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City Council to consider finalizing MAD deals, among other agenda items, at meeting tonight

by Tia Lyons | April 7, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

El Dorado City Council members will tend to several items when they convene for a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

At the top of the agenda are proposed documents pertaining to agreements the city made late last year with the Murphy Arts District.

The city council and El Dorado Works Board approved a funding request to purchase Oil Derrick Park for $890,000 and to enter into a contract for MAD to manage, operate and maintain the MAD Playscape, which is owned by the city.

The EWB oversees the El Dorado Works tax, a one-cent sales tax that is dedicated to economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality-of-life projects.

Twelve percent of tax revenue is earmarked for MAD development.

Oil Derrick Park sits on the grounds of The Griffin Restaurant and First Financial Music Hall and features a large oil derrick.

For the past eight years, the city council has contributed millions of dollars from the El Dorado Works and the former El Dorado Forward taxes, both of which serve similar purposes, toward the development of MAD. The El Dorado Forward tax, also a one-cent tax, expired in June of 2015, about two months after the El Dorado Works was approved by voters and four months before the new tax went into effect.

In 2013, the city committed $9.02 million from the El Dorado Forward tax, which expired after eight years in 2015, to help purchase and improve properties — Oil Heritage Park (on the corner of Jefferson and Cedar) and the MAD amphitheater and playscape — which were deeded back to the city and are being leased to MAD for a nominal fee.

MAD is requesting a similar arrangement for Oil Derrick Park.

For the playscape, MAD asked for a three-year commitment totaling $1.2 million, or $400,000 per year.

However, the city council opted to pay out the contract annually at $400,000 per year in arrears.

The council is expected to act on several documents — including the contract for services for the playscape and an agreement of sale, warranty deed, lease agreement and memorandum of lease for Oil Derrick Park — that have been submitted by MAD to finalize the deal.

Pierce Moore, human resources director for the city, is also on the council’s agenda to provide an update on the city’s time clock system.

The system was purchased and implemented last year and Council Member Paul Choate has asked for a report on how the system is working out.

Moore is also expected to ask the council to authorize the deletion of some items from the city’s inventory list.

Also on the council’s agenda are proposed resolutions for the donation of land to relocate the city dog pound and to purchase a lawn mower for city parks.

The city plans to move the dog pound from the City Shop to property at the intersection of South West Avenue/Southfield Road and the eastbound ramp onto the U.S. 82.

LANXESS is donating the property.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer issued a reminder that the audience for the council meeting is limited to 25 seats, including city officials and employees, and face masks are required.

The state recently lifted several coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and Smith-Creer said social distancing and masks are still being enforced in City Hall.

“We’ll look at making changes next month,” she said.

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