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Redfield lawsuit settled


REDFIELD — The plaintiff in a 2000 civil suit against the City of Redfield has agreed to settle for $22,500, according to Mayor Tony Lawhon.

The Redfield City Council voted Oct. 2 to offer Fred Mosby $22,500 to settle the discrimination suit, initially filed in 2000 in U.S. District Court, then later transferred to Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Mike Mosley, an attorney with the Arkansas Municipal League, said the subdivision developer’s attorney proposed a settlement offer that would include the city paying to extend both municipal water and sewer lines to the subdivision east of the city off River Road.

Mosby contended the city refused to extend water and sewer services to his development because he is black. The city answered that the municipality has extended the services to whites and other races, including blacks, who paid for the extensions.

The city’s failure to extend the services resulted in Mosby sustaining financial costs by developing larger lots that would meet septic tank requirements, the suit maintained.

The case was scheduled for trial Oct. 30-31 at Pine Bluff, Mosley said.

Mosley recommended the city consider a settlement offer in the $20,000 to $25,000 range, but not agree to pay for extending water and sewer services. “There is a risk in any case taken before a jury,” the attorney told the council.

City Attorney Margaret Dobson agreed with Mosley’s assessment.

While several aldermen discussed offering a $20,000 settlement, Alderman Brenda Carmical suggested a $25,000 might be more acceptable.

The $22,500 figure was the compromise offer, with the understanding that Mosby would be responsible for extending the services to his development.

In other business before aldermen last week:

■ Wayne Rathbun told the council that Waste Management would increase the monthly residential and commercial solid waste collection fee, effective Oct. 1.

Under the terms of the city’s contract with Waste Management, Rathbun said, the company can increase rates when the Consumer Price Index rises. He noted the firm did not seek a rate hike in 2011, despite dramatic increases in fuel costs during the past 18 months.

The monthly residential rate will increase from $13.25 to $13.48. Charges for the monthly fee is added to municipal water and sewer statements.

■ Police Chief Steve McFatridge encouraged aldermen to consider new offices for the Redfield Police Department, noting the growth of mold inside the structure because of leaks.

He encouraged residents to report any potential violations to the department’s officers. “If you watch out for your neighbors, it will be a big help,” he added.

■ Fire Chief Dennis McFatridge said a new rescue unit has been ordered to replace the volunteer fire department’s 1988 model unit, adding the cost will range from $170,000 to $175,000, depending on the equipment and modifications requested.

Aldermen agreed to declare the older unit and surplus, which would allow it to be sold or traded in on the new vehicle.

■ Aldermen approved a routine resolution requesting the Jefferson County Quorum Court adopt a five mill General Fund tax on real and personal property for 2012.

■ A proposed ordinance that would require the council members, mayor and city attorney is provided copies of all proposed resolutions and ordinances no later than the Friday before each month’s council meeting was placed on second reading.

The rules of procedure were suspended and the council placed the proposal on third and final reading, and aldermen adopted the measure.

■ A proposed ordinance regulating uses and activities in the city’s parks was placed on second reading. If it follows normal course, it will be up for third and final reading and approval or rejection Nov. 6.

■ Carmical withdrew her proposal to rescind a 3 percent water rate hike after Lawhon said council action could interfere with current plans.