Friday, June 02, 2006

TOP STORY>> Aldermen vote against Sherwood getting land

Leader staff writer

ON SHORT: Jacksonville adopts resolution opposing property annexation to Sherwood and receives $25,000 in scholarship funds from Waste Management.

The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously Thursday to oppose proposed annexation of unincorporated land east of Bayou Meto, which serves as a “natural boundary” between the cities of Jacksonville and Sherwood, and as far north as one mile behind Little Rock Air Force Base.

Resolution 594, opposing annexation of “certain real property” into Sherwood, maintains Jacksonville’s planning jurisdiction over the proposed boundaries, including master plans by water and wastewater utilities to extend obligatory services within them.

The resolution cites unnamed land-owners who have filed petitions at the Pulaski County Courthouse and deems their proposed annexation as “neither productive nor beneficial.” Sherwood has not sought to annex the land.

Citing a 20-year study by Jacksonville water and wastewater officials, council members agreed that the city could provide water and sewer service to the tracts of land with the water plant currently in operation, and that Sherwood would face difficulty providing water and sewer services because of a large land ridge within and outside proposed annexation boundaries.

Jacksonville and Sherwood city engineers were not available for comment as of press time Friday regarding landowner identity, proposed square mileage or what determining factors are influencing landowners’ preference to incorporate into Sherwood instead of Jacksonville.

The matter, however, will ultimately be decided Tuesday, June 20, before a judge in Pulaski County Quorum Court chambers at a hearing scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim, City Clerk Susan Davitt and other city representatives will be called upon at the hearing to voice the city’s opposition to the potential annexation.

In other business, George Wheatley presented a check to Alderman Robert Stroud awarding the city scholarship funds totaling $25,000 for the eighth consecutive year on behalf of Waste Management.

“As long as I’m with Waste Management, you can count on that $25,000 every year,” Wheatley said.

Absent at roll call were Gary Fletcher and Robert Lewis.

A Reed’s Bridge Battlefield study presentation on the agenda was canceled because of equipment unavailability and will be rescheduled for a future council meeting.

Swaim encouraged those in attendance to view an AETN program scheduled Sunday evening on PBS that will feature a history of the Jacksonville Ordnance Plant.

Following the opening prayer, father-son trio Raymond, Neal and Danny Graham, of Boy Scouts of America Troop 355, led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.