Malvern council approves resolution involving federal funding

Malvern Mayor Brenda J. Weldon leads the pledge of allegiance with the city department heads and council members before beginning their virtual council meeting Monday in the boardroom at the Malvern Water Works building.
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

The Malvern City Council, during its monthly council meeting Monday, approved one item of new business. The council agreed to adopt a resolution declaring the city of Malvern essential.
The resolution is needed to receive federal emergency support.
The resolution was introduced by the council and read by City Attorney Cecilia Ashcraft.
She noted that "America's cities, towns and villages face unprecedented threats due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency; and municipalities are essential to America's economic recovery and without funding support for local governments, municipalities may go from being a critical part of the economic solution, to becoming a major obstacle to long-term stabilization and recovery."
It is noted in the resolution that America's cities, towns and villages will experience "budgetary shortfalls in fiscal year 2020 alone, and the negative effects of the pandemic emergency on local communities will continue long after this year."
According to the resolution, three million critical municipal worker jobs are at risk, threatening cuts to basic community services, including 911 response, sanitation, and maintenance; and communities have taken extraordinary measures to protect health, safety, and the continuation of essential services throughout the emergency.
"Malvern, Arkansas has continued to provide emergency and everyday services to the community throughout the crisis even after suffering a massive and destructive storm. City employees have continued to work and keep city hall open, and to assist with storm damage cleanup of debris. Fire and police departments have continued to provide emergency services without proper PPE. The city owned utility has continued to provide clean potable water and sanitary sewer services to its customers. Whereas, America's rural communities and small towns are struggling just as much as big cities and risk being left behind or wiped out entirely," according to the resolution.
In the resolution, city leaders asked for Congress to "allocate fair and direct federal support to all of America's communities, regardless of population size" noting that "this funding must be flexible and address not only the additional expenses incurred by communities to respond to the pandemic emergency, but also the dramatic budgetary shortfalls resulting from pauses in commerce, tourism, other economic engines."
Federal funds will be immediately used to rebuild and reopen the national economy; and keep middle class workers employed and critical services operating, according to the resolution.
Following safety guidelines and protocol procedures enforced by Gov. Asa Hutchinson of social distancing to prevent of the coronavirus, Monday's meeting was live streamed on Youtube with council members able to communicate with Malvern Mayor Brenda J. Weldon, City Treasurer/Clerk Phyllis Dial, Ashcraft and all city department heads from the Malvern Water Works building in the boardroom.
Weldon called the meeting to order, gave the invocation and led the pledge of allegiance. Following roll call for the council, the council approved the minutes of the previous meeting and accepted all departmental reports.
Weldon concluded the meeting by informing the council that the city's temporary curfew was lifted effective on Monday. The curfew was put in place due to threats of vandalism to businesses and possible other areas in the city of Malvern. She also informed the council wasn't able to receive the
grant to purchase plexiglass and other safety enhancements, but these items will still be put in place in the city offices.
Weldon informed the council she attended Friday's protest, "Stand for George Floyd Kneel for Justice and Equality" held at the Hot Spring County Courthouse. She said the protest was very peaceful and she has received information that a march is being organized and scheduled for a later date in the city of Malvern.
Weldon continued to encourage everyone to follow Hutchinson's guidelines, wear masks and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Malvern City Council will have its next scheduled agenda meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 6.
The Malvern City Council meets every first and second Monday of each month.