Council Votes to Eliminate Parking on North Side of Howard Street

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The Mansfield City Council met in regular session on Thursday evening, November 19. All members of the council were present, including Rick McDaniel, Sheri Hopkins, Beverly Lyons, Julie Thomas, Dave Johnson, and Jan Carlton. Also present, Mayor Buddy Black and Stephanie Morgan. City Recorder/Treasurer Becky Walker was absent.

Following the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, the council heard the city services reports.

Public Works Director Joe Manes was not present, and Mayor Black read aloud his report. Next, Fire Chief Michael Smith presented his report, noting that the department had a total of 27 calls, four fire and 23 EMS. Smith added that new LED lights were installed in the department’s bay area, and that all trucks were up and running. Lastly, Police Chief Wayne Robb presented his report. In total, the department answered 53 calls, issued 23 citations in Scott County, and seven in Sebastian County. According to Robb there were six school calls, 13 incident/arrest reports, three accident reports, 121 traffic stops, 108 warnings, 18 animal calls and 1/2 total training hours.

City Attorney, Matt Ketcham was not present at the meeting.

In items of unfinished business, the council voted unanimously to approve a new police department policy:

Mayor Black provided the council with an update on the new information sign for the city, sharing that he currently has four commitments willing to contribute $1,000 each.

In the last item of unfinished business, the approval to eliminate parking on the north side of Howard Street. “There is only space for two vehicles…I have heard reports that a couple of businesses are unhappy about it, but it is very hazardous…The highway department agreed to it, and pushed for it actually,” Mayor Black stated. “Some people are disgruntled about and it is unfortunate they couldn’t be here because of social distancing and the limited seating. If you all (speaking to the council) want to wait until these people can attend the meeting and voice their concerns…it’s up to you…if you want to proceed with it, or put a stop to it, you can do either one.” Ultimately, the council decided to move forward with the plan to eliminate the parking on the north side of Howard Street. (see related story)

In items of new business, the consideration of the 2021 budget will be held during an upcoming special meeting. Next, in a unanimous vote, the council voted to approve the $200 monthly payment to support the Mansfield Senior Center. The council then discussed the possible need for an ordinance to control solar panel installation, but no action was taken.

The last remaining items of new business pertained to the police department, and the consideration for new vehicles. The council voted unanimously for Shelby Allen to pursue a grant for a new vehicle for the police department. The grant would require the city pay 25%, or $7,000. The council also approved the purchase of a new 2021 Dodge Durango at the cost of $37,063.93.

Before adjourning, Mayor Black announced the annual tree lighting ceremony to be held December 4 at 6 p.m., and “Parade of Christmas,” Saturday, December 5 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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