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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Council addresses a wide variety of topics

  • Councilman Don Etherly served as mayor pro-tem at Tuesday night's city council session in the absence of Mayor Arnell Willis.
    James Valley made a presentation regarding a drainage problem in the city. Valley, speaking on behalf of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Helena-West Helena located in the 100 block of North Coanza, is currently under construction.
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  • Councilman Don Etherly served as mayor pro-tem at Tuesday night’s city council session in the absence of Mayor Arnell Willis.  
    James Valley made a presentation regarding a drainage problem in the city.  Valley, speaking on behalf of the First Missionary Baptist Church of Helena-West Helena located in the 100 block of North Coanza, is currently under construction. 
    Valley noted, "The drainage is insufficient practically any time it rains."  Valley continued, "Someone installed two 4-inch pipes for drainage and any time it rains, those pipes are not sufficient to carry the load... We certainly are not here to cast blame on anyone but this has been a problem for a long time." 
    He asked the council to examine the possibilities of having the city install 18-inch drainage pipes to facilitate the growing congregation's flooding problems.  The council moved to have the church architects and city engineer Ken Wieland to discuss further action to remedy the drainage problem.
    Linda Broome, the new director of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, asked the council for a permit for the next event in October.  The council agreed to the permit for the 29th annual KBBF. 
    Broome told the community, "I cannot believe we have been in existence for 29 years."  Brooms continued, "We are so proud of our office on Phillips Street...it was an old liquor store and when we started working on it, it was a bomb shell.  Through all the in-kind donations we have furniture, a new floor, refrigerator, vanity, a security system. We paid for nothing.  It came from all the good-hearted people in this town that helped to make this happen."
    Julia Malinowski, the director of the Helena A&P Commission also addressed the council for a permit for another event. The one night only pop-up bar, "Bar None" will be a first for the community.  Malinowski told the council, "The A&P Commission has been pursuing doing pop-up events over the past couple months with an interest in filling our restaurant gaps." 
    The event is slated to take place from 5 p.m. until midnight on Aug 9.
    Another topic of discussion included the base pay ordinance.  The council was given an update on several city positions and will be discussed in more detail in an upcoming council meeting in August.
    The council then approved the $20,000 USDA grant match for new turnout gear for the Helena-West Helena Fire Department.  Chief Reginald Wilson, according to the city clerk, has raised the FD share of the match totaling $39,000.  Clerk Sandi Ramsey reminded the council that this grant would be at no expense to the city. 
    Page 2 of 2 - The council also discussed replacing of a new roof on the municipal buildings in Helena and in West Helena.  The council expressed their concerns regarding the flat-pitched roof and discussed the possibility of changing the roof design to include more of a pitch.  Ramsey noted that while the old West Helena municipal building is dry inside when it rains, water still pours in at the fire station in Helena.  The roof repairs will be placed on the Aug. 19 agenda.
    The council then approved amending the base pay ordinance and the city’s budget for a fourth court clerk.  The meeting concluded with the presentation of the Purple Heart flag given to the city of Helena-West Helena to be flown in honor of wounded veterans on Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.
    The next city council meeting will be held next Tuesday at 6 p.m.  The agenda of the special-called meeting includes street repairs.

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