller was on the commission until he resigned when he moved outside the city. That position has not been filled.

The committee will consist of seven members appointed by the city council for three-year terms. In order to created staggered terms, the committee will determine that two members will serve one-year terms, two members will serve a two-year term, and two will serve three years. Thereafter, all the terms shall be for three years.

The council also passed a resolution approving a revised Consent Administrative Order with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The order was initiated in July 2008 and addresses sanitary sewer overflow issues.

The revised order says the city and ADEQ have agreed on an updated milestone schedule. It also authorizes Mayor Rick Elumbaugh and City Clerk Denise Johnston to execute the order.

The milestone schedule outlines the work that needs to be completed to remediate the sewer overflow issues.

The updated schedule includes these items and the completion dates:
• Sewer system rehabilitation by city forces by Dec. 31, 2018
• Rehabilitation of private service lines by December 2019
• Mainline construction by November 2020
• Sewer system rehabilitation by contract by December 2022
• Sewer system effectiveness evaluation by September 2023
• Assess remedial action/additional facilities to contain peak flows by July 2024

Both the ordinance and resolution were approved with a 6-0 vote. Council members David Shetron and Paige Hubbard were absent.

On another matter, Crystal Johnson, president/CEO of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, appeared before the council to invite them to attend the Chamber Board retreat on Dec. 19. She said they would be discussing the next steps in the Impact Independence strategic planning process.

She said a representative from the Center for Economic Development at the University of Central Arkansas would attend the meeting to guide the discussion.

The mayor issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 5 as Go Pink for the Cure Day to promote breast cancer awareness.

The council canceled its Sept. 25 meeting because of a conflict with the mayor’s schedule. The council’s next meeting will be Oct. 9 unless pressing business comes up before then.

After an executive session, the mayor said personnel issues were discussed but no action was taken.

Reporting by Bob Qualls

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