The City Council meeting was held Monday evening and my deadline was Tuesday, a day earlier than usual due to the holiday week. I did attend the meeting but didn’t have time to have a column ready the next day, but I will update you on a few new developments.
A new ordinance (first of three readings) was introduced at the November 20 meeting to “repeal the Community Service Fee upon the satisfaction of specific contingencies.” Those contingencies would be the passage of both of the tax proposals, Ordinance 944 and Ordinance 945, resulting in an additional one cent in sales tax. In other words, if we pass the tax provisions, the Community Service Fee, basically a tax, goes away. Again, the tax proposals aren’t on the ballot yet.
Interestingly, the repeal ordinance was originally sponsored by Council Member Steve Mosley. Sponsorship was quickly changed to Mayor Mike Watson. Mosley has not publicly supported the tax proposals. Therefore, I guess, he couldn’t really sponsor the possible repeal of the service fee. Mosley also made a motion to move the election to the May primary, which was not seconded and therefore failed.
The divisions on the issues have been drawn. On one side, you have Maumelle Residents United which appears to oppose the tax package and is being represented by Bilenda Harris-Ritter, who has spoken at the last two meetings and appeared on radio station KARN. On the other side, you have Maumelle Vision for the Future, represented by former Council Member Marion Scott-Coney, who favors the taxes.
Maumelle Vision for the Future released a list of its supporters this week and divided them into two groups: individuals and businesses. As you would expect, most of the businesses listed would gain from the passage of the taxes, which supposedly would result in completion of the interchange and the water improvements in the Morgan area. They include several landowners, homebuilders and the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce.
According to Mayor Watson, there will be two or three town hall-type meetings in January and February with the election to take place on March 18, if the Council gets the proposals on the ballot. The proponents will have to work hard to gain acceptance for the tax, which is often the case in tax battles.
I’ll try to break down what happened in the November 20 Council meeting in my next column.
Adopt-a-Vet takes it to the street
For several years, Jacki Bruning of Maumelle, and her army of volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide Christmas gifts for the veterans at Fort Roots. She is now shifting her emphasis. “This year we are focusing on the homeless veterans in downtown Little Rock,” She said. “I’ve been working at our storage facility on Main Street and am blown away by the number of homeless in the downtown area. I’ve come to work some mornings and found someone sleeping on a piece of cardboard as a barrier between them and the cold concrete.”
She tells me the volunteers will be partnering with some of the veterans groups and Little Rock Downtown Storage Center to collect coats, shoes, boots, underwear, back packs, sleeping bags, warm socks, toiletries, warm clothing and blankets.
Individuals can also choose to sponsor a veteran for a $40 donation or simply write a “thank you note” thanking them for their service. Mail your donation and/or card to Arkansas Adopt-a-Vet, 11 Samantha Lane, Maumelle, Ark. 72113.
The collection points for clothing and other supplies announced to date are: Little Rock Downtown Storage Center (823 Main St.), Maumelle City Hall, the Maumelle Center on the Lake, Bank of the Ozarks (Maumelle), the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce, First United Methodist Church in Maumelle, and TuTu and Tennis in Maumelle. Donations may also be picked up. Groups and volunteers are also welcome to help set up collections within the community.
Additional information can be found on their Facebook Page, “Arkansas Adopt-A-Vet” or by emailing Jacki. Contact her at: email@example.com or call 501-517-7222.
Chasing golf balls with the Chief
A Maumelle man was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and three counts of terroristic threatening of a golfer who was playing outside of the fairway at the Country Club of Arkansas. The golfer happened to be Maumelle Police Chief Sam Williams.
Williams was golfing at the Country Club of Arkansas in Maumelle. He was looking for his golf ball, which he hit between the fairway and some houses. That’s when the homeowner came out of his home with a shotgun, telling Williams to get off his property. According to the chief, the golf ball was located on golf course property and not on the man’s property. And the chief wasn’t packing anything that day but golf clubs.
After Williams and the man exchanged words, the homeowner went back inside his home. Chief Williams reported the incident and the man was arrested. Keep it in the fairway, Chief.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your families and avoid or tolerate the guests you don’t enjoy. If you don’t have a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner everyone is welcome at the Maumelle Center on the Lake, 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.