The Heber Springs City Council met during icy conditions on Thursday to take care of monthly business for February.

The Heber Springs City Council met during icy conditions on Thursday to take care of monthly business for February.   The Council discussed the replacement of windows at City Hall and authorized a bid by John Moss Construction to replace 28 windows at a cost of $10,725.  Mayor Jackie McPherson told the Council that the construction company said they could begin work immediately and would most like take a couple of weeks to complete the job.

A sizeable portion of the meeting was devoted to the question of licensing pets in the city.  Jim Lay informed the Council that of the approximately 1500 dogs that are probably present in Heber Springs, only 174 owners actually comply with the licensing ordinance.  Lay proposed that the Council consider dropping an ordinance requirement for the licensing of pets.  Animal Control Officer Stacy Dolan was asked his opinion on tagging pets and responded that doing away with tagging would have both good points and bad points.  “I think it’s a good thing,” said Dolan, “It’s good for identification.”  Maureen Harrod asked, “Why don’t we make it complimentary?”  She went on to state she wasn’t as opposed to the $3 fee for licensing as she was the fine for not having pets licensed.  Police Chief Bobby Walker voiced his support for having tags.  The Council debated a campaign to raise public awareness concerning the importance and necessity of licensing pets and will be discusses further at the next Council meeting in March.

The Council also discussed a $1,427,000 contract with J.S. Heren to for wastewater improvements.  This would be the third phase of the improvements with a FEMA grant of $1,200,000.  The Council approved a measure allowing McPherson to enter into this contract on behalf of the city.

Mayor McPherson told the Council that 22 deer were logged in the latest urban deer hunt, which is down from the approximately 200 logged in the previous hunt.  The Council discusses the necessity of keeping this program in place.  It was decided to keep it in place for now, but it will come up for further discussion at a later time.

In McPherson’s State of the City address, he said, “The state of the city is very good and very sound.”  He told the Council the city was looking into applying for a grant to build a new city hangar at the airport to encourage potential investors that are looking at the area.  He thanked the dedicated efforts of the Fire Department and praised Chief Walker, saying, “He has done a phenomenal job and is doing a lot of positive things at the Police Department.”  He praised the Parks and Recreation Department for their work with the Community Center and said it is “the shining star of the community.”  He also praised the strides made by the Human Resources Department in bringing Heber into compliance with state and federal law.  McPherson announced that the City of Heber Springs will retain its BBB+ credit rating with Standard & Poor’s and with Heber’s potential for growth, has an opportunity to improve its score.

In closing, the City Council meeting for March has been changed to March 14 and the one for April has been changed to April 11.