City Council members decided unanimously at Tuesday night’s meeting to continue the no-bid contract for $102,225 with the Northwest Arkansas Times to print public notices.
By law, the city is obligated to print notices, including bond issues, city ordinances and bid advertisements, with a paper that is published in the city.
Jim Blankenship, director of sales and marketing for the Northwest Arkansas Times, said that because his paper is more widely circulated and “can get the message out to the most people” the city should continue the contract.
Alderman Bobby Ferrell, who represents Ward 3, proposed that the council open the bidding process to The Morning News in an attempt to save the city money, he said. However, after a brief discussion between aldermen, Ferrell dropped the issue, and the council voted for approval of the contract.
Aldermen also unanimously passed a resolution that would allow city water officials to cut off service for overdue bills on all of the customer’s accounts, not just service for the account with the outstanding bill.
According to the ordinance, if a landlord falls behind in paying bills for an apartment complex, the city now has the authority to cut off the water for the landlord’s personal account, even if the personal account water bill is not overdue.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan proposed the changes after a situation in which a landlord did not pay a bill for a property.
“It’s not the fault of the renters,” Jordan said. “It’s the fault of the landlord.”