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Batesville City Council round-up, part one

The Batesville City Council enacted an ordinance at last night’s meeting to refer to voters whether to change terms of council members from two to four years.

The council heard the third and final reading of the proposed ordinance to change council members’ terms. It voted 6-0, with one member absent and another seat vacant, to adopt the ordinance.

The ordinance would refer to the voters the question of whether to change the terms of council members from two years to four years. It would do this by electing one member from each ward to a four-year term every two years. Each of the city’s four wards has two positions.

The council also approved an emergency clause so the measure will be ready in time for the November 6 election. City voters rejected a similar ordinance in 2010.

Council member Tommy Bryant proposed the ordinance, saying that staggered terms would assure continuity on the council and provide “municipal memory.”

In other action, the council approved a resolution to finance the purchase of new residential garbage cans. The resolution executes a lease-purchase agreement with BanCorpSouth Equipment Finance. The new cans have already been placed at each residence in the city. They will eventually allow the pickup of trash mechanically, requiring less manpower.

In other news from the meeting, the council appointed Ronda Bryant to complete the term of Dr. Chris Beller, who resigned from the Ward 3, Position 2 seat on the council.

Mayor-Beller.jpgBatesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh presents a plaque to former city council member Dr. Chris Beller at last night’s meet of the council

Beller resigned because he moved out of the ward and the city to his family farm. He was recognized at the meeting Tuesday for his service to the city. Mayor Rick Elumbaugh presented a plaque to him and praised his dedication to the city, saying he followed the tradition of service began by his late mother and his father, Dr. Bill Beller.

Beller, a dentist, said it has been an honor to serve. He thanked Elumbaugh for mentioning his parents’ service as well.

Beller also served on the city’s Advertising and Promotion (A & P) Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission.

After a 40-minute executive session, Mayor Elumbaugh said the council had four good candidates from which to appoint. He mentioned Danell Hetrick, Randy Seale, Abe Garcia and Ronda Bryant, all of whom had submitted resumes and were interviewed by the mayor.

Council member Doug Matthews moved to appoint Ronda Bryant to the position. Six council members voted “yes” to the motion. Council member Paige Hubbard was absent.

Mayor Elumbaugh said Bryant has been a teacher and dance instructor at West Magnet School but is moving to Eagle Mountain Magnet School in the fall. She is a lifelong resident of westside Batesville.

Elumbaugh also announced that Julie Hinkle, who recently joined the council, would fill the vacancy on the A & P Commission. He said they would fill the vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Commission after getting feedback from the other commissioners. He said that would probably be in September.

White River Now will be posting more news from last night’s meeting of the Batesville City Council, including information about Independence County Judge Robert Griffin’s appearance. 

Reporting and photo by Bob Qualls

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