Council Discusses Changes to Flea Market Ordinance, Stray Cats Around the City

Aug 6th, 2014 | By admin | Category: Top Story

BY

LEE “CAT” McLANE

Editor/Publisher

Flea Markets and cats were some of the issues discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the Beebe City Council held Monday night July 28th.

Owners of the Junk House Flea Market, Morgan and Kathy Hall attended the meeting to discuss their views on the city’s ordinance which limits the opportunity for flea markets to display merchandise in front of their stores. The city’s current ordinance limits all flea markets and junk stores from putting merchandise in front of their stores - even if they have a large parking lot in front of them. The original ordinance was to help keep the sidewalks clear so that people don’t have to navigate around merchandise out on the sidewalk.

“I don’t have a problem with stuff outside if it isn’t on a pedestrian sidewalk as long as it’s not 6-8 ft. out in front of the building,” commented Mayor Mike Robertson.

“We are looking for equitable treatment,” said Morgan Hall. “If the council amended this ordinance tonight, I doubt we would change anything. All we are asking for is direction as to what is allowable and not - we will abide by it.” Hall said that Beebe is becoming known as a mecca for flea markets and with that the people are spending money in town.

The council took no action but will look at the old ordinance at the next council meeting.

Another issue that was brought up was the problem of stray cats in the city. Alderman Harold Welch told the council that several people had come to him and asked for the city to do something about the problem.

Mayor Mike Robertson stated that he couldn’t spend $100,000 of taxpayers money to catch stray cats. He also stated that if the city set out traps to catch them, they would just keep them for 10 days and then have to euthanize them.

The mayor said he was open to spending up to $4,000 to spay/neuter as many cats as possible and was open to a rescue group adopting out the feral cats or a spay/neuter/release group helping with the problem. The mayor will investigate some low-cost spay/neuter mobile clinics that might be able to come to the city to help the people with spaying and neutering their cats.

In other matters, the council heard a report about upgrading the lighting in the police department building to help save money being spent on monthly electric bills. The cost would be $12,000 to upgrade and the city would get a $4,550 incentive from Entergy. If the upgrades are done it is estimated that the city would save $3,642 per year. No action was taken. The issue was tabled until next month.

In other action, the council:

•  Approved Resolution 2014-03 which authorizes the city to provide dirt work and property maintenance on property owned by the Beebe Industrial Development Corp.

•  Approved the purchase of a home and property located at 302 N. Fir for $40,000 which will be used to store city records.

•  Approved Res. 2014-04 which adopts the finalized White County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan;

•  Tabled the Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA) program which would have cost $2,000 to join. The MLRA recruits industry to the area.

•  Approved the purchase of a SCBA compressor for $29,000 as Fire Chief William Nick gave a presentation on the equipment. The unit recharges the air paks the firemen have to wear when entering a smoky/burning building. The Beebe Vol. Fire Dept. will contribute $12,000 from their recent fundraiser to help purchase the compressor.

•  Approved the expenditure of up to $20,000 for a new transformer at the city park which will enable vendors to have electricity for Fall Fest - which will be held at the park beginning this year.

•  Approved Res. 2014-5 which accepts Terrace Meadows Phase 1 -for which the plat was accepted Oct. 8, 2010 - and contained the emergency clause.

•  Approved Ord. 2014-08 (published in this issue on Pg. 6) which changes the property at So. Apple and Fox from R-1 to R-2. The whole block was approved by minutes previously but the ordinance had not been presented.