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Council to consider ordinances related to city accounting, taxi service

Economic development proposal, pool funding also on agenda by Tia Lyons | June 9, 2021 at 8:30 p.m.

New business dominates the agenda for the El Dorado City Council’s regular meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

The Pledge of Allegiance and opening prayer will start at 5:25 p.m.

The council is expected to address several items under new business, including proposed amendments to city ordinances pertaining to accounts payable and requirements for taxi cab services in El Dorado.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer has said that language needs to be cleared up in a section of Ordinance 1798, noting that the ordinance appears to assign to the city treasurer duties that are performed by the accounts payable clerk.

Smith-Creer also asked council members to review Ordinance 1883 and clarify requirements regarding background checks for taxi service providers and eliminate language that calls for vehicle inspections, which are not required by the state.

Also, under new business, Robert Edmonds, director of public works, plans to ask the El Dorado City Council to commit $40,000 to cover the costs of opening and operating the Mattocks Park swimming pool this summer, possibly in time for the Fourth of July.

The El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission is considering extensive repairs/renovations to the pool as part of an overall master plan to improve city parks.

Commissioners are tweaking the plan and developing a funding request to present to the El Dorado Works Board, who administers the city’s one-cent sales tax for economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality-of-life projects.

The EWB has scheduled its next meeting for June 22.

In the meantime, commissioners have said they hope to get the Mattocks pool up to code and operational for the summer.

Inspectors with the Arkansas Department of Health have identified work that needs to be done to meet state codes that regulate public swimming pools, including adding handrails to the shallow end of the pool.

Edmonds previously said $40,000 will cover operating costs, including pay for three lifeguards, and maintenance and short-term repairs that are needed to open the pool.

The pool typically opens on Memorial Day but it has remained closed this year as the EPPC has worked on the master plan and sought guidance from the ADH on what is needed to open the facility.

City officials and the EPPC have said annual operating costs for the pool come to about $30,000.

Edmonds said approximately $15,000 more is needed this year for short-term repairs and maintenance to bring the pool up to state health codes.

He noted that funding is available in the 2020 operating budget for the Mattocks pool, explaining that the pool was closed last year because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pool typically opens on Memorial Day but it has remained closed this year as the EPPC has worked to identify long and short-term measures, the latter of which are needed to open the pool for the 2021 season.

The Mattocks pool is the only public swimming pool in the city. Admission is free.

Brandon Barnette, economic development projects manager for the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, is on the council’s agenda to ask for the city’s support of a state tax incentive program for a new industry that is setting up shop in El Dorado.

The Chamber and Continental Carbonic Products, Inc., (CCPI) announced last month that CCPI is opening a liquid CO2 and dry ice manufacturing facility in El Dorado.

The facility is located near LSB Industries (El Dorado Chemical), a nitrogen chemical manufacturer with whom CCPI has a long-term CO2 supply agreement.

CCPI expects the have the new facility up and running before the end of the year.

The company is looking to participate in the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Tax Back Program, which offers sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and taxable machinery and equipment to qualified businesses.

The program encourages companies to purchase building equipment and materials locally.

Barnette said the city of El Dorado has never participated in the Tax Back Program.

Last December, the Union County Quorum Court passed a resolution endorsing CCPI’s participation in the program.

Barnette will be joined by Ernest Place, director of production for CCPI, at the council meeting today.

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