Council revokes decision to move city meetings to community center
It looks as if the Eureka Springs City
Council won’t be moving its meetings to
the Eureka Springs Community Center after
On Monday night, the council heard
from Mayor Butch Berry about the proposed
lease agreement between the city
and the Eureka Springs Community Center
Foundation. The council voted Nov. 13
to move all city meetings to the community
center, located at the old high school
site at 44 Kingshighway. Berry said Monday
night the lease agreement was between
Alderman David Mitchell moved to suspend
all engagement with the foundation
until the city could conduct an in-depth
due diligence on the foundation’s articles
of incorporation, lease with the school district
and financial information regarding
all income sources and detailed expenses.
“Why?” alderman Terry McClung
asked. “What’s your fear?”
“I don’t have a fear,” Mitchell said.
“What I have is any time I’ve ever conducted
business with a private entity, I’ve
always done a due diligence assessment
of everything about that entity. I think the
city should do an extreme due diligence of
what is going on as far as the community
center foundation, from its inception to its
finances, and we should have a legal review.
It’s not fear. It’s just good business.”
Alderwoman Melissa Greene agreed,
saying she’s heard concerns from constituents
about the foundation’s finances.
“I feel like David is … what he made is
a prudent suggestion,” Greene said.
McClung said he liked the foundation’s
proposal. It’s not a long-term deal, Mc-
Clung said, but it doesn’t have to be.
“They offered us a pretty good deal on
the front end,” McClung said. “I’m good
with it. It’s that easy.”
Mitchell said other options, like the
building on Norris Street or the fire station
downtown, wouldn’t cost the city anything
in rent because the city owns those
“I’m going to stress the point that entering
a negotiation with the foundation,
putting in money, leases and moving to
something we don’t own and have to share
when we’re sitting here in a building we
own with minimal expenses and everything
… I think should be considered very
well,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think we
should enter a negotiation with an entity
that we really, truthfully don’t know that it
is a viable entity.”
He continued, “There’s a lot of unknown
and I feel we should step back and
suspend our action at this point in time until
we have done a complete due diligence
of that organization.”’
Alderman Bob Thomas agreed and
moved to amend Mitchell’s motion to revoke
the council’s Nov. 13 vote to move
to the community center. The council
voted, with Kendrick, Thomas, Mitchell
and Green voting in favor of it and Mc-
Clung voting against it. McClung asked
if the council would vote to revoke the
vote, saying that was just an amendment
to Mitchell’s motion.
“That didn’t finalize anything, I don’t
think,” McClung said.
Kendrick suggested that Mitchell withdraw
his motion, and Berry said the council
already voted on the motion by voting
for the amendment. McClung said that
vote was on the amendment to Mitchell’s
motion, not the motion itself.
“How about we get a motion not to
move to the community center?” Berry
“I make a motion that we revoke our
vote in …” Kendrick said.
“No, no, that’s done,” city clerk Ann
“OK, I make a motion that at this point
in time we do not pursue a lease with the
Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation,”
Mitchell said he wanted to be sure the
council was voting on the motion correctly.
“The only question that’s left is what
happens to my original motion that we
never voted on,” Mitchell said. “So why
can’t I just withdraw it and the second and
“Because you don’t need to,” Armstrong
“Why wouldn’t he?” McClung said.
“Because what we did on Bob’s deal was
an amendment to the motion.”
By approving the amendment, Kendrick
said, the council approved the amended
motion. Berry agreed.
“That’s not what was stated,” McClung
said. “That’s what you stated now, but
that’s not the way it was presented.”
The council agreed to vote on Mitchell’s
amended motion, with Mitchell, Kendrick,
Greene and Thomas voting in favor
of it and McClung voting against it.
On Tuesday afternoon, Eureka Springs
Community Center Foundation chairwoman
Diane Murphy said the foundation
is frustrated with the council’s decision.
“We are extremely disappointed in the
city council, their lack of communication
with the board and their seeming disregard
for all of the constituents that want access
to the meetings, that have spoken in favor
of moving them to the community center
and that have financially supported the
community center,” Murphy said.
The foundation has had more than 500
donors, Murphy said, including individuals
and businesses in Eureka Springs.
“All of them have donated because the
concept of a community and the community
center matters to them,” Murphy said.
“We’ll move forward. There’s no decisions
we have made that are dependent on
the city council, so we continue with what
The community meeting room is in the
process of being renovated, Murphy said,
and should be completed and ready for use
Also at the meeting, the council voted
to discontinue showing the council meetings
on Youtube. McClung said it cost too
much to edit closed captioning on the videos.
“The time and expense of sitting down
and transcribing for the closed captioning
… it’s just an expensive process,” Mc-
The council also approved a resolution
adopting the city’s budget for 2018 and
agreed to draw up an ordinance detailing
the water and sewer bond payment schedule.
The council’s next regular meeting is
scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, at