Mayor breaks tie on vote about shifting funds from displaced Family Fest

By Jamie Miller

The State of the City Address given by Mayor Jill Dabbs on Thursday night was followed up by[more] the regularly scheduled City Council meeting for February.

Held at Love Auditorium on the Bryant High School campus, the meeting began with Pam Toller of the Arkansas State University Childhood services addressing the board.
Toller is a Bryant resident and has been putting early childhood educational services in place in the City for the past year. She discussed the success of the programs as well as the plans for the future to put in place preventative measures and intellectually nurture kids before the age of 5.

"Eighty-five percent of a child's intellect, personality and behavior are formed by age 5," Toller said.

Bryant Family Fest will no longer be directed by James Ballew. Ballew made the decision to move the festival to Benton early this week and the Bryant City Council discussed plans for future July 4th events.

It was noted that $20,000 was allocated in the Parks Department budget for the event. It was suggested in the Finance and Personnel meeting earlier in February to move those funds into the Public Works Department for work on the storm water issues that the city faces throughout each year. No official plans have been made by the Parks Department for the event but they do want to provide the City an event for families on the Independence Day holiday.

The Council voted on the motion to move the money from the Parks Department to the Public Works Department to help aid in the future projects for fixing drainage and flooding issues when heavy rains come. It resulted in a 4-4 tie and Mayor Dabbs exercised her right to vote and broke the tie in favor of moving money to Public Works. She encouraged the Parks Department to present a plan to the Council in the near future for a July 4th event.

With all of the growth the City has seen in recent years, a need for an IT Director has arisen. The city was using contracted services for installation of new programs and workstations but the contract ran out in January. After some discussion, Alderman Steve Gladden made a motion to make an employment position for IT Director within the city to take on the duties of the previous contractors and to lend direction and expertise in the areas of technology. The motion failed.

The Mayor then asked for direction on the matter stressing that this is a position that the city will greatly benefit from.

"I don't care who does the job, I just want it done," she said.

After some lengthy discussion, the topic was tabled to a workshop to work out the details.

The new water tank was lit up last night for the first time and will continue to be lit from now on. In addition, it was noted that city clean up will begin in March. The Streets Department asked that citizens place limbs and brush by the curb for pick up.

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