EVIDENCE: Searcy City Council knew of legal perils

The following is an email from a local law firm to two Searcy Alderman, Mary Ann Arnett and Mike Chalenburg, warning them of the perils of appointing A&P Commissioners who do not live in Searcy:

From: Don Raney [mailto:d_raney@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 10:34 AM
To: Mary Ann Arnett (Ext); Mike Chalenburg (Ext); sowellsfurniture@earthlink.net
Cc: Belinda Laforce; Buck Gibson; s_streit@sbcglobal.net
Subject: A&P Commissioner Question

Dear Mary Ann and Mike,

Susannah forwarded to me the exchange of your emails last week dealing with the A&P ordinance and the question concerning whether or not any of the A&P commissioners can reside outside the city limits. Mike, we think you do a good job of reading and interpreting the material and further believe your closing statement that the city council’s action to adopt the A&P Ordinance No. 2009-10 was legal but might violate the Arkansas Constitution is right on point.

After spending some time with the ordinance, the applicable A&P tax and commission law and the AG’s opinions we do have a concern with the constitutionality of appointing commissioners to a city commission who do not live within the city limits.
We want emphasis that this review as with any review of a legal question might not be the correct answer and is certainly subject to a court saying something different. However, based on our review and research there is attached a letter opinion from our law firm which recommends an amendment to the A&P ordinance as it deals with who can be appointed to serve on the A&P Commission.

We also want to emphasis the reliance of and use of AG’s opinions as noted in our letter opinion.

This email is being sent to Mayor Belinda LaForce and City Attorney Buck Gibson so they are aware of this legal opinion expressed by our firm. The Lightle Law Firm is not the attorney for the City of Searcy and we do not intend by our opinion to tell the city attorney or mayor what to do with this situation. We simply hope this might help in all of the activity which has arisen dealing with the A&P tax and commission.

Donald P. Raney
Attorney at Law
Lightle & Raney, LLP
211 West Arch
Searcy, AR  72143
Telephone 501-268-4111
Direct Fax  501-279-7733

Email   d_raney@sbcglobal.net

Read the full legal opinion by clicking here.

All emails contained herein were obtained legally through the Freedom of Information Act.



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