Council authorizes hospital commission to buy adjacent property
The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission
can officially move forward with
the plan to renovate the hospital.
On Monday night, the Eureka Springs
City Council heard from the commission
about an ordinance allowing the hospital
to acquire three lots of land adjacent to it.
Alderman Terry McClung said he didn’t
support the purchase, saying the property
isn’t worth the asking price of $141,400.
“The expense of trying to build on it
is going to be nearly cost-prohibitive just
due to the terrain,” McClung said.
Alderman David Mitchell moved to
approve the ordinance on its first reading,
and everyone but McClung agreed
to do so. Mitchell then moved to approve
it on second and third readings by title
only, with Mitchell, Melissa Greene,
Bob Thomas, Kristi Kendrick and Mickey
Schneider voting for it and McClung
voting against it.
Schneider moved to invoke the emergency
clause to finalize the ordinance in
one night, and Kendrick asked for the
reason behind the urgency. Mayor Butch
Berry said the commission planned to
close the sale on Wednesday, Feb. 28,
and needed the ordinance to be completely
approved before then. Commission
chairman Michael Merry agreed,
saying the commission will need to finish
a survey on the property before its
architectural firm can continue working
on the project.
“It will be necessary for us to either
move forward with this or decide not to,”
“But you have it under contract,”
Kendrick said. “So you have control of
the property. You could proceed with the
survey at this time without ownership of
Commission treasurer Barbara Dicks
said the closing date has been set for six
weeks. The commission is ready to finalize
the sale, Dicks said.
“If we postpone it … it would postpone
it for another month or two,” Dicks
said. “What is your concern that it’s going
“It’s vacant land, it’s currently not being
used, you’re not going to use it right
away, and so why are we quickly circumventing
the normal process which would
permit constituents to object to this or for
council to change their mind?” Kendrick
“It is not a vacant land,” Dicks said.
“There is a home on it and a road on it.”
Kendrick asked if the home was occupied,
and Dicks said no.
“And what will happen to the home?”
“You know that’s later,” Dicks said.
“That’s my point,” Kendrick said.
“There are no immediate plans for this. I
do not understand the urgency.”
Schneider said the public has been
aware of the renovation for a while now,
saying no one has objected to the purchase.
“I don’t like using the emergency
clause unless we have to, but this being
related to land and people, it’s better to
just get it done,” Schneider said.
“I feel strongly that this council
should go ahead, even though I don’t
like using the emergency clause either,
and let’s wrap this up, let them close on
this piece of property and let’s just get it
done,” Mitchell said.
Dicks said she was concerned the purchase
wouldn’t go through if the council
decided to wait to finalize the ordinance.
“We had a closing date written up of
the 28th, and if we go and say, ‘Sorry,’
well, they can change their mind,” Dicks
“I’m a real estate attorney,” Kendrick
said. “I understand. You’re in too much
of a rush.”
Greene said she understood where
Dicks was coming from, and Dicks said
there’s too much risk with extending the
closing date when it comes to others who
might be interested in the property.
“Now that they know we want it, they
could certainly go in and overbid us,”
Dicks said. “I mean, it’s real estate.”
“We both understand real estate,”
“It makes no sense to not let them
finish the deal based on the date on the
contract,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell asked for a vote, and the
council unanimously agreed to invoke
the emergency clause.
The council moved on to discuss a
proposed ordinance for paying down the
city’s bond payments, and Kendrick said
she was concerned about a section of the
proposed ordinance saying the city could
use additional funds other than the I&I
fee to pay the bonds.
“That really sounds as if all revenues
from the water department are going to
be applied to the bonds,” Kendrick said.
“I think the way it is written is way too
City attorney Tim Weaver said that
section of the proposed ordinance is only
meant to provide for unforeseen circumstances
in the future.
“There’s always the possibility of
funds coming from another source we
haven’t yet anticipated,” Weaver said.
Finance director Lonnie Clark said
the proposed ordinance doesn’t include
a specific amortization schedule because
it’s impossible to know how much the
I&I fee will generate each year, and Berry
“The amortization would not completely
be accurate,” Berry said. “We’re
trying to keep this simple. The ultimate
goal was to be sure this was paid off by
this date … and tying this to any amortization
could possibly present some issues
down the road.”
The council took a five-minute break
for Clark to consult Weaver. Upon returning,
the council deferred the proposed
ordinance until its next meeting.
Also at the meeting, the council approved
a proposed ordinance regarding
the diversion of grant funds on its first
reading and agreed to proceed with a
project for the city’s storm water drainage
repair near Flint Street Fellowship.
The council’s next regular meeting is
scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 12,
at The Auditorium.