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Hope City Board Meets Tuesday Night

By Staff, 04/5/17 3:22 PM

HOPE – The Hope City Board of Directors met Tuesday night, April 4th, for their regular meeting.

After approving the minutes from the previous meeting, Mayor Steve Montgomery praised the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce for their annual banquet Monday night. He also congratulated Karen Ivers, 2017 Educator of the Year and Jay Polland, 2017 Citizen of the Year.

Mayor Montgomery then proclaimed April to be National Safe Digging Month in the City. The Call-Before-You-Dig-Number 811 provides potential excavators and homeowners a simple number, 811, to reach their One Call Center to request utility line locations at the intended dig site.

Next up was the was the review of unaudited 2016 City financial statements. City Manager Catherine Cook noted in advance of the review that the City has changed software since the previous year.

The Board reviewed the statements, questioning some line items and having those questions answered by Ms. Cook or Finance Director Debra Hall.

The Proposed 2017 Street Program was discussed next, and was approved.

Ms. Cook next spoke on the need for an outside firm to look at Hope’s redistricting needs. She stated that it would require roughly $1700 to $2000 for this to be accomplished. The Board approved her request to get three bids for this work and submit them for review.

The large flower bed at 3rd and Walnut Streets was next for discussion. Ms. Cook had contacted Freeman Landscape in Texarkana for a plan to redevelop it, making it more welcoming to Hope and low-maintenance at the same time. She requested permission to continue work with them and local groups to dismantle the current flowerbed, increase the budget for this from $5000 to $10,000 and to develop a “Welcome To Hope” sign. After discussion, the budget for this was increased to $14,000 and all her requests were approved.

The Board heard about a bid from TEC for $37,500 to remove the old Dox building. Ms. Cook stated that if landfill fees were waived, possibly $2500 on that amount could be saved. There was discussion about the legal ramifications against the property owner, with City Attorney Joe Short addressing that and local attorney Blake Montgomery offering suggestions. The ordinance was approved.

Under the City Manager’s Report, Ms, Cook stated that crosswalks downtown will be repainted before Train Day. She also stated that the first city-wide clean up will be April 22nd. Blake Montgomery said that the Hope Downtown Network will be involved in the clean up.

Hazel Simpson asked about maintenance on the Cave Hill cemetery. Director Don Hall addressed his concerns about parking on the sidewalk near the Hope Academy of Public Service and the meeting adjourned.

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