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First Printed on Wednesday, September 15, 2004. Excerpted here 9/16/04
City Council to weigh resolution urging passage of state amendment

BY ADAM WALLWORTH Northwest Arkansas Times

The Fayetteville City Council will consider a resolution Tuesday that would encourage residents to vote for referred Amendment 2 this November as an effort to increase statewide economic development efforts.

The resolution would allow the Arkansas Economic Developers, a group of economic development professionals, to count Fayetteville among the supporters of the amendment intended to help Arkansas land super projects.

Approval of the amendment would allow the General Assembly to approve general obligation bonds for up to 5 percent of state general revenues, which would be used to fund economic development projects that invest a minimum of $500 million and create a minimum of 500 jobs.

The resolution was pulled from the councilÝs consent agenda, which are items approved with a single vote, after Ward 2 Alderman Kyle Cook raised the question of whether the item was intended to educate the public. If the intent is to educate the public, he said, it would seem difficult to do so without a public discussion, "even if itÝs only for five minutes."

Town Branch Neighborhood:

In other business, the council will consider two separate resolutions for the use of $100,246 remaining in the Trees and Trails fund. The fund was created in 2001 when the city agreed to pay $450,000 for violating its own tree preservation ordinance the previous year.

Under the current resolutions, the council would allocate half of the remaining fund for the purchase of 2.44 acres of property owned by the Fay Jones Trust, which is located near the new public library. The other half of the fund would be used to help residents in the Town Branch Neighborhood purchase 2.46 acres of land located on South Duncan Avenue.

Mayor Dan Coody said there is a possibility that the Duncan property could be dedicated to the city as part of a parkland dedication for a neighboring development. The resolution would not preclude Coody from pursuing the dedication.

Ward 2 Alderman Don Marr requested the Tree and Trails Task Force, which was established to advise the council on spending the fund, determine an alternate use of the roughly $50,000 in the event the neighborhood cannot raise the additional funds to purchase the Duncan property, at a cost of $125,000.

Once the funds are expended, the task force will be disbanded.

Also on the councilÝs agenda Tuesday:

´ Three separate cost share agreements will be considered, which would allow the city to spend $215,047 in funds generated by the cityÝs water impact fee. The agreements would be: $60,125 with Sloan Properties Inc., $52,434 with Nock Investments LLC, and $102,488 with Terminella Inc.

´ The council has agreed to allow the Ordinance Review Committee to review the cityÝs user fee policy in preparation for proposed fee increases. The policy will determine what levels of recovery the fees are intended to provide. Steve Davis, director of finance and internal services, explained that the policy will give staffers direction in preparing the user fee study, which will assign dollar values to the recommendations.

The council will determine which fees, such as those for development, should provide full recovery, he said, and those, such as soccer fees for children, that the council may want to subsidize.

The council is scheduled to convene at 6 p.m. Tuesday in room 219 of the City Administration Building.


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