Prescott City Council Last Meeting of 2021: Broadband, Electric, & A New PPD Officer

The Prescott City Council held their December meeting tonight and took care of some end-of-the-year business. After approval of the November meeting’s minutes and financials, reports were given.

Director of Economic development, Mary Godwin, shared with council members a broadband survey and encouraged them to fill it out, as well as share with family, friends, and other citizens. Godwin said this survey is critical for Nevada County to be able to apply for grants and hopefully receive a portion of the more than $1 million the state of Arkansas will get of American Relief Funds (ARF) for broadband internet. Godwin said representatives from Little Rock have encouraged it as well, saying these are “once in a lifetime” funds that will pay for the infrastructure of broadband to be placed in all parts of the county.

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Godwin also shared this years Census numbers and cited a 687 deficit for the county and 195 decrease in Prescott. She explained, however, that the decrease in numbers is lower than surrounding counties. Godwin also updated the council on the cleanup of city properties like house removals and yard citations. She said a lot of yards have been mowed and that the first certified letters to inform citizens of possible citations were sent out a few weeks ago. Godwin also said about 15 to 20 houses had been identified for removal and that title searches are being done to check for liens so they can then contact the owners to ask permission to proceed.

Chief Ann Jordan announced Officer Tracy Armstrong has graduated from the police academy, also earning the title of Sharpshooter, and is now certified.  Armstrong is retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons with over 20 years of experience. She has been training with other officers over the last week and Chief Jordan anticipates Armstrong will be patrolling on her own very soon.

Mr. Larry Jones gave his update for the Electrical Report and shared with the council that even with the loss of customers who moved from Prescott, less money was lost this year. He said that the $300 deposit was working well. He also updated the council on the $2 million bill from February, plus the interest accruing monthly, and said that all options were still being explored. City Attorney Glenn Vasser also shared some input and said getting a grant from the state wasn’t an option and that changing companies wouldn’t help either; there was still the contract to contend with, as well as the fact that these same issues would still exist with another company. A few council members shared thoughts, as well. Council member Austin expressed concern about this situation repeating if another winter storm hit again this year. Council member Curry said he hoped to see a resolution that didn’t involve raising citizens’ bills because he was concerned the city could lose more in the long run. All agreed that they hoped to find a solution that didn’t put the big burden on the customers.

As the meeting was coming to a close, Mayor Oliver reminded the council about the 2020 audit received last month and that it will be addressed for approval in the January meeting. The meeting was adjourned and the mayor, council members, and guests all traded warm holiday wishes with hopes for a happy new year.

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