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Moore on Maumelle | Community service fee is more than meets the eye

I didn’t quite have all my facts straight last week as it relates to the community service fee, so I asked the mayor about it. As usual, Mayor Mike Watson was quick to respond:

“The Community Service Fee is $6 per month or $18 quarterly. It is used to fund a portion of the Police and Fire Department. Annually it brings in approximately $680,000. The Garbage Service fee is $15.50 plus $1.32 tax per month or a total of $50.45 quarterly. The Garbage Service Fee funds the Sanitation Department for the City of Maumelle. Annually it brings in approximately $1.06 million.

“In 2013, we collected 92 percent of the fees billed. The problem on collecting 100 percent is problematic because there is not a service that can be suspended for nonpayment. If we stopped collecting the solid waste, it could cause an unhealthy situation for the area surrounding that home with an accumulation of trash in a back yard or garage.”

My bill is around $70 because I have an extra garbage can, which runs me about $10 a quarter. I don’t think anyone has a problem paying it. We have a problem with the people who don’t pay it. The mayor says about 8 percent of the people don’t pay it. That’s unacceptable. How much money have we written off over the years because of non-payments? I know at least one alderman who intends to find out.

I agree with the mayor: you can’t quit picking up someone’s garbage because they don’t pay, but we have to come up with something. I think the Council is leaning toward tying it to the water bill and there was discussion of replacing all of the fees with a tax. A lot of people aren’t going to like either idea but I’m sure the Council and mayor would be open to your suggestions. It’s a lot of money and we have to find a way to recover it.

Maybe this newspaper should run a list of the scofflaws every quarter. It is my understanding there would be a few recognizable names. There will certainly be a lot more discussion on this in weeks to come.

If you want to drink, you got to drive

Faulkner County shoppers will continue to shop in Morgan/Maumelle, Palarm and Morrilton to get their booze. Organizers fell short of the requirement to get 38 percent of registered voters in the county to put the question on the ballot. The organizer, “Our Community, Our Dollars,” the committee behind the effort to allow liquor stores in Faulkner, Saline and Craighead Counties, made the announcement that there were enough signatures gathered in Saline County, but Faulkner and Craighead Counties failed to get past the 38 percent-of-registered-voters bar to put the initiative on the ballot.

I’m sure it was good news to the stores in Morgan and Maumelle, but this keeps Arkansas in the dark ages for a while longer and with the mandate if you want to drink, you have to drive in about half of our counties. Note: Clark County reported that DWIs have decreased since the county went wet last year. And, of course, revenues increased.

Deal made

The debut of the SEC Network is scheduled to launch Aug.14 and one of its premium offerings is the Arkansas vs. Auburn game on Aug. 30. Most major carriers are set to carry the network including Dish, Comcast and U-verse. Add to that, DirecTV as the company announced late Monday that it would carry the channel. And, of course, I have DirecTV.

Marketplace Grill to open just minutes from Maumelle

One of the better homegrown restaurants in Arkansas is opening near us just west of I-430 on Hwy. 10.

Headquartered in Springdale and with locations in Conway, Springdale, Fayetteville and Fort Smith, the Marketplace Grill offers really fresh food with decadent desserts.

It is locating in the space formerly occupied by Carino’s, which died a slow death due to awful food and terrible service. That’ll do it every time. Watch for the opening in September.

Poison ivy almost did me in

I had a bout with poison ivy the past few weeks, the worst I’ve ever had. The nastiness broke out on both legs, and it took a steroid shot, poison ivy scrub and about three tubes of steroid cream to get rid of it.

I took my first visit to the Sherwood Urgent Care Clinic and was treated promptly and courteously. They put a shot in my left cheek and I was on my way in minutes. I think my days of working in the yard are over. Hate that.

See you on the Boulevard.

Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative and lives in Maumelle. If you have community concerns or information your neighbors need to know, contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.

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