Council appoints Paige Chase to city council position

The Monticello City Council appointed Paige Chase, wife of the Dr. Tim Chase, to fulfill her husband’s council seat until the end of his existing term, which ends Dec. 31, 2016.

Mayor  Zack Tucker did not anticipate the council making the appointment less than two weeks after Chase’s death. He said the law states that the council should make the appointment during the first regular council meeting, but he called the Municipal League and they said there was no rush on making the appointment.

However, Aldermen Joe Meeks and Cedric Leonard both felt like the appointment should be made.

Leonard made a motion to amend the resolution to declare a vacancy on the council, and appoint Pat Mitchell, who opposed Chase in the Democratic primary in March. The resolution had to be amended because it stated the appointment would be made at the May council meeting.

However, Meeks said he felt like Paige Chase should fulfill her husband’s term in office.

“I feel like we should honor the Chase family and Dr. Chase’s years of service by appointing Paige to finish the term,” Meeks said.

Alderman Claudia Hartness said she wanted to go into executive session so that the council could talk about who they should nominate for the position.

However, City Attorney Whitt Barton said that since a council member is not a city employee, he advised the council against going into executive season to discuss the matter.

When pressured who she’d like to see fill the empty seat, Hartness said she also felt Paige fulfill her late husband’s term in office as an honor to Chase and his time in office.

With their being two nominations for one council seat, the council first voted on whether Mitchell should be appointed. Leonard, Al Pier, and Raymond Hubbard all voted yes while Meeks, Hartness, Carolyn Brown and Beverly Hudson voted no for the appointment. The motion did not pass.

With the motion defeated, the council took a vote on Paige’s appointment to city council. Because of the way the motion was made, the council had to vote to amend the amendment proposed by Leonard in order to replace Mitchell’s name with Paige’s name on documents. In the vote finalizing Paige’s appointment to fulfill her husband’s term in office,  Meeks, Hudson, Hubbard, Brown, and Hartness voted yes while Leonard and Pier opposed the measure. Paige will begin serving as alderman in May.

In other business, the council approved a resolution supporting a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to encourage job creation, job expansion, and economic development. Tucker said the amendment will empower local communities to participate in economic development by providing clear, consistent definitions in the Arkansas Constitution for “economic development projects,” “economic development services, and “infrastructure.”  The amendment will clarify language in Amendment 62 of the constitution to allow local municipalities, counties and school districts to enter into compact agreements to enhance economic development.

The council also voted to declare 203 West Jefferson and 436 West McCloy Ave., both in the city, as nuisance, ordering the abatement by the city and imposition of a lien for expenses incurred by the city and for other purposes.

City inspector Brian Rodgers said both property owners are working to get their properties in compliance. He asked for the resolutions as he continues to monitor their progress.

Hudson asked Rodgers about the old gas station beside Ray’s, calling it unsightly.  

Rodgers said while the station isn’t pleasant to look at, it is in compliance of the city ordinance and there is nothing he can do about it.

Tucker interjected by saying if the council would like a stricter ordinance on property, they could took at doing in the coming council meetings.

Hudson said she’d like to look at the ordinance.

The council also recognized the UAM debate team for winning the national competition in Texas and the Monticello High School gymnastics team for winning the state championship for the second year.

The Advance-Monticellonian

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