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Ward council readies for Independence Day

Preparation for Ward’s citywide Fourth of July picnic, mutual aid agreement for police, trash compactor operation, and new requirements to regulate storm water, were before the Ward City Council at the May 13 meeting.

Mayor Art Brooke and aldermen Bill Moon, Lee Schoonover, Jeff Shaver, Gary Matheny and Charles Gastineau attended the meeting.

City engineer Tim Lemons informed the council that Ward has been directed by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to apply for a storm water (MS4) permit. Lemons said that although Ward does not have the population called for in such a permit, the city has been designated as “urbanized” because of the proximity to the Little Rock metropolitan area.

The city must develop a storm water plan and submit annual reports to ADEQ, Lemons said. “There’s not anything here that is rocket science, just a lot of paperwork,” he said.

The initial draft he prepared for the city has about 75 pages, Lemons said. “[ADEQ] has given us until July 15 to get this done,” he said.

Storm water regulation is intended to prevent sedimentation, Lemons said.

There will an expense involved in developing the plan, Lemons said. He said he would use as many existing plans as possible to keep the cost down.

“They were going to make us do it tonight,” Lemons said.

Planning Commission member Brad Staley subsituted for chairman Gary Meadows, who was unavailable.

With the commission’s recommendation, the final plat for Cedar Pointe Subdivision was approved by the council.

Staley said the unique feature of the subdivision is that it is outside city limits but has been built to meet city code requirements because it is within the one-mile planning district.

The subdivision is adjacent to East Main Street, between Dogwood Lane and Stagecoach Road, Staley said.

Cedar Pointe is already on the city water and wastewater systems and is expected be annexed into the city sometime in the future, Staley said. Once the city grows to the area the subdivision will be ready, he said.

Lemons explained that the subdivision is separated from the city limits by several properties. However, it is expected that future annexations would move the city limits to the subdivision, at which time it would be immediately annexed, he said.

Even though city building permits are not required, construction in the subdivision requires the same inspection as if it were done inside the city, Lemons said.

The council also appointed Jeff Craig to the Ward Planning Commission.

Chief of Police Steve Benton said the mutual aid agreement is one that has already been in effect. “Basically, the thing that’s changed is Tony [Bryant, Austin Chief of Police] signed it,” Benton said.

Prior to Monday, John Staley was Austin chief of police, Benton said. “This is one of the housekeeping things that come up when there is a changeover,” he remarked.

The mutual aid agreement allows officers to back each when needed, Benton said.

However, there was one change made, Benton said. “We made it so the officers can call for aid themselves, they don’t have to go through me or Tony. It’s quicker this way,” he said.

In other matters, the council approved funding for the city Fourth of July celebration. After the meeting, Brooke explained that the city ensures the costs are met, but most if not all costs are met by sponsors and donations.

City services manager Frank Kinder said the city’s new compacting station for paper products is operating. It is open Monday through Friday during regular business hours.

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