The Municipal Insurance Rates Could Increase for the City of Shannon Hills

The City of Shannon Hills is one member of the Central Arkansas Risk Management Association (CARMA). CARMA is not a traditional insurance company, rather it is a risk pool for its members. However, public entities have been leaving CARMA and the remaining membership pool is getting close to being unsustainable. If CARMA does dissolve than the City of Shannon Hills does have other insurance options, but they are likely to be more expensive than CARMA. For a more detailed explanation, I encourage you to read the Arkansas Democrat Gazette story “Membership’s shrink threatening public entities’ insurance group”.

Shannon Hills Settles Lawsuit For $10,000

By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As Mr. Madison pulled away, he turned towards me in a fighting stance
— January 12, 2015 Shannon Hills Incident Report 15-00012

Back in March of 2017 Kaleb Madison filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Shannon Hills, Chief Allen Spears, Officer Jeremy Brown, and Officer Christy Dillavou. The cliff note version of the suit claims that a former Shannon Hills Officer Brown fabricated a police report and used excess force during a traffic stop and subsequent arrest of Madison. Madison had an outstanding warrant out for a misdemeanor offense. If you're interested in the details of the case Fox 16 has a good video of the incident (link) and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Record wrote a very detailed article (link).

The video clearly and unquestionably refutes the officers’ reports.”
— March 18, 2017 Madison V. City of Shannon Hills

Fox 16 did an earlier story (link) back in 2016 about how the Arkansas State Police refused to  investigate the incident even though Chief Allen Spears had requested they investigate. The Arkansas State Police said they did not have the jurisdiction to investigate another law enforcement agency.

The City of Shannon Hills is part of the Municipal Legal Defense Program (MLDP). The MLDP is an optional program whereby participating municipalities can pool their resources and provide limited protection for the personal assets of officials, board or commission members and employees.  As part of the program the MLDP provides legal defence/advice for civil rights cases and may reimburse the City for up to 90% of the compensatory/actual damages, settlement monies, court costs and/or attorney fees [1].

During a special City Council meeting in September 7, 2017, Sara Monaghan the Lawyer from the MLDP representing the City, recommended a settlement for $10,000.  The settlement would in no way indicative of any guilt or liability.  Interestingly the City Attorney Patrick Benca was not present during the meeting. Based on the recommendation of the MLDP the City Council unanimously voted to settle the case[2].

Both sides settled the case in court on September 22, 2017. The court documents don't indicate the amount of the settlement, but based on the City Council meeting notes it is safe to assume it was for $10,000 [3].

Should the City of Shannon Remove Public Records From its Website?

Should the City of Shannon Remove Public Records From its Website?

An elected City of Shannon Hills Official has confirmed that the City intentionally removed all but the last two years of City Council meeting minutes from the City's website (link), with plans to only post current year minutes in the future.  Links to over 100 meeting minutes were removed, which dated back to as far as 2001[1].  The official stated that "[t]here will be more changes in the future which may not please everyone.  However, we are following the law, and the law does not require minutes to be posted to the web site."

Read More

August 2017 City Council Meeting: Plans for the City's Records Building and Three Resolutions (VIDEO)

4:35 Mosquito Larvicide

: The City obtained some larvicide from the Arkansas Department of Health that is available for free to any resident with a verified need. If your interested contact City Hall at (501) 455-2003. Public works still looking into more

6:20 Shamrock Park Update

: The City is wrapping up the grant application package for phase 4 of development to Shamrock Park. The plan is to add bathrooms, water fountains, and other minor items.

7:00 Vimy Ridge Road / County Line Road (Resolution 2017-012)

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Short presentation by Mayor Kemp, about the need for the resolution for as part of obtaining the grant. Resolution was read in entirety. No discussion from the City Council and the resolution was passed unanimously.

10:05 Floodplain/Floodway Grant Application (Resolution 2017-013)

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This is the first time in many years that the City of Shannon Hills has been able to apply for this grant money, because Saline County did not have their County mitigation plan updated. Grant application would be for approximately $1,410,000 project, with the City paying 25% and the Federal Grant paying the other 75%. The planned project is to acquire up to 14 homes that are at the most risk of flooding that are adjacent to Otter Creek on Clayton Drive. Resolution was read in entirety. No discussion from the City Council and the resolution was passed unanimously.

13:25 Shannon Hills Fall Festival (Resolution 2017-014)

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The City of Shannon Hills got a $400 grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to help pay for advertising of the fall festival this year. The City must pay 1/3 of the cost of advertising and the Grant will match the remaining 2/3. The resolution is to spend $3,000 for the festival with the non-advertising funds going to entertainment, portable bathrooms, and other costs. The festival is not planned to go into the evening this year in the hopes of saving some cost. Resolution was read in entirety. There was a short discussion about how much of the proposed $3,000 is reimbursable (just the $400 grant). The resolution was passed unanimously.

16:30 Discussion about Replacing Roof on City Building

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The roof on the building is wavy and has has hail damage. The City insurance will pay for asphalt shingles and the decking only and requires estimates. Mayor Kemp is proposed replacing the asphalt roof with a metal roof and asked for $4,000 - $6,000 of additional funds beyond the insurance money for the upgrade the roof to be metal. Alderman Kandlbinder asked what plans there was for the use of the building. The building is used right now to store records.  Mayor Kemp indicated Healing Waters has some interest in using the building as a place to help people get back to work or the City could use it as a location for animal control. Mayor Kemp requested a vote on a not to exceed cost. However, Alderman Bennett requested that the City get quotes for the replacement work with the metal roof and that the City Council could then vote either next regular meeting or in a special meeting.  The City Council reviewed the current estimates for just the decking and asphalt, the estimate does not include the replacement of rafters (to remove the wave in the roof) or metal roof.  No vote was taken and the issue was tabled for next meeting.

28:10 Request for Funds for a Portable Storage Building to Store City Records

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  The City records are currently kept in the building on High Road.  The Building is expected to be 12 foot by 30 foot and to cost less than $8,000.  Aldermen Blackwell asked if records were scanned if the hard copies have to be maintained.  Alderman Kandlbinder indicated that in his experience scanning records would cost less than $8,000.  The City Attorney offered to look into if original records have to be maintained.  Mayor Kemp suggested that the City could utilize the existing building fund to cover the cost of the portable storage building without the City Council authorize more.  It was decided to table the item until the City gets estimates on both the roof relacement for the building on High Street and the Portable Storage Building. The Mayor is likely going to call a special meeting in a couple of weeks to vote on the two items.

35:29 Legislative Audit Report

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Talked about report again, to make sure the City meets it's legal obligation of discussion the report at the appropriate time.

36:35 Comments From the Floor

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Short discussion about getting bids for the Fire Department to have a backup power generator.

DOCUMENTS:

Agenda and the Resolutions 2017-012, 2017-013, 2017-014:

RY

2016 

Legislative Audit Report

July 2017 City Council Meeting: Purchase of 0.8 Acres and Vimy Ridge/County Line Stop Light Project #Video

2:55 Mosquito Spraying: The Director of Public Works, David Passmore, answered a question about how the spraying for Mosquitoes was going. Spraying has started, but to reduce cost the City is not monitoring mosquito populations, so the effectiveness of the program is unknown.

7:55 Shamrock Park Update: No real progress was made this month due to issues with the turnover of the project manager position at RedStone Construction Group.

8:45 Vimy Ridge Road / County Line Road Improvement Grant: Metroplan passed a resolution clearing the way for the Vimy Ridge and County Line intersection improvement project. The project is planned to cost the $340,000 and will include adding turn lanes, sidewalks, and stoplights. $275,000 will come from a federal grant, and construction is required to start next year. This is a long needed and anticipated improvement and I am looking forward to hearing soon about the next phase of planning.

10:00 Water Line Expansion/Connection Project Progress: There was discussion about the current status of the 9-in. water main work connecting the City's water tower networks.  If I understood correctly the line work up County Line Road will coincide with the safe schools sidewalk project, which is waiting on some legal issues securing the easement.

15:05 Resolution 2017-011: After it's initial reading the City Council passed the resolution unanimously without any comments or questions. A copy of the full resolution can be found at the bottom of this article and the full title of the resolution is:

A resolution by the City of Shannon Hills supporting federal and state legislation to ensure the proper assessment and collection of sales tax from all internet/online sales thereby creating a fair and free market for all businesses and consumers regardless of the location of the business from which the purchase was made.

18:15 RY 2016 Legislative Audit Report: The Legislative Audit report for the City of Shannon Hills went public this week and found that the City "offices were in substantial compliance with Arkansas financial and financial laws". This is no small achievement by the City, which has had a very storied history over the last two decades with its financial records[1][2][3]. The full audit report can be found at the bottom of this article.

20:17 Update on Annexation Law: Mayor Kemp mentioned a letter from Secretary of State Mark Martin about changes to annexation law.  There was no discussion or comments from the City Council on the item.

20:42 Approval of Purchase of 0.8 Acress: Mayor Kemp mentioned the potential to purchase two lots near the corner of Clayton and Beachwood for a price of $6,000 + closing cost. One lot is empty and the other has a 1977 mobile home[4] that has gone into disrepair.  The land is in a flood-way and as a result the current owner cannot build any new buildings on it. The County assessed value of the two parcels is $11,000 [5][6], but the County assessment only includes the value of the land and does not account for the cost to clean up the property.

This was the first time the potential to buy this land was brought before the City Council. Mayor Kemp stated the opportunity came up that day. The City does not have a specific plan for the use of the property.  However, Mayor Kemp did indicate that they intend to clean it up and long term use it in some way as part of the City's Parks.  After a short discussion about the properties location, history, and the City's plans for the property the City Council unanimously approved allowing allow Mayor Kemp to make get the documents in order to make the purchase.

Image from the Saline County EDGE GIS Map; accessed July 19, 2017. Red outline indicates the two lots to be purchased.

27:50 Preliminary Discussion About Use of 40 acres of Land the City of Shannon Hills Owns in Little Rock: Mayor Kemp has approached the Highway Department about the the viability of using 40 acres owned by the City as a retention basin. With the hope that  the retention basin would elevate some of the flooding issues on I-30 and the floodwater that backups Otter Creek into Shannon Hills. The land is not in a floodplain and based on value of similar undeveloped land the 40 acres are worth between $400,000 - $600,000.

At first glance it seems odd that the City owns 40 acres of land in Little Rock, but the City made the purchased back in the 1980s with the intent to build a wastewater treatment plant on the land.  I don't have the full history or details, but when the City was planning to build the current wastewater treatment plant they purchased new land to the South of the City rather than using the property they owned in Little Rock.

DOCUMENTS:

Agenda

Meeting Minutes

Resolution 2017-011

RY 2016 Legislative Audit Report

PSA: Fireworks are Only Legal to Use in City Limits on the Fourth of July


With the Fourth of July holiday approaching and fireworks stands starting to pop-up, we wanted to remind everyone the rules within Shannon Hills city limits.  It is unlawful to discharge fireworks within the city limits at any other time than during the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve, and New Year's. Also, it is unlawful to discharge bottle rockets at any time within the City.

Shamrock Park Public Hearing and Shannon Hills City Council Meet Tuesday June 20th


Credit: Toni Cobb Facebook Page Shamrock Park in Shannon Hill

The City of Shannon Hills is having a public hearing Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 5:45 PM to discuss the next phase of outdoor park recreational grants and the potential for Restrooms for Shamrock Park.

Following the public hearing, the Shannon Hills City Council will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 7:00 p.m at Shannon Hills City Hall, at 10401 High Rd E, Shannon Hills, AR 72103. Agenda as Follows:

Financial Report:
Treasurer Mary Mayers

Minutes

Minutes of Prior Meeting

Department Head Reports

Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department

Old Business:

Shamrock Park Update

New Business:

Items 1: Shamrock Park Grant Request

Item 2: Vimy Ridge Road / County Line Road Intersection

Item 3: Other Business