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City Council members will consider three issues at the Tuesday, July 17, council meeting.

Developer Jim Brown has asked the city to "vacate a road."

Pea Ridge City Council

7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

Pea Ridge City Hall

Open to the public

Developer Kevin Felgenhauer is seeking approval of the final plat for Willow Run. He received approval from the Planning Commission at a special meeting Monday.

And City Council member Bob Cottingham has asked to discuss increasing the number of wards, and therefore council members, in the city.

There are currently four City Council members elected from two wards dividing voters in the Pea Ridge city limits. Two council members are elected from each of the two wards. For several years, city officials have broached the subject of increasing the number of City Council members. City officials heard from Jeff Hawkins of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning in a committee of the whole meeting last month to learn more about what would be involved in increasing the size of the council.

Hawkins presented the council with two maps -- one showing the current division of wards and another showing proposed redistricting. He explained that it's in the public's best interest to have population as nearly equal as possible in the wards.

"We need more representation," Cottingham said, explaining that believes there is a need to increase the council size.

Mayor Jackie Crabtree said the current situation "is working" and does not need to be changed.

"The representation view is valid, from what I see in other cities of this size," Hawkins said. "There's a lot to be said for what works. I don't know which would be better. It's within their discretion. Most cities in this size do have three; even have some smaller that have four."

Hawkins said Pea Ridge is the only first class city in the state with only two wards.

"There's nothing in the law that says you have to have a certain number," he continued. "Some have as many as six. Most have three wards."

Hawkins explained that voting requires two thirds of the aldermen to pass items. He said the 2010 census shows a population in Pea Ridge of 4,794 and the current estimated population is 5,903. "So you've grown a pretty good bit."

Garfield, a town of 405 residents, has three wards.

City clerk Sandy Button, who has been with the city for 40 years, said it's always been two wards.

"The population has grown from 1,000 to 6,000," Cottingham said, explaining that makes each council member represent a great number of people. "Most council men work full time."

Council member Ray Easley said the cost to the city would be a negative aspect to increasing to three wards.

Each City Council member is paid $200 for each meeting attended, according to Button.

Items on the agenda include:

• Ordinance No. 619 -- final plat Willow Run;

• Jim Brown -- vacate road; and

• Bob Cottingham -- additional ward within city.

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Alderman wants to add ward

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