An amendment requiring that all business applications be approved by aldermen was introduced Tuesday night at Ridgecrest Town Council’s regular meeting.
The introduction met adamant opposition by attendees and Mayor Veller Ray Carroll promised to veto it next month if pushed through.
The amendment to Ordinance 54 which pertains to occupational licenses is designed to bring aldermen into the business approval process. Currently, Carroll is solely pegged to consider the applications.
Another aspect of the amendment is that it would require all business owners to renew their occupational licenses annually.
Jimmy Wilkinson, local business owner, voiced opposition to this part of the amendment.
“So, I am going to tie up $500,000 or $600,000 a year in your town, and I am going to rely on this board to approve this (occupational) license,” Wilkinson said. “If it was a new license for a new business I would understand. You have the power to remove or revoke a license at any time. I think (a business) will come across discrimination.”
The introduction was passed with a motion by Councilman Rita Boyler and a second by Darlene Humphries. Deborah Barrett voted against the introduction.
“To me, I feel like we are getting into the company’s business,” Barrett said.
After hearing Wilkinson, Carroll switched stances.
“We have already voted on (the introduction) but when it comes back before the board, I will veto it,” Carroll said. “I agree with Mr. Wilkinson.”
Meanwhile, an amendment was introduced limiting each town household in Ridgecrest to five dogs. This also was met with backlash from attendees.
If passed, the move would amend Ordinance No. 2 pertaining to dogs.
According to the amendment, all violators of the ordinance would be punished by a fine of “not less than $10 or more than $200, and/or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.”
If a dog owner has a litter of puppies resulting in more than five dogs, the owner would have until the puppies are 16 weeks to “once again adhere to the limited five dogs per ordinance.”
The initial ordinance amendment was done improperly due to the fact it was introduced and approved in the same meeting and not advertised in Ridgecrest’s official journal, the Concordia Sentinel.
“How are we going to go around knocking on doors counting dogs,” Carroll said. “I’m not going to get shot over a dog. I think there should be a grandfather clause (in this amendment). I think we need to put an addition on it that says what you got now; you can have them.”
In other business, aldermen introduced an amendment giving each alderperson “their regular salary plus $25 for each additional meeting held and attended within the month.”
The motion passed unanimously.
In another matter, aldermen discussed allowing mobile homes within Ridgecrest’s corporate limits to fill vacate lots. If approved in a future meeting, aldermen agreed homes should have tight stipulations regarding appearances.
“We have 10 or 12 lots that could be sold,” Carroll said. “I’m trying to bring revenue to Ridgecrest and clean it up.”
Additionally, Ridgecrest and Ferriday officials are working on finalizing a water purchasing contract.
“I’ve been working with Ferriday and Sen. (Glen) Womack on our water,” Carroll said. “I feel like we have reached an agreement but have not signed a contract. This will be to our benefit, and Ridgecrest will come out good.”