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Smackover council turns down rehab facility, talks Suddenlink

by Matthew Hutcheson | October 13, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

The Smackover City Council met on Monday, Oct. 11, for its regular monthly meeting.

Council members revisited two old business items: a proposal by a drug rehabilitation company to use the old city hall building on 7th Street for a new facility, and an ordinance regarding franchise fees for Suddenlink as the company continues setting up services in the town.

First, council members unanimously approved the previous meeting's minutes,

The first item of old business dealt with a request from Ohio-based drug rehabilitation business Phoenix Group to rent and utilize the old city hall building at 201 E. 7th St.

This item was originally tabled after discussion during the August council meeting.

The council decided unanimously to not rent the building to the company following brief discussion Monday evening.

"Personally, I don't think we need a drug rehabilitation [facility] in Smackover," council member Mark Corley said before putting that opinion in the form of a motion.

The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

The old city hall building was approved during the August meeting to be used until December for the Christmasville exhibit, which is scheduled to open next month.

Next in old business, Mayor Bobby Neal presented an ordinance related to an agreement with internet company Suddenlink, which is currently setting up cable and internet services in Smackover.

The ordinance sets up a fee in accordance with the Arkansas Video Service Act of 2013, which allows "any person or entity desiring to provide cable or video services" in a municipality to "do so by obtaining a state-issued certificate of franchise authority," according to language used in the ordinance.

The state law calls for cable service companies to pay a franchise fee set by the municipality it operates within. The fee must be codified by the municipality via ordinance.

Smackover's ordinance sets the franchise fee at 5% of any cable or video service provider's gross revenues within the city municipal limits, a percentage Neal described as "the limit" of franchise fees a city may charge.

The ordinance's first reading was approved on Monday. A second reading is scheduled for next month's meeting, and the third reading and passage is set for December.

In response to a question by a council member, Neal said Suddenlink has not set a date for finishing its setup operations for beginning service in Smackover.

In council member comments, Corley brought up his efforts to have street lights in Smackover's City Park repaired by Entergy. He said he had not been able to make progress by calling the company about the lights being out, and after being on hold for 40 minutes was only able to submit one report of a light being out.

"I sent a list the other day and sent it to the top man and to [the company] too and haven't heard anything as of last week, and that's the second time I've sent it," Neal said.

"I think there are three or four lights working in the city park," Corley said.

September police reports were available in documents provided by Smackover Recorder/treasurer Rick East.

According to the reports, the Smackover Police Department responded to 117 calls; filed six misdemeanor and six felony reports and seven accident reports; made zero misdemeanor and six felony arrests; conducted 816 security checks and 39 traffic stops; issued 12 traffic tickets and 29 warning tickets; answered five alarms; and completed 16 assists.

The Smackover City Council will meet again on Monday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. at Smackover City Hall.

Print Headline: Smackover council turns down rehab facility, talks Suddenlink

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