A routine ordinance turned into a lengthy debate at the Maumelle City Council meeting on Monday night.
The ordinance, on its first reading, was to allow banners at five of the city’s parks and ball fields.
The Maumelle Soccer Club brought the idea for the banners to the Council and they would be used to sponsorships, a form of advertising.
What kind of sponsors was a concern that Alderman Steve Mosley brought up.
Mosley asked what would prevent a political candidate from buying a banner?
Nothing was the response from City Attorney JaNan Davis and added that the city didn’t want to get into the business of regulating that content because of First Amendment issues.
Mosley, going against Davis’ recommendation, brought up a motion to amend the ordinance to limit who could be sponsors.
That motion failed for a lack of a second but not before a 30-minute discussion on the banners.
The ordinance goes on to a second reading at the next City Council meeting before being adopted or rejected on the third and final reading.
In other business: An ordinance that would allow the city’s Planning Commission to approve above ground power lines in areas zoned industrial was on its first reading and moved on to the second reading at the next Council meeting.
In the other item of new business, the Council approved a resolution that would allow escrow funds to be spent to purchase a new computer server and accounting software.
Mayor Mike Watson also told the Council that the city’s plan to move to single-stream recycling was on hold.
Watson said the contract between the city and Waste Management, the company that would handle the pickup, was being scrutinized “up the food chain” and that the program cold possibly begin Feb. 1 of next year.
Watson added that he would keep the Council informed of any communication between his office and Waste Management.
The next Council meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 7