A measure restricting smoking on City of Alma property was approved by Alma City Council members Thursday night.
Alma aldermen passed a measure prohibiting smoking in city owned, leased and/or operated vehicles, and on city owned, leased and/or operated properties - including parking lots, parks, buildings and offices - where posted.
Anyone found in violation of the law is subject to a fine of no less than $150 and no more than $1,000.
While the ordinance states its purpose is to “protect public and employee health, safety and welfare,” Mayor Keith Greene supported the measure because it will help the city with future park grant applications, he said.
“It’s not something you have to do - but if you choose to do, it’s worth some points in your grant application,” Greene said.
When applying for an Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism grant, having certain measures in place can be worth “points” that encourage the approval of grant applications, Greene said.
Alma officials have been discussing the smoking ban for months, with some aldermen finding previous versions of the ordinance “over reaching.”
Alderman John Ware took issue with a previous version that stated that smoking would be banned on all city property, rather than designated areas.
For Ware, this could mean all city streets, sidewalks - any location owned, overseen or operated by the city.
Ware is happy with the current version, he said.
“The thought there is we’re going to post on playgrounds, where children are - designated places where we don’t want smoking, rather than saying we don’t want smoking anywhere,” Ware said.
All five aldermen present voted to approve the measure; Alderman Vicki Lamproe was absent. The measure will go into effect in 30 days.
Also during the Thursday night meeting, a measure was passed prohibiting residential burning of waste material with the exception of yard waste.
Open burning of yard waste must be more than 150 feet away from any neighboring structure, unless granted a special permit by the city. Yard waste must be burned during daylight hours.
Limited contained burning such as with a fire pit or grill for cooking or recreation is allowed if conducted safely and without nuisance to neighbors.
All allowed burning must be conducted safely with materials capable of extinguishing a fire on hand and be overseen by an adult.
Anyone caught violating the burn ordinance is subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500. The measure went into effect immediately.
Aldermen also repealed sections of three ordinances that were no longer current or in effect after their passage last month of the city’s floodplain damage prevention program.