Rogers City Council to consider new ward boundaries in special meeting on Monday

Flowers bloom Friday, May 1, 2020, at the entrance to Rogers City Hall.
(File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)
Flowers bloom Friday, May 1, 2020, at the entrance to Rogers City Hall. (File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

ROGERS -- The City Council will consider new ward boundary lines in a special meeting at 4 p.m. Monday at City Hall, council members decided at their meeting Tuesday.

Two council members come from each of the city's four wards. Council members run in citywide elections, but the ward system ensures different portions of the city have representation on the eight-member governing body. The city redraws ward maps after each U.S. census to divvy up the city population equally.

Proposed maps of new wards drawn up by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission should be up on the city's website today, city officials said. The commission is governed by representatives of Benton and Washington counties and from each of the cities in those counties.

The council is not bound by the map drawn up by the regional commission, Mayor Greg Hines told the audience at Tuesday's meeting.

"Options are endless and open," he said.

Rogers' population reached 69,908 on April 1, 2020, according to the census. The federal government conducts the census every 10 years. The city's population in the 2010 census was 55,964, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.

Ward 4, Position 1 council member Barney Hayes made the motion Tuesday to hold the special meeting on Monday. The motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the council also declared a vacancy, a legal step required before choosing a replacement for Ward 1, Position 2 member Mark Kruger. Kruger, the city's longest-serving council member, died May 1 at age 75. He first joined the council in 1989.

The council will choose how to replace Kruger at its next regular meeting May 23. Under state law, the council can either appoint a new member by majority vote or set a special election. The replacement will serve out the remainder of Kruger's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2024. Whoever replaces Kruger will remain eligible to run for the seat in the 2024 election. The vacancy declaration carried unanimously.

The council also unanimously accepted a $400,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for new air traffic control equipment at the Rogers Executive Airport. AJT Engineering of Cocoa, Fla., will oversee installation of the equipment.

In another grant to the city, the council agreed to accept a $47,502 grant from the Arkansas Highway Safety Office to cover 90% of the cost of replacing mobile printers used by city police to issue tickets. The new printers are expected to save the city $20,000 a year of costs for the software and system administration, according to figures given at Tuesday's meeting. The printers' supplier is TurnKey Mobile of Jefferson City, Mo.

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