Council Approves Placing Sales Tax Increase Proposal on Nov. 4th Ballot; Sets Date for Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic for Cats

Aug 27th, 2014 | By admin | Category: Top Story

BY LEE “CAT” McLANE

Editor/Publisher

The Beebe City Council Monday night approved an ordinance which will place a proposed 1/4 of 1-cent sales tax as a funding source for improved fire protection. The action comes as somewhat of a tactical maneuver as the county is placing a similar proposal on the Nov. 4th ballot but the funds would be distributed equally among all the cities in White County. That would amount to an estimated $95,000 for each of the cities.

“The City lost about $11,000 last year,” stated Mayor Mike Robertson as he explained that the committee which decides how the Act 833 funds are distributed equally among the cities. Act 833 funds are basked on the fire insurance premiums homeowners pay.

“If our city passed the tax we would keep all the money,” stated Robertson. “We would have about $300,000.”

“I’m not advocating a sales tax but if you feel like you want to vote for a fire tax - vote for the city tax and not the county tax,” continued Robertson. “If the county tax passes and the city tax passes - I would want to rescind the city tax and just go with the county tax. No double taxation.”

Beebe Fire Chief William Nick told the council that he is not opposed to the county tax but feels that Beebe would be better served if we had our own tax.

“The revenues we produce would stay in our city,” stated Chief Nick. “I have to look at the City of Beebe,” stated Chief Nick. “The amount of money it takes us to replace a piece of equipment - we can only go out 5 yrs. - so the county tax won’t handle that.” Nick stated that the fire department had just looked at a ladder truck that costs $700,000. Our current lader truck is a 1978 model and was completely refurbished in 1995. “We just spent $4,500 on it for repairs last month,” stated Chief Nick.

“I’m not in favor of any tax but being put in the position we are in,” added Mayor Robertson.  The council voted in favor of putting the proposal on the ballot. (The complete Ordinance 2014-11 is in this issue on Pg. 6).

Regarding the issue of too many stray cats in the city - which was on the agenda at the July meeting - the council heard a report from the mayor about a program that would begin to help diminish the cat population by eliminating new kittens from being added to the population. The mayor spoke to Dr. Joy McManus of Arkansans for Animals Operation Save and they will bring a mobile spay/neuter unit to Beebe on October 30th. The mayor said that the mobile unit can operate on 40 cats that day. The details of who can bring their cats is yet to be determined but will be publicized in The Beebe News several weeks before the date. It is anticipated that the city can sponsor this event up to 3 times per year to help with the over population problem.

In other action, the council:

•   Approved allowing the mayor to place property under sealed bid that is located in the Kamak subdivision. One tract is 2.49 acres - the city has been maintaining the property.

•  Approved replacing lighting at the Police Station with LED lights. The cost will be $12,000 with Entergy paying $4,500 of that amount. It will save the city $3,600 per year - with a payout of the conversion in 2 years.

•  Tabled the reworking of the Flea Market ordinance until next month.

•  Approved tearing down the batting cages at the ball park.

•  Approved Ord. 2014-08 - which changes the zoning classification of property at 404 Hwy. 64 W., Beebe from R-1 to C-2.

•  Approved Ord. 2014-09 - which changes the zoning classification from C-2 to R-1 property located at 5422 Hwy. 367 South, Beebe.

•  Approved Ord. 2014-10 - which accepts the dedication of all streets and public utilities of Phase 1 Terrace Meadows subdivision  to the City of Beebe for public use.

•  Tabled a resolution which sets prices for licensing (renting) areas of the city parks and community areas within the city. It will be addressed at the next monthly meeting.