City Votes to Revise Fees, Also Holds Public Hearing Regarding Substandard Structures

(Photo by Erin Rogers)

The Texarkana, Arkansas Board of Directors held a public hearing regarding the condemnation of substandard residential properties and voted to revise fees that could generate approximately $100,000.

Monday evening, Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell commenced the meeting by congratulating Director Harris for his leadership nomination at the Leadership Texarkana Luncheon.

The Board of Directors then conducted a public hearing regarding the thirteen substandard residential structures located at: 616 Ash St., 710 Ash St., 713 Ash St., 916 Beech St., 1301 Booker St., 920 Cherry St., 1624 Delaware St., 1020 E. Ninth St., 2901 Grand Ave., 206 Marth St., 1122 Mary St., 1009 Putnam St., and 401 Ray St.

Three owners were present at the hearing to object to condemnations. One owner, Lina Beed, spoke concerning the property at 920 Cherry Street.

“I’ve got no excuse, I let someone in there that failed to take care of the property. The property is an eyesore, but I am educating myself in order to make repairs.”

Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell granted Beed an opportunity to get an additional permit to make necessary improvements and meet the codes and regulations set in place.

“If you can get the permit and renovations done, the property is saved,” said Mayor Penney-Bell.

Laney Harris proposed an ordinance to establish a policy for facility uses requests. Harris’ ordinance was designed to set rules for the facility use application and outline the user agreement and responsibilities.

“I don’t think that people with guns should be allowed to any event or place unless you are a licensed police officer,” Laney emphasized.

Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell, along with Linda Teeters, asserted to Harris that the responsibility should remain with the Public Works, not the Board of Directors.

Ward 4 Director, Travis Odom agreed, “I don’t think we should micromanage their people. We have had an in-house policy that works 100 percent. We have had no complaints whatsoever. I am against that ordinance and think it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”

Odom later motioned to table the ordinance indefinitely.

Harris claimed the Board of Directors were conspiring to censor him; therefore, Harris used the citizens’ communication time to read part of his proposed ordinance.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors will be held May 1st.

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