Approval of an urban deer hunt and the process of grant applications were the main items on Fairfield Bay City Council’s agenda Monday night, Feb. 12. Planning for the hotel opening continues for the city.
The Urban Deer Hunt, first approved in 2011, was brought before the council for consideration again this year. City of Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger told the council, in bringing the ordinance up for consideration, that the number of deer-car accidents has decreased since the city began permitting the annual hunts. Problems with deer getting into gardens also dropped, Wellenberger said.
The hunt is made as a bow-hunt, the city working with both the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Bowhunters Association, the council was told.
Statistics presented showed the 2018 hunt was the biggest in recent history, with 162 deer harvested against 118 hunting permits. The biggest year prior to that was 2012, the second year the hunts were permitted, with 292 deer harvested against 200 permits.
The ordinance to permit the hunt was approved by the council.
Grants were a regular topic through the meeting. City Police Chief David Burnett told the council his department had recently applied for a $402,000 grant through the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Rural Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Burnett told the council that amount matters hoped to be addressed, should the grant be approved, was the lack of shelter in the county for victims of domestic violence or assault.
The city, the council was told, was currently “waiting on the check” for a $157,000 grant for the fire department, allowing it to update its Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. The grant will allow for 23 new units and 23 spare bottles, the council was told.
Other grants were reported upon, including $2,200 from the state Historic Preservation program to assist with training and staffing.
Preparations continue for the forthcoming hotel opening, including improved parking lot lighting as well as work with area businesses. A meeting between the newly-formed business association and representatives of the hotel was planned.
In other council matters:
The city is preparing for its Bloomin’ in the Bay event, scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend.
The loan for repairs to Lynn Creek has been approved with the money, $285,108, expected to be on hand by March 1. The repair is going out for bidding, with the grant funding for the repair requiring repair completion by May 31. (The Lynn Creek crossing was damaged in a weather event last year.)
The fire department has added a third tanker truck, permitting a tanker truck at each fire station. The hope was this would allow a lower ISO rating for the city, a department representative told the council.
New equipment is in place for the upgrade to the 911 center and training is underway.
Fairfield Bay EMS has returned to 24 hour shifts.
A Fairfield Bay Merchant Association has been formed.
The council was told to expect to hear of a new housing development in Fairfield Bay in the next 30 days. Home sales, the council was told, is up for the year, with only 40 condos on the market, compared to the typical 120 average.
The council voted to approve an expansion to the Fire Department building, the vote required so the city could apply for a grant for same.
The council approved an ordinance to allow the mayor to appoint up to seven alternate members for the planning commission.
Work continues for a wet vote on the ballot for the 2020 election. Cleburne County, the council was told.
Work on bringing broadband internet service to the city via the USDA was interrupted due to the recent government shutdown, the council was told.