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Council tables budget resolution during tense meeting

by Bradly Gill | December 16, 2021 at 5:00 a.m.

The Camden City Council met Tuesday evening and passed several resolutions related to property and city equipment; however, Aldermen tabled a proposed budget for 2022.

Aldermen James Bell, Willie McCoy and Cecil McDonald were absent for the meeting.

Financials

An extended discussion was held Tuesday on Advertising and Promotion Commission funds that were supposed to be transferred to the city's general fund for park upkeep.

"We worked out a deal several years where they were going to transfer $100,000 out of that A&P money into our general fund to for that upkeep. I think all they've done is spend it on -- they bought Christmas decorations, and that's great, but the general fund ought to have that $100,000. I'm not sure who is responsible for making that request? Do we have to make a resolution?" Alderman L.E. Lindsey said.

City Clerk Donna Stewart responded that a request for the funds for 2021 would need to be made before the A&P Commission.

Lindsey stated, "If it's an administrative request then the administration should do that."

Mayor Lott pointed to City Treasurer Lauren Robertson, saying that some requests he's made to her haven't been followed through.

"I appreciate you doing that, I've cut myself off about three or for times. I think we've convinced Mrs. Lauren that she doesn't work for me, she works for (council members). I've asked for several things and I have not got the things I have asked for. I've asked for them through her and I also went to Ms. Donna Stewart," Lott said. "I asked for something a little while ago and I was told she didn't print it out cause of trees. I said 'We're in South Arkansas. Trees are a renewable resource.' I said 'Did you send it to me by email?' She hasn't done it by paper or email. So, some of the things you are talking about I can't respond to because she has access to the finances. I don't."

Lindsey reiterated that the $100,000 had been budgeted within the general fund for 2021 and asked again that the mayor make the request to the A&P Commission.

Robertson stated that the mayor or Public Works Director Kevin Franklin would need to request the money at a special-called A&P meeting.

The Council subsequently entered an executive session with Robertson and Stewart. When they returned to open session, they said no action was taken.

Mayor's report

James Nixon, Treasurer for the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development (OPED) presented a request for $155,000 from the city to go toward the organization's operating budget. He noted that the the Ouachita County Quorum Court had pledged $155,000 as well, but with the contingency that the city did the same.

"You talked about this back in April? I wouldn't have known anything about it until you brought it up today. The Mayor didn't talk to us about it. I guess the County Judge talked to the Quorum Court about it. Is there a reason we didn't hear anything about it until now?" Alderman Terry Smith asked.

Lott said, "I'm not going to delve into that."

No action as taken on Nixon's request.

Victoria Huggins, Chief Court Clerk, gave a report on recent district court activities during the mayor's report as well. She noted a leadership change to Judge David Graham after Judge Phillip Foster retired; installation of a video doorbell; and the hiring of a person to monitor defendants for COVID-19.

Ben Wooten of the Planning and Development Commission talked about the day-to-day work of Code Enforcement officers, including nuisance abatement and zoning inspections.

Other business

An ordinance to establish an Entertainment District in downtown Camden underwent a second reading during Tuesday's meeting. A third and final reading is set for January's meeting of the council.

Additionally:

Resolution No. 68-21, a resolution awarding the bid for oils and lubricants for the year 2022 passed unanimously. Under the resolution, the only bidder, Quality Petroleum of Texarkana, will provide the service.

• Resolution No. 69-21, a resolution awarding the bid for tires and tubes for the year 2022 passed unanimously. Bounds Tire, the only bidder, received the bid.

• Resolution No. 70-21, a resolution awarding the bid for batteries for the year 2022 passed unanimously. Smith Generator and Starter Service of Hope was awarded the bid.

• Resolution No. 71-21, a resolution awarding the bid for towing both regular and large sized vehicles for the year 2022 passed unanimously. Buddies Wrecker, the only bidder, was awarded the bid.

• Resolution No. 72-21, a resolution confirming the appointment of Connie Cox to the Camden Advertising and Promotion Commission passed unanimously. Cox will be replacing Lori DeWoody, who resigned from her seat.

• Resolution No. 85-21, a resolution providing for and adopting for the City of Camden, Arkansas, an Annual Operating Budget for the twelve months beginning January 1, 2022 and ending December 31, 2022; appropriating money for each and every item of expenditure therein provided for; declaring an emergency; and for other purposes was tabled as Aldermen L.E. Lindsey pointed out a number of inconsistencies in the budget and was not comfortable voting it in until more work had been done on the revenue side of the budget.


Print Headline: Council tables budget resolution during tense meeting

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