Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

TOP STORY >> Sherwood mayor will retire

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

“This is my last state of the city address,” Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon, 80, announced Monday night at the conclusion of the address brimming with good news about the town’s finances and growth.

Although there had been speculation that Harmon would step down at the end of his fourth term, this first confirmation had Alderman Dan Sted-man hastily scribbling “I will be a candidate for the position of Sherwood mayor” on the back of his business cards, slipping one to each reporter at the end of the meeting.

“Andrew Carnegie said you can take away my steel mills and take away my railroads but leave me my people and I’ll have them all again in two or three years,” said Harmon in tribute to the job city department heads and personnel had done over the years.

Harmon said that city revenues were recovering quickly from the relocation of Wal-Mart and Best Buy to North Little Rock in no small part because of businesses recently opened in the town, businesses such as Gander Mountain, Academy Sports and others, such as Kohls.

He said income had not quite replaced the losses from Wal-Mart and Best Buy, but that while the city had budgeted $3,200,000 from city taxes, it raised $3,400,000.

Harmon said city revenues for 2005 were $493,500 more than expenses.
“We just received the December tax money and it’s $73,000 more than the previous month and $55,000 more than it was last year.

“We came in $600,000 under budget, thanks to the department heads and the council,” he said.

Harmon wasn’t done with the good news, however. A FTD call center had hired 300 people and a Cardinal Health call center would soon begin hiring 500 people.

“Our land use plan has been revised to provide more commercial property in the (undeveloped) north part of the city,” he said.

About 110 acres of new residential and commercial development are slated for the intersection of Brocking-ton Road and Hwy. 107, he said.

Developers have bought 800 more acres they want to annex into the city.
“Growth will come,” he said.

The council unanimously approved in one sitting an ordinance requiring and allowing pawnbrokers within Sherwood to list information about daily transactions on line, making it easier for law enforcement to track stolen property.

Little Rock and North Little Rock have the system and Benton, Pine Bluff, Jonesboro and Hot Springs either have the system or are looking into it.

The ordinance requires electronic recordkeeping by not only pawnshop operators but dealers in secondhand goods.
In other action, the council tabled declaring two parcels as public nuisance until confusion over the addresses of those properties was resolved.

The council did declare a mobile home at Royal Oaks Mobile Home Park a public nuisance and also finding the triplex at 607 Sherer Plave Drive to constitute a public nuisance.

The council also confirmed Harmon’s appointments of Carolyn Chalmers to the civil service commission and of Arnie Bergquist to the personnel commission.