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Highlights of recent City Council meeting

Posted Date: 06/28/2024

Highlights of recent City Council meeting

The Harrison City Council met at City Hall on Thursday, June 27.  A large crowd was present. Several people spoke against the proposed Dollar General on Pine Street. After much listening to citizens for and against the issue, the council voted and passed a first reading. Wayne Cone was the only negative vote. The proposal is to rezone 807-809 S. Pine from C-2 office/commercial to C-3, zoned for general commercial. The second reading is scheduled to take place at the Council Meeting on July 25.

Wayne Cone presented the taxi program update. The council voted to approve raising the ceiling for eligibility from $1,200 to $1,500 a month. The Area Agency on Aging reimburses the city for providing taxi coupons to individuals 60 or over eligible for the program. For individuals interested in participating in the program, contact City Clerk James White at 870-741-3644.

The ordinance for the Historic District Commission was placed on its first reading and passed. COO Wade Phillips made the presentation, which, if implemented, will allow more local control of historic district developments.

Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce President Wilson Marseilles presented an economic update as part of the city and chamber’s partnership. Marseilles bragged on the Reading Readiness of the top three schools in the State, which are the school districts of Harrison, Valley Springs, and Bergman. “This helps not only the youth of today but also our workers of tomorrow.” 

The Chamber sponsored a WIN (Workforce Initiative Network) meeting with teachers, who took tours of local industries and made contacts to connect future students to specific tasks that employers need.

Marseilles mentioned Pace consolidating the zinc plant into the aluminum plant. Three local industries are interested in expanding into that space, which should be available in a few months.

“Our job as a Chamber is to hold up a mirror to see the momentum of our community and to look at how awesome this area is and tell our story,” Marseilles said.

North Arkansas Regional Medical Center President/CEO Sammie Cribbs Roberson presented a community healthcare update. She was recently asked to testify in Little Rock about the lack of insurance and medicare reimbursement not keeping up with the costs of health care.

“NARMC provides an annual salary of $53 million.  These salary dollars were spent throughout our community, creating a total salary impact estimated to be over $90 million. The total estimated economic impact of NARMC to our community is $189 million. In 2022, it is estimated that NARMC spent $46 million in supplies, generating $87 million in local impact.  The economic impact of NARMC created an additional 640 jobs in our community. This is in addition to the 650 people employed by NARMC.  Hospitals and health systems like NARMC are essential to rural communities,” she said.

She also shared that new doctors were joining the team, and the 650 employees were coming to work daily to make a difference in the community. When a council member asked how the city and council could help the situation, she suggested lobbying state representatives for increases in reimbursement. “Be an advocate on our behalf.”

The Council passed an ordinance empowering the local Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board to issue provisional licenses valid through July 31, 2024. This would give businesses longer to submit their documents for renewal.

The ordinance to rezone Harness Street and Bunker Drive was passed to allow Drs. Rob Wilkinson and Mark Whitmore to relocate Boone County Animal Clinic from their current site at Highway 62.65 to expand and upgrade their facilities.