EUREKA SPRINGS -- Alderman Lany Ballance asked city attorney Tim Weaver at the June 11 council meeting if there were anything in City Code or State Code prohibiting council from restructuring the tax which funds the City Advertising and Promotion Commission (CAPC). Weaver replied the way the tax is written forbids council from restructuring it.
Ballance quoted State Code that the CAPC can spend its funds on such items as park benches, but said they don't want to do that. She said the CAPC just wants to spend its money on advertising the city and not on the Auditorium.
She then asked if citizens could vote again on the tax and pay less to the CAPC. She said business owners in town are begging her to convince council not to add another tax, but said she would hate to get rid of the CAPC since they are getting things going in town.
Weaver replied that council could take the tax vote back to the citizens, but he sees it as being counterproductive since, as Ballance just pointed out, the CAPC is getting things done.
Alderman Karen Lindblad read from State Code where council could pledge a certain amount of CAPC funds for projects like repairs of the Aud.
Alderman James DeVito pointed out that State Code was written so that the very thing that was happening at the table could not occur, and this was raiding the CAPC funds. He said the legislature wanted to insulate the CAPC from city council politicking.
DeVito maintained if council takes funds away from the CAPC it would be taking away the ability to do their job, and when the CAPC does its job effectively, all businesses in town, and city coffers, benefit. He said in a town the size of Eureka Springs compromising the CAPC takes away from the city's ability to compete and the city jeopardizes its ability to provide jobs and bring in business. Besides, he said, council does not have the authority to change the tax.
Lindblad followed that State Code does provide safeguards to protect CAPC funds by limiting what they can be spent on, but insisted the Aud could benefit from some of the tax revenue.
Weaver answered that the tax could be used for the Aud but only if the CAPC allows it. It is not council's prerogative, he said, to mandate it.
"So all we can do is get rid of them or ask voters to reduce the tax?" Ballance asked.
Weaver said it would be a nightmare with conflicting ballot choices to do as she suggested and almost certainly be followed by a lawsuit.
DeVito moved to table discussion to the next meeting so members of council can learn about the CAPC enabling legislation. The vote was 3-2, Ballance and Lindblad voting No, and Mayor Morris Pate cast a deciding Yes vote, so the motion to table passed 4-2.
Opposition to water fluoridation
Pownall moved to assign a number to a resolution opposing fluoridation of the city's water and have it read it into the record. After the reading, Pownall pointed out that it is not specific in the resolution where it will go.
Weaver answered that it was written so that it would be appropriate for a range of entities, and a vote to approve the resolution was unanimous.
Pownall then asked the city clerk to prepare a list of whom the resolution could be sent to and bring the list back to council for approval so it could be disseminated.
Climate action resolution
Alderman Parker Raphael moved to assign a number and read for discussion the resolution affirming council's support of the climate action plan for Eureka Springs presented by Nick Brown, sustainability specialist, last summer.
During the discussion, council discovered that two versions of the resolutions had been distributed and discussion ensued.
Ballance moved to postpone the discussion until everyone was reading the same resolution, and the vote was 3-2, Lindblad and Raphael voting No, and Pate cast the deciding Yes vote, so further discussion was postponed.
Ward map revisions
City Clerk/Treasurer Ann Armstrong presented a map showing ward revisions which she said had been completed with the help of students from Eureka Springs High School's EAST Lab. The map was completed later than expected but she said she felt strongly the city needed a well-thought out product rather than a rushed one.
Pownall observed that the map had no effect except to prescribe who can run for city council, although he commended the effort that went into the product.
DeVito moved to have the attorney draft a motion approving the map so council can vote to approve it at the next meeting, and the vote was unanimous.
Planning is still planning
Chair of the Planning Commission Beverly Blankenship appeared to answer questions about three items Planning had worked on and sent along to council. The first was to recommend that deletions be made to Appendix A of the ordinance regarding non-conforming residences in the R-1 Zone.
According to Blankenship, due to zoning changes and other circumstances, five properties no longer qualified to be on the list of non-conforming properties.
Raphael pointed out it was an action council should pursue, and he moved to have Blankenship and Weaver work on updating the list which passed unanimously.
Yellow bags controversy continues
Ballance alerted council to the idea of discussing on their next agenda putting yellow bags on the ballot. She added that persons doing research for her had discovered that the yellow bags, both sizes, can be purchased from Walmart at a lower cost than the city is charging. She also mentioned that there are biodegradable bags available.
Lindblad then responded that citizens have told her that yellow bags encourage recycling.
Ballance quickly replied that yellow bags do not encourage recycling. "Wise people are going to recycle regardless of yellow bags," she said. She added that because businesses are not required to use the yellow bags according to the contract that residents are being discriminated against.
There were several commissioner approvals, including
Melissa Greene and Deni Flaherty for Planning, and Susie Allen for the Historic District Commission.
Pate nominated Pam Crockett and Mary Jean Sell for the
Hospital Commission, Dan Hebert for HDC and Gloria Stevens for the Cemetery Commission.