The Van Buren City Council passed an ordinance during its Monday night meeting that would eliminate its requirement to post ordinances in the local newspaper, The Press Argus-Courier, while establishing five public locations throughout the city where those ordinances will now be made public.
The ordinance establishing an ordinance posting location was read once in its entirety before the council voted to suspend the rules and read it two more times by title only. It was approved by unanimous vote, as was an attached emergency clause that stated, “It is further found that due to the immediate need for proper notification of the adoption of ordinances, an emergency is declared to exist and this ordinance being necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, and welfare, it shall take effect from and after its passage and approval.”
The ordinance stated that since no newspaper is published in the city of Van Buren that it is appropriate pursuant to Arkansas municipal government statue 14-55-206, which states “bylaws or ordinances of a general permanent nature and all those imposing any fine, penalty, or forfeiture” can be posted in “five of the most public places designated by the governing body” in a “municipality in which no newspaper is published, written or printed.”
There were no questions or comments from the council on the ordinance before its final passage. After Hurst explained that the issue was something Thomas “had found recently,” Thomas explained, “A lot of the city clerks have a similar ordinance in their cities. If there is no newspaper that’s physically published in your city you’re not required to publish (notices) in a newspaper that’s published outside the city. You can post it in public places and it saves quite a bit of money for the city.”
The ordinance was signed by Mayor Joe Hurst and City Clerk/Treasurer Phyllis Thomas. City Attorney Candice Settle was expected to add her signature on Friday.
The ordinance designates the following locations in the city will serve as posting locations: the Van Buren Municipal Complex, the Van Buren Public Library, the Van Buren Municipal Annex, the Van Buren Police Department and the Van Buren Senior Center.
For more on this developing story see Saturday's Press Argus-Courier or visit pressargus.com.