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Batesville council meets; private club permit, 2021 budget, and new animal control tags discussed

The Batesville City Council met for the final regular business meeting of the year Tuesday night at the Batesville Municipal Building. 

The council worked through a lengthy agenda containing routine updates from the city engineer, a presentation of a letter from Gov. Asa Hutchinson thanking the city for the annual lights display providing a safe and memorable way to enjoy the holiday season, hearing the annual report on Main Street Batesville, and the approval of multiple ordinances.

All ordinances were unanimously approved by the council. 

One ordinance, in particular, involved the approval of a business owner to submit an application to the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control board for a private club permit for a business that will be known as Club Las Playitas to be located in a building that formerly housed Fred’s Dollar Store at 350 Harrison St. The owner seeking the council’s approval also owns Las Playitas Mexican Restaurant in Southside. 

Other ordinances established included an increase in trash and garbage pickup services fees effective Jan. 1, 2021. The fees denote a three percent increase over 2020. 

Residential pickup will be $14.29 per month and the fee for households over the age of 65 and/or earning less than $20,000 a year will be $9.20 per month.

New animal control fees were also established for the new pet licensing system to be employed by Batesville Animal Control in 2021.

Animal Control Officer Ross Nelson presented the council with a new pet license tag in November’s council meeting that employs a QR (quick response) code that stores pet info rather than the current system of serial numbers.

The tag, made by Pet Hub Solutions, is used in many cities around the country. When utilized, the tag could allow anyone that finds a wandering animal with a tag to scan the QR code with their smartphone camera to receive the identities of the pet and the owner — which could make reuniting animals with owners easier and cut down on the number of animals taken to animal control.

According to Nelson, the tags will cost the city about the same as the current stamped metal tags and could, in the long term, save the city money if fewer animals end up at the city’s shelter. Batesville would be the first municipality in Arkansas to adopt the usage of tags by Pet Hub Solutions.

Traffic numbers thus far for the city’s Winter Wonderland light display were reported to be at over 30,000 vehicles. And Mayor Rick Elumbaugh was given permission to negotiate a possible purchase of the former AP&L/Entergy property off St. Louis Street. If approved and purchased, the site would likely be utilized for storage and a possible move of the fire department on College Street to the location.

And the budget for the city appropriating money for each and every department within the city was approved for 2021.

The council will meet again on Jan. 12, 2021.

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