Van Buren Leaders To Study City Finances In Tuesday Session




The Van BurenCity Council will convene twice today, once in a study session to discuss and review the city’s financial policies and procedures.

Mayor Bob Freeman called for the special session after a request from some new council members who wanted to become more familiar with city finances.

Freeman mentioned that as the City Council has three new council members, it was important to inform them of the ins-and-outs of the city’s budget and financial process.

“If you don’t deal with it all the time it on a daily basis, it can get confusing, so this is just a matter of helping them feel more comfortable,” Freeman said.

Ward 3, Position 2 Alderman Alan Swaim was among the new members of the council who requested the study session.

“When we get our packets with our financial statements each month, sometimes the figures are kind of mind boggling, so if we could have a figure we are looking for it would make it easier for us,” Swaim said. “It’s new to three of us and we need to be schooled on what to look for and the best way to read the figures.”

Also new to the council are Ward 1, Position 2 Alderman Jim Petty and Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman Darral Sparkman.

Swaim said Freeman has a “tremendous financial background” and that with his help and guidance, all aldermen would benefit from the session.

“We as a council need to be as educated as possible, so this should be beneficial to all of us,” he said.

Freeman and City Clerk Barbie Curtis will lead the informal financial study session that will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal complex at 1003 Broadway.

During the regular session that will follow the study session at 7 p.m., city leaders are expected to consider an engineering contract with Van Buren-based Hawkins-Weir Engineers to provide engineering services for the development of plans, designs, cost estimates and supervision for various street improvement projects. The contract shall not exceed $74,000, according to meeting documents.

In November, the council accepted a $72,498 bid from DCS Radio Communications for the purchase of new radio equipment, furniture and a tower for the dispatch center at the new $3.6 million Van Buren Police Department. The city no longer needs an existing radio tower at the old police station and will consider the transfer of the equipment to Crawford County Emergency Management, whose facility is designated as an alternate facility for city operations in case of disaster.

Also Tuesday, the Council will hear a presentation from representatives of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project as well as panel of the project’s opponents.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line project is slated to deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast.





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