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Alma council repeals outdated ordinance

Alma’s mayor spoke on the state of the city and city council members repealed an outdated ordinance during their regular monthly meeting Thursday night.

Mayor John Ballentine gave a brief account of the state of the city for 2013, calling it an “average” year with few large projects.

One of the largest projects, he said, was the police station remodel, which was completed last July. Construction also began on a new Alma Police gun range.

Other projects included repainting the No. 2 water tank, formerly known as the “spinach can,” new backup generators for four wastewater lift stations and contracting Universal Field Services to acquire rights-of-way for the Arkansas 162 relocation project.

On a positive note, Ballentine said sales were up in November and December of 2013, and in January 2014. Additionally, 16 new residential homes were built in 2013, giving hope for area growth.

City council members repealed an ordinance that first went into effect Jan. 5, 1970. Ordinance No. 288 was meant to suppress the operation of billiard halls, game rooms or similar businesses.

JD Van Matre owns 206 Collum Lane and is hoping to lease the property to Scottie and Rachael Dugger, who plan to operate a pool hall and game room for all ages, they said.

Matre spoke against the ordinance to council members, calling it “outdated” and “an ordinance that stereotypes businesses.”

Ballentine was unaware of the old ordinance, he said, but knew that other game-room type businesses had operated within city limits since the time the ordinance was put in place.

When questioned, the Duggers assured council members that they planned to maintain a family-friendly environment with appropriate hours, as they have five school-aged children of their own.

Council members also approved a contract for a power generator to go to Taylor Power Systems for its bid of $49,987. While another company put in a slightly lower bid, its product did not meet required specifications, said Public Works Director Mark Yardley.

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