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City delays budget decision

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:10 am

It will be July before the Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen settles on a proposed increase in its property tax rate and adopts a budget for fiscal year 2014.

In Tuesday’s regular meeting, officials adopted a continuing appropriate and budget ordinance, meaning that the City of Fayetteville will continue operating within constraints set by its fiscal year 2013 budget. The reason, said officials, is that the city is under reassessment by the state, and it will be at least the end of June before Fayetteville’s new reassessed rates are set by the state.

“We don’t like to do this, but we have to,” said Mayor John Ed Underwood.

In previous discussions, Underwood has indicated that the city is looking at a 30- to 35-cent increase in its property tax rate, depending on whether the City Board decides to include a nickel in the rate for a new municipal pool.

In other business during Tuesday’s meeting, officials amended the city’s computer policy on social networks, making an exception for law enforcement to use such social networking sites as Facebook for investigative purposes.

Three citizens – Battle Bagley, Jeff Alder, and Micky Lawson – were appointed, or in Lawson’s case, reappointed, to the Fayetteville/Lincoln County Industrial Board. Bagley and Alder were appointed without opposition as county and city representatives, respectively, on the board, but Lawson’s reappointment as a county representative was met with opposition.

“I’m concerned that when you live in a community with a population such as ours, you continue to set the same citizen on dual boards,” said Vice Mayor Gwen Shelton, noting that Lawson also serves on the Fayetteville Public Utilities board of directors, as well as IDB. “I’m disappointed that the oversight committee didn’t question this.”

“The county brought forth their names,” said Alderman Danny Bryant, a member of the Industrial Oversight Committee. “We acted on what they had proposed … Our choice as our city representative was Jeff Alder, and he is an excellent choice in our opinion.”

The motion to reappoint Lawson was passed with four votes in favor, including Bryant, Underwood and aldermen Marty Pepper and Michael Whisenant, one opposed, that being Shelton, and one abstention, that being alderman Dorothy Small.

Additionally, the board approved the rezoning of Mimosa Road property from residential to agricultural status. That action came after a public hearing, during which no opposition was voiced.

A public hearing was scheduled for the board’s July meeting on the rezoning of the Wallis property on South Elk Avenue from commercial to residential status.

Parade permits were issued for the Firecracker Chase coming up on June 29, as well as the Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride on Sept. 21.

The board also scheduled its July work session for 8 a.m. July 3. Normally, the work session is held the Thursday prior to the first Tuesday, but since that falls on July 4, the meeting was reset.