Helena councilmen square off

Helena city councilman Mathew Pope addressed his concern over previous conduct of the council at Helena’s regular Feb. 3 meeting.

Reading from a letter addressed to Mayor Charles &uot;Sonny&uot; Penhale and the Helena City Council members, Pope commented on remarks made toward Councilmember Paul DeCarlo, following the Jan. 21 meeting.

Pope stated that &uot;a number of inappropriate remarks were directed toward Councilman DeCarlo, including the use of profanity.&uot;

The Jan. 21 meeting featured a number of &uot;lively discussions&uot; in the council’s debate over a resolution to borrow money for a parks and recreation project on Ruffin Road.

At that meeting, Councilmember Paul DeCarlo objected to immediate consideration of the resolution, at which point a five-minute intermission was called to consult the opinion of city attorney Butch Ellis.

After a total of more than 30 minutes of discussion, the council voted 5-0 to pass the resolution to borrow $246,000 to complete the new Helena Sports Complex. DeCarlo abstained from voting.

Following the vote and the council’s recess, councilmember Lonny Bearden confronted DeCarlo.

Bearden could not be reached for comment and was absent from the council’s Feb. 3 meeting where Pope asked that &uot;In the future, we all try to respect each other’s opinions and avoid this type of situation.

&uot;No matter what our personal feelings are regarding one another, we should never use abusive language, especially in a public venue,&uot; Pope read.

&uot;I understand that in the ‘heat of battle,’ tempers may flare and emotions run high. However, as public servants we have a responsibility to keep our comments above the fray, and we should conduct ourselves in a matter befitting the residents of the city of Helena.&uot;

In other business the council:

Granted a home occupation license to Michael Wood at 821 Stoneridge Drive.

Passed a commercial site plan for Helena Office Park on Highway 52 East adjacent to Maplewood Lane. The plan had prior recommendation and stipulation from the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission. The applicant was Roger Wilkins.

Rezoned property from R-1 Single Family Residential District to R-4 Townhouse District. The property had prior recommendation from the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission. The applicant was Brett Winford.

Granted Preliminary Plat Approval for Habshey Acres on Highway 52 West to be divided into a three-lot subdivision. The applicant was Grainger Auctioneers.

Approved a liquor license for retail beer and retail table wine for Golden Rule Bar-B-Q on Highway 52 West. The applicant was Paul Curcio, Auddies, Inc.

Accepted a bid from Sweetwater Construction for field development at the Helena Sports Complex. The council accepted the low bid of $238,000 for developing the parks’ four fields.

Passed a resolution supporting the Shelby County Board of Education’s proposal for a 9-mill ad valorem tax increase.

The increase is part of the board’s Five Year Capital Plan