Tensions were high between city of Bauxite officials and a mixed group of Sardis and Bauxite residents Monday during a discussion of a proposed development that a developer wishes to have annexed into Bauxite and use Bauxite sewer service.
The regular meeting of the Bauxite City Council ended abruptly during the public comment portion when Bauxite Mayor Eddie Jones became upset by the group's unofficial representative Ben Malone's questioning.
Before the public comment section of the meeting began, Jones told the crowd each person would be given three minutes to address the council because so many people were in attendance. He said he wanted everyone who wanted to speak to get the chance.
Malone who identified himself as living off of Styles was the first to speak.
He first wanted to know what Bauxite's remaining sewer capacity is.
Jones answered the city has 125,000 gallons a day sewer capacity, and it currently runs 38,000 each day.
Malone asked about the pre-annexation agreement with the developers of Parkway Trails, which states the development will be entitled to 80 percent of that remaining capacity.
Jones said that agreement is based on the city engineer's recommendation. If at any given time if the city reached beyond that capacity the city will add on the three bays to the west of the plant, Jones said.
Malone asked if there was financial plan in place for that. Jones answered that because the development is not scheduled to be completed for 5 or 10 years, the city will address this when the development connects to the city sewer. He said it would be a year before the development begins to get on the sewer and that the development would not come on all at once.
It is scheduled to be constructed in phases.
Malone asked about other subdivisions, specifically another one that is currently being built. Jones said that other the development will only have 16 houses, so it will not affect the sewer plant. Malone said he believed it was 48 more houses. Jones said he did not know where Malone got that information because it is only 16.
Malone moved on to asking about when the sewer goes down West Sardis Road, when will the people along that road have access to it.
Jones said the city does not and will not own that sewer line. It will be privately owned by the developer. Jones explained the developer will be paying 100 percent of the cost of that sewer line.
Malone questioned if the city will be taking it over in one year. Jones said "no." Malone said in the pre-annexation agreement it says in one year.
In response, Jones encouraged him to read the agreement again because it does not say the city will take responsibility for the line. He explained it says the city will maintain it and bill the builder for anything the city does on it.
Alderman John Goodman told Malone if there is an emergency the city will take care of it and then be reimbursed by the developer.
When Malone's time was up, a member of the group gave Malone his three minutes.
Malone claimed in during the October meeting, the council discussed the sewer line would be taken over by the city for maintaining and that this information was reflected in the meeting minutes. He further questioned the council about residents of Alexander and West Sardis Road who were annexed into the city in 2007. He asked when will resident receive Bauxite sewer service.
Jones told Malone he believed he was misreading the agreement. He said City Attorney Chris Madison was not in attendance, but he developed the agreement. He said maybe it was misinterpreted in the minutes, but the city has to go by the pre-annexation agreement.
In the October meeting minutes where were available for the public at the meeting, there is no mention of the annexation or pre-annexation agreement.
Jones said that the pre-annexation agreement states the city will not own that sewer line. He went on to explain again that the developer will maintain it for a year and then the city will maintain it, but the developer will pay for any repairs. He said the city will not own it.
Malone then asked if the development will be an improvement district and if the district had been approved.
Jones' response to both questions was "yes."
Malone also wanted to know why a plan had not been submitted to GIS, the state mapping system.
Jones directed Malone to talk to the engineer for the project adding that he does not know what the developer is doing. He told Malone the improvement district has nothing to do with the city and that the city is not in charge of the district.
Malone wanted to know when the district was approved, but Jones was unsure.
Jones told the audience the city has not annexed any property, and it will not be annexed into the city until the development reaches a percentage of what the developer said they would do in the pre-annexation agreement. Jones did not know the percentage because he did not have a copy of the agreement in front of him.
Malone questioned how long the city would be in the pre-annexation agreement. Jones reiterated pre-annexation would start when there is a percentage of homes put in. He said again he did not know the percentage.
After another person gave Malone three more minutes at the end of the time, Jones joked that Malone must be the spokesperson.
Malone asked where does the city of Bauxite actually boundaries Parkway Trails. Jones said he understood that the development touches the city boundary and if it doesn't, that will be addressed later on. He added if the two don't touch, that doesn't prohibit the development from having city sewer. He said the sewer can be adding outside of city limits even if the property isn't annexed.
While Malone claimed the development was located a mile outside of the city, Jones told him he seemed to know more about it than him.
Malone asked Jones if he is the mayor. In response, Jones told him yes, but he is not the developer.
Malone continued to press Jones for details about the project, which Jones said it was not his job to know and said he wanted the meeting to be adjourned.
Malone and others of the group demanded Jones answer questions. Jones said the council could answer questions but he was leaving.
A member of the audience said he made a motion for Jones to step down as mayor, to which Jones responded he was not in the city limits.
The council voted to adjourn.
Malone demanded a phone call from the city attorney that night as he walked away.
The business conducted during the meeting will be in a future issue of the Saline Courier.
All city meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.