Economic Development - ever a constant - and new ordinances were on the agenda for the Fairfield Bay City Council at its Aug. 14 meeting.
Economic Development had good news, including the city having its biggest month ever for sales tax revenue, City of Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger told the gathering. Coupled with this was an agreement with Petit Jean Electric Co-Op to move to a monthly payment of fees, which would provide a more stable, smoother, revenue stream. The general fund was up $45,000, it was announced at the meeting.
The boat-factory, a hoped for addition to the community, has made its decision to stay where it is at currently, in Mountain View, Wellenberger told the council.
In related economic news, Wellenberger reminded the council that Osage Homes, the high-end housing development begun last year, was nearing completion on its first homes. A “tiny homes” builder continues to discuss developing a neighborhood in the city, with its most recent meeting July 10.
Stringbeanz restaurant has been sold, and will soon re-open, Wellenberger presented. He also told the council of the ongoing work between Fairfield Bay, Clinton and Van Buren County for a billboard on Highway 65, south of Clinton, advertising the amenities available in the area. (This was part of a presentation at last month’s Van Buren County Quorum Court meeting.)
The hotel, long cited at council meetings as a critical need in order to drive up business for the conference center, remained “cautiously optimistic,” the mayor said, with work continuing on “the banking piece.” (A drop-dead date was expected for Aug. 22, after this newspaper goes to press.)
Finally a broadband provider would start providing service in the city. The company, SkyFiNet had purchased the assets of Vyve, the previous supplier, on Aug. 2, but needed “30 to 60 days” in order to asses the physical structure and what will be needed to provide service.
Ordinances included the first reading of an ordinance placing restrictions on political signage. This was originally brought up in the last election, due to not only the plethora of signs, but how some were left up long after the election.
A first reading was also given to a fireworks ordinance, restricting times for fireworks displays - including a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. restriction - and fines for those setting off fireworks without a permit.
(An ordinance requires three readings to pass. While in an emergency an ordinance could be passed the night it is presented, in a less-than emergency circumstance an ordinance is read over at least two and possible three council meetings before passage, with a vote to accept each time before it becomes law.)
One which was passed was the council approving the Conference Center to act as a private club in order to sell liquor by the drink. The Arkansas Legislature passed a law which recently went into effect, requiring a city council to approve any private club permits. This was required as the center was using a restaurant’s club license, but the restaurant has since made “other plans,” the council was told. The approval passed unanimously.
In other council matters:
Fairfield Bay Police Chief David Burnett also presented that the department scored a nearly unheard of 100 percent score at its recent Arkansas Crime and Information Center audit. He also presented that the department had two recent felony arrests, one a fugitive from New Mexico, the other from Little Rock, coupled with the recovery of two stolen cars.
Emergency Medical Services is at a “record pace” for runs this year, the council was told.
The animal shelter was very busy, so busy that the shelter manager (her name not disclosed in this space) was forced to move due to animals being dropped at her home. The city had also been “cracking down” on animals left in parked cars in the heat of the day.
The fire department has placed an ATV into service.