City & County

Chama Williams named new Arkadelphia city clerk

Chama Williams, left, is sworn in as Arkadelphia City Clerk by Clark County District Court Judge Randy Hill. | The Arkadelphian/Joel Phelps

Arkadelphia city directors named Chama Williams as city clerk


The appointment of Chama Williams as city clerk was confirmed Tuesday in a unanimous decision Tuesday during an Arkadelphia City Board of Directors meeting.

Williams replaces Samantha Roybal, who resigned from her post in recent weeks for a job with Hostess. Williams has worked for the city for more than 10 years in “numerous capacities,” City Manager Gary Brinkley said. Most recently her title had been payroll/accounts payable, a position in the city treasurer’s office.

Williams holds a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and is presently working to attain a masters degree in human resource generalist with Strayer University.

Following a motion and second from directors Taylor Chaney and Keith Crews to confirm Williams, she took her seat at the clerk’s table following a brief swearing in ceremony by Clark County District Judge Randy Hill.

Attendance up 8% at Arkadelphia pool

Stuart Tapson, director of the city’s Parks & Rec department, gave an end-of-season report of the Aquatic Park, saying attendance was up 8% compared to the 2022 season. 

Revenue-wise, Tapson reported $243,000 collected at the pool in 2023, also an 8% increase from the $214,000 collected the prior summer. Of those collections, swimming lessons offered at the park made up roughly $6,000.

One home rezoned, another sold to city after court-ordered mediation

Directors voiced unanimous approval of a third and final reading to rezone a property at 313 S. 10th St. from residential to commercial. Property owners Darren and Patricia Ayres aspire to open a diner at that location.

At 4 Hills Court, which is located off of South 23rd Street, a court-ordered mediation led to the city purchasing the property in a $75,000 settlement.

This flood-prone home at 4 Hills Court is now property of the City of Arkadelphia following a negotiation in court. | Google Maps

Homeowner Stanley Powell filed suit against the city earlier this year for flooding caused by actions of the city. While City Manager Gary Brinkley noted he was “confident we had a good chance to win on the merits of the case should it go to trial,” the court ordered mediation earlier this month. Powell initially wanted $110,000 for the home and damages caused by flooding, but negotiated to the final price. 

According to city documents, Powell no longer wanted to live in the home, and the city wanted to own and remove the home to “improve drainage in the neighborhood.”

Without question or comment, directors voted 6-0 to move forward with the purchase.

Directors ‘need more time’ for city manager performance review

City directors met in executive session for 53 minutes for the annual review of the city manager’s performance.

Upon reconvening in public, Mayor Scott Byrd said no action was required but noted the board will need another private session at its next meeting.

City manager’s report

• The first phase of a Feaster Trail rehabilitation project is complete. That span includes from Baptist Health Medical Center to North 26th Street.

• A restroom at Feaster Park is expected to be erected by the end of the year. The city received a certificate from the state Department of Health to move forward with constructing the $273,260 facility, which will be built between the baseball fields and the basketball courts and playground equipment.

• Motorists complaining of the traffic light at 12th and Pine taking too long to change need no longer be worried — the light has been repaired. Brinkley said the pedestrian crosswalk button was stuck in the on position, short-cycling the light.

• The Recreation Center will be closed for 5-7 days beginning Sept. 21 for maintenance on the gym floor.

• The city is working on drainage system issues at the end of 7th and Walnut streets; “several hours” have been spent, with several more to come, on resolving poor water flows in the area.

• Brinkley thanked Patterson Federal Credit Union for an upcoming appreciation breakfast for each city department.

• City officials continued meeting with water and sewer engineers regarding capital projects. Brinkley said the city is still on schedule to bid the line relocations on the Arkadelphia Bypass and Pine Street, with the issuance of bonds. The city will be replacing four clear water well systems rather than the two officials were hoping for, Brinkley reported.

Directors say:

Ward 1 Director Taylor Chaney asked Brinkley for a timeline on water and sewer works on the east side of town. Brinkley said that remains to be a capital project but had no timeline.

Ward 2 Director Chris Porter noted a resident living south of Atwood’s has had an issue with a creek that is prone to flooding.

Ward 3 Director Keith Crews noted a “potential bridge catastrophe” at 15th Street crossing Mill Creek, where he said there is a plywood retaining wall at one end of the bridge that could be swept away in the next flood. Crews also took issue with Brinkley’s apparent desire to refer to an extension of the city’s 1-cent Move Arkadelphia Forward tax as a “new tax” rather than an extension of an existing one. Crews said he is also opposed to sending the matter to voters without three separate readings.

Ward 5 Director Jason Jones congratulated LSU for its recent victory over the Razorbacks.

Assistant Mayor Roland Gosey congratulated Williams for her next endeavor as city clerk.

Mayor Scott Byrd said he was recently intrigued in learning about introductory aviation courses offered by Henderson State University at Dexter Florence Memorial Field.