Council Approves Beginning Condemnation Process on Former Powell & Company Building

Jan 31st, 2013 | By admin | Category: Top Story

BY LEE ‘CAT” McLANE

Editor/Publisher

In a move to protect its citizens, the Beebe City Council Monday night during the regular monthly meeting, approved beginning the process of condemnation of the over 100-year old building which is owned by an out-of-state man.

As the council knows due to discussions over the past few months, the owner of the property was said to be out of the country and the city attorney was charged with located this person and informing them of the condition of the quickly dilapidating building. But just until recently, the owner had not been located until a few weeks ago. A certified letter was sent to him and he replied that he needed more time to decide what to do.

Possibly because of the recent tragedy in Morrilton where an aging building collapsed on a toddler - killing her, the council agreed to begin condemnation proceedings on the property. City Attorney Barrett Rogers will proceed with the legal filings necessary.

In other council action, the mayor informed the council and those present of the many  accomplishments of the past year.

“We’ve operated the budget very close and tried to put back a little money here and there for a reserve which is about $1.5 million,” Mayor Mike Robertson said. “We kept enough money for emergencies and we used $400,000 after the recent storm in April and we repaid by FEMA - but if we had not had that money - we would have had to wait until FEMA could pay for it up front.”

“We’ve done some street improvements - some paving and some chip sealing,” Mayor Robertson said. “We are pretty much even with our revenues and expenses. We will keep our 2013 budget close and spend on infrastructure.” The mayor commended City Clerk/Treasurer Carol Westergren for doing a very good job and keeping him informed. The mayor took a break in the meeting for everyone to go out to the parking lot and see lots of equipment and vehicles which had been purchased this past year. He explained that many pieces of equipment had been purchased from the federal government for about $10,000 which would have cost the city about $500,000 if bought in the normal channel. The city purchased four generators for $174. each - which would normally have cost $2,000 each. The city got a Gator ATV for $57. which would normally have cost between $4,000 and $5,000.

Students from the EAST lab presented a program about a pedestrian bridge which they hope to facilitate between the ASU-Beebe campus and the Beebe Schools campus on Center Street. Jared Vick, Dakota Blood and Nicholas  Hall presented the program to the council. Mayor Robertson told the students that he believed that would be a helpful project to the school and the city and would do whatever he could to help it along.

The mayor commented on how well everyone in the city gets along with each other and department heads Chief Ballew of the Police Dept. and Chief William Nick of the Vol. Fire Dept. echoed those sentiments and thanked the mayor and council for their work the past year.

Newly elected council member Dale Bass was on hand for his first regular monthly meeting.

Chief Ballew asked the council if they would approve the purchase of one more vehicle for the department at a cost of $27,069. - which was the cost of one of the vehicles purchased a few months ago - on a state bid contract. The council approved the purchase.

Mayor Mike Robertson presented Resol. 2013-01 which regards the Act 833 process of allocating the monies between the various county fire departments. In the resolution, the mayor contends that it is currently being distributed in a way that is not fair to the larger cities such as Searcy and Beebe. The Intergovernmental Committee- which oversees this money - will meet Thursday night (tonight) in Searcy.

Mayor Robertson would like to see the money divided based on population of the latest census - as he said it was intended when the money was set up which comes from individual’s homeowners insurance premiums.  The matter is set to go to court at a later date.