The Maumelle City Council deliberated on a proposed indoor aquatic center for the city on Monday night.
After removing the proposed bond issue from an ordinance at the July 7 meeting of the Council, aldermen listened to one final pitch from pool supporters, who were urging them to place the issue back on the ballot.
“We just want to vote,” said Roy Andrews, who spoke in favor of the pool.
But, the Council failed to place the proposal back and it effectively ended having an indoor aquatic center in Maumelle for this year and next, if it was to be funded by local millage.
Before the discussion began, Mayor Mike Watson pointed out the Council and those in attendance that for a project to be considered for millage purposes, it would have to be proposed by a member of the Council who had for taking it off the ballot and it a millage election has to be done in a general election.
When no alderman stepped up, that pushed the pull back to 2016, if millage was to be used to help pay for the construction. Watson did point out that other funding mechanisms could be used to pay for the pool, with its projected price tag of nearly $8 million
The vast majority of pool supporters, some of whom had become fixtures at the Council meetings, were not on hand Monday as the Maumelle Marlins were having the team’s end of season party.
The Marlins finished second in the league standing after last Saturday’s Meet of Champs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Audit raises eyebrows
Alderman and former mayor Burch Johnson, again, led the charge against an audit of the city’s books.
Johnson said that the accounting practices used were costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in write-offs for people he called “deadbeats” or those who weren’t paying their city services fee.
The city service is assessed quarterly and used to pay for police and fire protection, among other things.
According to city records, somewhere between 94 to 97 percent of all city residents pay the fees, a number that Johnson disputed.
Watson said Maumelle has 46 homes that are in foreclosure and unoccupied, meaning no one there to pay the fees.
He said he and his staff were going to compare the lists of foreclosures and those homes significantly behind on the fee payments to see what kind of overlap existed.
Johnson also told the Council they’d be personally liable, if they voted to approve an audit that turned out to be false.
City Attorney JaNan Davis told the Council that Johnson’s statement was not correct.