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By KEN MILAM
POTEAU -Voting as the Public Works Authority, City Council members voted Monday night to approve a recommendation to raise the base rate from $11.80 to $13.90 per 2,000 gallons. That will make the minimum bill $40, according to City Clerk Tami Sprayberry.
Mayor Scotty White said the hike was in response to high rates passed earlier by the city’s water supplier, the Poteau Valley Improvement Authority.
The new rate will become effective when the board enacts a new ordinance at next month’s council meeting.
The council also voted to amend its ordinance regarding medical marijuana businesses in the city. The board voted to lower the annual fees from $2,500 to $1,850. The ordinance also changed some zoning requirements for the different types of marijuana businesses.
White said the change was at the suggestion of the Oklahoma Municipal League in response to lawsuits brought against several municipalities by businesses, alleging the towns were charging the fees to cover inspections, administrative and other costs, but did not reflect the true amount of those costs.
During the discussion, Rachael Clifton of Top Shelf Medicinals asked if the city would consider capping the number of marijuana businesses in the city. Council member Tommy Robertson said it was unlikely, and would be like limiting the number of grocery stores or other businesses.
The board voted to accept the retirement of two longtime employees – Street Commissioner Jim Seale and Police Officer Vernon Qualls.
A special use permit was approved for new businesses that might not fit normal zoning requirements.
The council also authorized participation on the Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group and renewed is agreement with Feed the Need Foundation for the nutrition center.
In her Chamber of Commerce report, CEO Karen Wages said the organization is looking ahead to several summer and fall events. She said the mountain motorcycle rally would return Oct.7-9, the weekend before BalloonFest, which is returning after being canceled last year by the pandemic. A demolition Derby will be among new events being added to BalloonFest..
Looking even further ahead, she said the Chamber is laying plans to make the city a prime destination for people to view the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse.