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Friday, February 23, 2024

Private Club Permit Fails in Vote of 4-2


The Greenwood City Council met at city hall in a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday evening, February 5 at 7 p.m. Council members present included Roger Rainwater, Daniel McDaniel, Tim Terry, A.C. Brown, Ralph Meeker, and Rod Powell. Also present Mayor Doug Kinslow, City Clerk/Treasurer Sharla Derry, and City Attorney Travis Plummer.

After approving the meeting minutes from the January meeting, Mayor Kinslow recognized accomplishments by the Greenwood Junior and Senior High Quiz Bowl, the Chess Team and Wrestler Jarod Pace on his 100 career wins.

The council then reviewed the submitted committee reports.

Next on the agenda, the citizen’s forum. Several individuals had signed up to address the council, including Eric Brimmer, who expressed concerns about the approval (second reading) of a private club in Greenwood. “I think it is a misuse of a tool that is intended for private clubs, not restaurants.” Jim Newcomb addressed the council next, in regard “to the alcohol issue…Personally, I think if this is going to be decided, it should go to the vote of the people…I voted for several of you, I can’t believe you would approve it…that’s the way I stand, but I hope you will look at your conscious and change your mind.” Clifton Pearcy addressed the council next, “Greenwood is a unique community…that’s why we’re here, that’s why you’re here. There’s something different about Greenwood. It’s not just about the alcohol sales, but it is part of it… Being ‘dry,’ it’s what makes Greenwood unique…I would hate to see us turn our back on what we’ve stood for many, many years…I don’t think one business can change the financial coffers of our city with sales tax on the sale of liquor…we are opening Pandora’s box and where does it stop?”

Financial Director, Tom Marsh then gave the city’s financial report, noting that city and county sales tax revenue was down. He went on to explain line items in the monthly report. There were no questions from the council for Marsh.

In agenda additions, Mayor Kinslow sought a motion to amend, adding a discussion of an outstanding invoice with Crawford Construction and an ordinance 20-09 to update the requirement threshold. The council approved the additions.

Next on the agenda, old/unfinished business. Repealing and replacing ordinance 14-10, discharge of firearms in the city limits – the third reading. Council man Meeker stated that he has had some comments from citizens about how the ordinance addresses legal possession of firearms. “Of course, there is a difference between gun ownership, gun possession and discharge of firearms. Those are three separate entities…This ordinance does allow for a person who is acting in defense of his or her life and that of another person, which falls in line with state code. There is nothing in this ordinance mentions where that firearms can be possessed, that falls in federal and state statues. This ordinance as it is written safely covers the citizens of the city by following within the state and federal code.” Chief Hobbs, who has assisted with the crafting of the ordinance, concurred, stating, “this ordinance covers everything it should.” The council voted unanimously to approve the third reading, appealing and replacing ordinance 14-10.

The next item of unfinished business, the second reading of an ordinance approving a private club permit to La Fiesta. The attorney for La Fiesta addressed the council regarding the permit and offered himself to answer any questions. “Under the statute, there is clearly a section…for food service establishments…there is intent that restaurants be permitted to utilize this…”

Council man Powell addressed the attorney inquiring about the requirement of the private club license being issued to a 501c3, non-profit. “What is the name of the nonprofit? Tupelo Gentleman’s Club was listed as the 501c3 non-profit, why not use a local nonprofit?…I feel like it’s a pan deal that some Little Rock lawyer is making money off of.” Powell stated that although it is legal, “this is a sham…”

Council man A.C. Brown added that he feels the city needs to better define the permit process, and stated that he feels that La Fiesta has done what has been asked of them to obtain the permit.

There was further discussion among the council themselves and the members of the audience. Mayor Kinslow gave a pointed, emotional statement, defending his position and Christian faith.

A roll call vote was given: A.C. Brown – No; Ralph Meeker – Yes; Tim Terry – Yes; Roger Rainwater – No; Daniel McDaniel – No; Rod Powell – No. The motion failed.

“…I feel like this council continues to look at their own interests, and not the interest of the public,” stated Kinslow.

In items of new business, the discussion of tort immunity and litigation coverage for city official and commissioners. According to Derry there was a concern by Alex Selkirk, a member of the water commission, about tort immunity. According to the Municiple League, immunity could be denied in certain cases. “As long as you’re trying to do what is in the best interest of the city, then you should not be worried about being on the hook for any tort liability,” commented City Attorney Travis Plummer.

The next item on the agenda, a resolution to donate city property to ARDOT for the bypass project. The resolution was passed unanimously. In other items of new business, the authorization for renewal of fireworks display contract. The motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to amend the contract. Additionally, the correction for an omission to resolution 124-07, adding position to police salary matrix. The motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously. In the last item of new business, the discussion on a FEMA BRIC Grant. The grant would allow the city to purchase lands in the flood prone areas. The matter was tabled until the next meeting.

Before adjourning, the council heard and discussed reports from the department heads.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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