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A Habitat for Humanity house is being constructed in town and city officials agreed to waive the impact fees for the building during the regular City Council meeting Nov. 20.

"This will offer low-cost housing to people who have pulled themselves out of their situations that are not good and getting their lives back on track," Phillip Fink with Habitat for Humanity told city officials. The construction is funded "through donations, gifts, contractors donating their times ... so we can offer more affordable housing. In the interest of that, I would like to ask that the impact fee be waived for the project we're starting now, and whatever other fees you'd like to do in the kindness of your heart."

Building official Tony Townsend said the impact fees on the three new ones and one house "rehabilitated" on Smith Street had been waived previously. "They're doing one on Pace Lane," he said, adding that they will try to build a lot split if they get a sewer easement.

The three council members present -- Steve Guthrie, Ray Easley and Bob Cottingham -- all voted in favor of the recommendation.

Two ordinances were approved concerning the position of the elected position of City Clerk. Ordinance No. 623 was approved "providing that Sandy Button, city clerk treasurer, may continue to serve as a city employee during her term in office" and Ord. No. 622 "prescribing the salary of the city clerk treasurer" for $200 per regular and special meeting attended.

City attorney Shane Perry explained that it had been brought to his attention that a state statute prohibits a city employee from holding an elected position unless a city has a specific ordinance allowing it.

"This is to bring the city into statutory compliance... one of the statutes requires a council vote," Perry explained. He said that the state statute requires that when a city employee also holds an elected position, it is necessary to set a ceiling on their salary. "We discovered we were out of statutory compliance."

Ordinance No. 623 stated: "Sandy has been elected City Clerk Treasurer of the City of Pea Ridge and ... has been employed by the city as chief court clerk since 1977, and said position has included office management responsibilities for over twenty (20) years, and ... to lose the services of Sandy Button in the position would create a hardship by depriving the city of her knowledge and experience, and it would be in the best interest of the public to allow Sandy Button to retain her current employment with the city... Sandy Button ... is hereby authorized to hold employment with the City of Pea Ridge as chief court clerk which includes the responsibilities of officer manager... shall be paid no more than ... $6,000 per month in consideration for said employment."

The ordinance was approved with the emergency clause, making it in effect immediately.

Perry said the salary was not an increase, but set a ceiling on the salary.

"If Sandy Button is reelected and if salary approaches this ceiling because of COLA adjustments, it would have to be reconsidered," he said.

City officials approved the purchase of a 2018 Ram 1500 four-wheel drive regular cab pickup truck for the city building official for $20,336 and agreed to transfer a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck from the Inspection Department to the Street Department for $10,000. Street Department superintendent Nathan See said the money is in the budget.

"We're transferring the 2013 to the Street Department and then purchase the 2018 for Tony's (Townsend) inspection truck," See said.

"That way we can keep the miles down on it and make it last longer," Mayor Jackie Crabtree said.

Two financial issues brought before the council, the city budget and end of year merit awards for city employees, were approved by a deciding vote from the mayor. On each request, alderman Bob Cottingham abstained while two council members voted yes. Cottingham had asked that the passage of the budget be tabled for further review by both the fourth council member and the two new council members to take office in January. On the end of year, merit awards, council member Ray Easley said: "We've been telling people we're short on money. That puts us between a rock and a hard place," before seconding the motion by Steve Guthrie. The pay was the same as last year.

"I agree with Ray, I'll abstain," Cottingham said.

The employee end-of-year merit awards of $500 per full-time employee and $250 per part-time employee were approved. The city has 40 full-time employees and six to eight part-time employees, according to Button.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the pay for the City Council and Planning Commission members at $200 and $175 per meeting attended, the same as for last year; and

• Set the date for the December City Council member for Thursday, Dec. 27.

General News on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: City waives fees for Habitat for Humanity

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