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West Memphis City Council Roundup

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Officials sign off on tax break, cell tower agreement, more

[email protected] The West Memphis City Council made quick work of three items during its first regular meeting in June. City Council endorsed a tax back resolution for an expansion at Newberry Tanks. The city board gave the city attorney permission to finalize a cell tower agreement at Tilden Rodgers Park. A thumbnail financial report revealed city revenue ahead of plan.

City Economic Development Project Manger Mallory Darby outlined the tax incentive plan for city council coupled with an overview of the Newberry Tank business on North Walker Street. The company

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Mallory Darby COUNCIL (cont.)

planned a capital investment of $1.2 million to expand its facility.

'Currently Newberry Industries has 39 employees,' said Darby. 'They are adding eight jobs. The average wages for the additional jobs will be $50,000 per employee.'

The tax back plan is administered through the state but has to be endorsed by local government. It allows them to get refunds on their sales and use tax during construction. So that means building equipment, machinery, all things involved in the expansion will get refunded through the state.'

In other news:

• The city entered into a letter of agreement with Tower Ventures for a communication tower in the city park. The tower was planned to stand in the northeast corner of the park behind the Tractor Supply store. City Attorney Mike Stephenson provided city council with an overview before it unanimously authorized the agreement.

'This will have a tower in Tilden Rodgers Park, we are doing a Letter of Intent because we are asking for a few changes,' said Stephenson. 'They've been agreeable to changes up to this point. These are minor changes, but significant.

They had option on this for two years, and they are moving on it.'

The paved access road to the tower will double as part of the walking tail extending out of the park to the east.

• Budget Chairman Councilman Tracy Catt said first half budget numbers would be heard on the last Thursday in June but provided a brief status report to city council. The city coffers stood in the black through the spring.

The impact of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge closure on May 11 had not yet been measured.

'As of March we had a $372,000 in revenue that has not been spent,' said Catt. 'The mayor is holding a tight control on spending. Now with the bridge closed we need to see how that effects tax revenue.'

He told city council funding storm water pump repairs later this year might go to the voters.

'We made need to get an ordinance passed to get the item on the general election ballot,' said Catt. 'It's an item not in the budget.'

Photo by John Rech

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