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Sherwood voters to decide fate of electric franchise agreement

It’s official: Sherwood voters in about two months will be deciding if they wish to uphold a November 2012 vote by the city council to sign a 22-year franchise agreement with North Little Rock Electric to provide electrical service to about 7,000 Sherwood households.

In a special council meeting held on March 12, the council voted 5-2 to place the Ordinance 1953 on a citywide ballot. Aldermen Ken Keplinger, Mary Jo Heye, Kevin Lilly, Toni Butler and Mike Sanders voted in favor of the resolution, while Aldermen Charles Harmon and Tim McMinn voted against. Alderman Marina Brooks abstained.

“A petition for referendum has been filed with the city of Sherwood requesting that Ordinance 1953 be referred to a vote of the people,” reads the resolution. “The city clerk has reported her findings after review and counting of signatures on the petitions. The city council has determined that the number of signatures provided on the petitions exceeds 15 percent of the votes cast for mayor in the last general election.”

The 15-percent threshold in petition signatures had to be met for the ordinance to be eligible under state law to be placed on a public referendum.

The vote is set for May 14, according to the resolution.

The ballot title shall read as follows:

“On ordinance approving the franchise agreement between the city of Sherwood and city of North Little Rock continuing electric services to the areas currently served by North Little Rock Electric. Be it ordained by the City Council of Sherwood, Arkansas.

“Sec. 1. The attached agreement between the city of Sherwood and the city of North Little Rock for the continuation of electrical services is hereby incorporated by reference here.

“Sec. 2. Said agreement is hereby approved and the mayor is authorized to execute the agreement on behalf of the city.

“Sec. 3. Any and all previously passed ordinances found to be in conflict herewith are repealed to the extent of the conflict.”

Following the three sections, voters will have two options. They can mark “for” Ordinance 1953, which means they will be supporting the ordinance originally passed by the city council last November to enter into a franchise agreement with North Little Rock Electric.

The second choice for voters will be to mark “against” Ordinance 1953, which means people voting in this manner want to repeal the council-endorsed ordinance.

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