Marked Tree council approves using portion of sales tax for cleanup

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Marked Tree City Council passed an ordinance Monday night that would use a portion of the city's current one cent sales to clean up dilapidated houses.

Last month, the council had discussed the possibility. The language on the ballot for the one cent sales tax that was approved by voters stated that 12.5 percent of the tax would be used "for the purpose of funding and promoting industrial development and industrial development projects to stimulate the local economy." The ordinance states that a portion of that 12.5 percent will be used for cleaning up the community by tearing down vacant, dilapidated houses to make the property "available to build new housing therefore increasing or maintaining the population for a valuable workforce" as well as to make the community "more attractive for industry prospects."

Property being cleaned up would have to go through all the rules and regulations for condemnation and be approved by the council, and all money spent on this would have to be approved by the council. No more than one third of the 12.5 percent of the sales tax per year would be alotted to cleanup projects. The other two-thirds would go toward industrial development. Mayor Mary Ann Arnold said the council will review an ordinance next month regarding condemning and cleaning up dilapidated properties.

Alderman Cleo Johnson, Jr., said he had been asked about getting bathrooms put in at Carver Park. Police Chief Michael Matlock said porta potties would get knocked over and trashed and that a brick and mortar building would be too expensive. Alderman Jerry Jones suggested getting bids to see what it would cost to put bathrooms at the park. City Clerk Pam Wright agreed to get proposals from contractors by the first of the month, and Mayor Arnold said she would appoint a small committee to discuss the bathrooms.

The council also heard from Joan Campbell regarding drainage issues on 12th Street. Campbell said she has come to the council many times asking them to clean the ditches out. Director of Public Works Wayne Hendrix said he had talked to the mayor about digging them out and pouring a concrete swell. The council voted to have the swell put in to help the water drain.

The council also approved an ordinance designating trailer parks. The mayor said several requests have come before the council to move trailers into town, and the Planning and Zoning committee recommended the ordinance, which will not require public hearings for trailers moved into the following properties: Dustin King Road Mobile Park (Shaw Subdivision), Carson Mobile Park (Little River Addition), Zenolia Hall Mobile Park (Chicago-Frisco Addition), Dorothy Baker Mobile Park (Riverside Addition), and West Poinsett Mobile Park (Riverside Addition).

In other business, the council:

*approved a resolution approving a site use agreement with E. Ritter Seed Company to use their property at 300 Adamson Road to install, maintain, and operate wireless radios and related communication facilities.

*approved a resolution to lease a copy machine for the Police Department.

*approved a resolution authorizing applying for a recycling grant from East Arkansas Planning and Development District. The grant will be used to purchase a truck to help with the recycling program.

*Hired a patrolman.

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