Maumelle’s City Council wasted no time Monday evening putting it’s four newest members to work shortly after they were sworn in as the council passed two ordinances and two new resolutions.
The first thirty minutes was spent on a presentation by Maumelle Water Management general manager Barry Heller who basically asked the council for help reaching out into the community in an attempt to improve its reputation damaged last summer by the company’s inability to provide enough water supply in drought conditions.
Mayor Mike Watson briefed the council on the city’s emergency response to the Christmas Day weather conditions and power outages that crippled the city and make life miserable for many residents who had no means of staying warm with no electricity.
Watson said people were calling him to complain about power outages and his home was also without power from Entergy. He said the weather conditions at first were so severe power workers from around the country couldn’t do anything until the winds died below 30 mph.
In addition to the city’s first responders — police and fire, Watson said city crews of twelve men each worked in the snow and freezing rain to clear trees out of streets and eventually to start the long process of removing debris from all the broken limbs and debris that the high winds piled up in the middle of and alongside city streets.
Watson said there is still a lot of work to be done to remove all of the debris piled up and with sanitation routes starting back this week, it may take months to remove it all without outside help.
He said if there’s a federal disaster declaration then FEMA funds and grants will be available to assist in the cleanup. The unusually heavy nature of the snowfall combined with atmospheric conditions created the perfect storm to do the most damage.
Former alderman Jamie Stell spoke as a civilian for the first time to praise city workers and called their work "miraculous."
An ordinance establishing a committee to meet regularly and consider the compensation for the city’s elected officials passed unanimously by a vote of eight to nothing.
Another ordinance establishing visibility standards at Maumelle intersections also passed unanimously.
A resolution amending the 2012 general fund budget to appropriate money to pay for the annual elections was approved by Mosley voted no.
Watson explained that the city’s special bond election on Oct. 9 bumped the city’s election cost up by $12,002 for last year and they had only budgeted $10 for the general election. The biggest expense from the special election was $4,750 paid to poll workers. Just printing the special ballot cost $1,813.
Another budget resolution for the 2012 budget was approved unanimously to cover expenses of overtime and benefits due to the recent snow storm.
Watson said the storm he dubbed the Christmas Blizzard piled up broken trees, limbs and debris that will total about 6,750 cubic yards which would better be explained by imaging a four-feet high mountain of debris covering an entire 100-yard long football field.
The cost to remove everything could total close to $100,000 Watson said and that’s why they’re looking for federal disater assistance.
Watson said while some power outages lasted a little longer, most had power restored within 24 hours when some neighboring cities are still struggling to restore powere weks later.
Maumelle High School will host its first ever wrestling tournament next Saturday, Watson said.
City Attorney JaNan Davis said she’d hold a Freedopm of Information Act worksop for city employees on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. but that its open to the public and anyone can attend.
The next City Counmcil meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 22 because of the Martin Luther King Holiday on the normal meeting day, Jan. 21.