WM City Council works through packed agenda
City officials working on filling vacancies, supporting legislation as election draws nearer
By JOHN RECH
West Memphis moved through a busy agenda during its first meeting in September. Council finalized updates to human resource policy, tabled approval of a new cell phone tower, and supported regional air quality standards.
■ ■ Mayor Marco McClendon asked for recommendations for the vacant city treasurer position after no one filed for the elected position. Alderman heard intentions the school district would work toward public WiFi in neighborhood parks.
■ ■ Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Study Director Amanda Hicks asked city council to support regional air quality standards. Without council endorsement of congestion mitigation and air quality improvements under the clean air act, federal and state funds for road and bridge projects in the county would be lost. Under the CMAQ program new projects demonstrating reduction in vehicle travel also reduce emissions and qualify for a funding boost. Many bike trail projects, like the Big River Trail used CMAQ. City administrators had expressed the desire to revitalize the bayou trail.
“These standards are adopted by the major MPO in the Memphis metropolitan area,” said Hicks. “Funding is based on air quality standards, getting vehicles off the road, and improving emissions.”
■ ■ The council also approved three items for the personnel department. An update to the employee hand book was accepted including travel policy and standardizing exit interviews.
See COUNCIL, page A4 COUNCIL
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“These are common things in the business community and we should follow those best practices,” said McClendon.
Council members also resolved to support a state constitutional amendment to continue the transportation tax for road work. City Attorney Mike Stephenson explained the impetus of the resolution.
“The Municipal League asked each city to consider passing this to show support for the ballot issue in November,” said Stephenson.”It’s to keep our roads up to standard.”
Council put off consideration for a proposed cell phone tower at Cross Roads baptist Church. A competitor had plans approved for a tower at Tilden Rodgers Park. This tower would carry competing wireless service, 4G and 5G capabilities. The west side of town had been a constant source of cell and data service complaints.
“I’d like the developer to come into meet the whole council and verify this is a truly a value to our community,” said Councilman Tracy Catt.
Councilman David Murray reported the re-opening of parks after a COVID-19 caliber cleaning and announced plans for Wi-Fi for parks in conjunction with the West Memphis School District to provide access to remote learners. Grimsley Park would be excluded as it fell inside the Marion School District.