The Walnut Ridge City Council discussed how the new Census data will affect the city’s wards during the October meeting.

Mayor Charles Snapp stated that with the Census completed, a study was done to redistrict Wards 4 and 2 because of a variance in population.

The solution calls for moving the boundary line between Ward 4 and Ward 2 so that approximately 85 more residents would be added to Ward 2 to balance the variance.

Also during the meeting, the council voted to authorize incentive pay of $500 for employees who are fully vaccinated by Dec. 20, 2021.

This will include all city, airport and water works employees. Employees must submit a notarized statement to the city clerk before a check will be issued.

In other business:

Mayor Snapp reported that there may be other funding available for broadband development in the city. He will be meeting with representatives of Empower and their attorney to review the preliminary lease.

the council heard from resident Jeff Taylor regarding Ordinance 814-16 (Clean-up Ordinance), who stated he did not think a seven-day warning was enough time to give when citing code enforcement issues. Code Enforcement Officer Shannon Delmonte said the letter states that the city needs to know the owner’s “intention of the property.” Council members recommended reviewing the ordinance at next month’s meeting.

Mayor Snapp requested a vote of confidence to hire a structural engineer regarding two derelict buildings in the historic district, the East Main Fire Department and 215 West Elm St. Council Member Wendell Jones said the fire department needs to be condemned and would not require involving an engineer. The council voted to hire a structural engineer regarding 215 West Elm.

Police Chief Jordan Cooksey gave an overview of a new software, Edge, that will be used for code enforcement. There is a one-time fee of $8,895 for the first module and then annual payments of $6,000.

Council members voted to renew the 1 mill tax for the Firemen’s Pension Fund.

City Attorney Ethan Weeks updated the council on the Abbey Road lawsuit. He said they are working on getting depositions for a preliminary hearing, and the trial is expected to be set for the spring of 2022.

Council Member Jon Walter updated the council on the special election set for Nov. 9 and information that would be presented in an advertisement in The Times Dispatch and through the city’s Facebook page.

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