Jay officials expanded the city's industrial park footprint, as the council voted unanimously to add a 40-plus acre tract to the city's offerings.

The land, located north of downtown Jay on Highway 59, first came before the council in June.

At that time, the council voted unanimously to enter into a 180 day contract with CGSH: Chad Garrison, Chris Willcox and Stephen Hacker, to begin the process of purchasing the property.

Located behind Precision Dental, the space would allow city and chamber officials to expand the possible locations for businesses looking to relocate to the Jay area.

Until the final decision approving the purchase, the city's existing industrial park only had two acres remaining as undeveloped land.

In June, the contract signed called for city officials to place $5,000 kn a trust account, and required CGSH to give first right of purchase to the council.

At that time, Jay Mayor Les Newkirk said city officials were working to secure funding for the project - the $175,000 purchase price - through sources with Grand Gateway.

Encouragement from the chamber

Both Becki Farley and Johnny Earp, representing the Jay Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the land purchase. 

Earp said growth in both the Grove area and northwest Arkansas is spreading into Delaware County. 

"This [purchase] will strengthen the community tremendously," Earp said. "If we don't get this land, we'll be shut down [for opportunities]."

Farley agreed.

"We've got to have the land, or we're not going to have [businesses]," Farley said. "People need jobs. I don't think we have a choice.

"We've got to have facilities here."

Councilman Kyle Stump, who spoke in favor of the purchase back in June, made the motion for city officials to purchase the land for the Jay Industrial Authority. it was approved unanimously. 

After the meeting, Newkirk said the funds would come from savings the city has accumulated by putting extra monies back each month.

Newkirk said City Treasurer Kay Pickup developed the system, in order to give the city funds to make a purchase like this.

Approximately $150,00 will come from CD's and savings accumulated by the city, and the remaining $25,000 will come from the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.

"This will attract more industry," Newkirk said of the purchase. "This land has the ability to have the infrastructure needed - with the ability to have access to gas, water and waste water."

In other business, the council:

• approved naming City Clerk Camrine Thompson to serve as the negotiating agent to enter into an agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to financialize city employees' health insurance. Newkirk said the move was necessary because the city's existing plan was being discontinued.

Council members tasked Thompson with going with the renewal policy which would give employees a $500 deductible - the lowest rate possible for the city.

• voted to move council meetings to 5:30 p.m., on the first Monday of each month, in 2018. Currently meetings are set for 5 p.m. on the first Monday. 

Speaking in favor of the move, Councilman Danny Short said he hoped the time change would make it "more convenient to the public," and allow more people to attend.

• approved discontinuing the planning and zoning board, and instead going solely with a board of adjustments.

Newkirk said the board of adjustments could act as a planning and zoning board, and it would allow the city to only need to find the five people needed to staff it.

Each council member was tasked with identifying a nomination for the board of adjustments, before the December meeting. Those on the board must live within the city limits, and cannot be related to a council member.

• approved hiring Edward Wheeler as a new water plant employee at a cost of $18,600 to the city.