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Hope City Board Meeting Tuesday May 2

By Staff, 05/4/17 9:13 AM

HOPE – The Hope City Board held their first meeting of May on Tuesday May 2nd.

The Board opened by discussing a proposed contract with Garver Engineering on a drainage study at the airport. The contract, for $97,000, was approved.

The Board then looked at a reconstruction project for 6th Street. City Manager Catherine Cook said the City should get about $400,000 from state aid, leaving about $1 million for the City to pick up. Funding the rest with a bond issue was discussed, Board members Mark Ross and Dr. Trevor Coffee said that they would be for bike lanes, with Dr. Coffee stating that he would like those lanes tying into library and Fair Park. No action was taken.

The Board reviewed first quarter financial statements. Cook said that in general, revenues were good although sales taxes were almost flat. She noted that the City is not yet on the new telephone system that they are to share with Water and Light and the City is still paying AT&T $2500 a month. She said that salaries are a little high under police – uniform patrol and that dispatch salaries are also a little high. Cook noted that a new minority officer had been hired.

Cook noted that the expenses for the quarter were 24.4% of the yearly budget, so the City is a half-percent under what could be expected. Transfer to the general fund was 22.9%. The Board looked at the balance sheet and some required reserves were noted. Under long-term debt, Cook said the closure/post-closure costs at the landfill and some pension liabilities. Bond reserves in wastewater were noted.

The Board next considered a rezoning request to change the former BanCorp South location on North Hervey from C-4 to C-2, highway commercial. The property is the “Park and Sell” lot. Planning and Zoning recommend the change. There will need to be separation from residential property which is in place. The ordinance to rezone was approved.

The Board went into an executive session at 7:57pm and reconvened at 8:25pm. No action was taken.

Under the City Managers report, Cook reported that the City disposed of 615 cubic yards of waste during the recent city-wide clean up on April 22nd.

Next in the Citizens Request section, Jodi Coffee asked for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the City to use the current location for the Farmers Market into the fall of this year. She also asked that there be a public hearing on the outdoor recreation grant within the next month. At this point, Mayor Steve Montgomery said there is an entity interested in possibly purchasing the Graves property. Mark Ross asked Coffee if she wants the Graves property or the current parking lot behind Four States Furniture this year. She said she meant the property behind Four States Furniture. Mayor Montgomery said there is no offer on the property. The Mayor suggested that Coffee ask for the MOA in a month, as the interested entity is expected to make a decision in thirty days.

Terrie James asked if they could at least get the public hearing scheduled and Cook said they could. John Akin asked about the City’s part of the grant, if funded, and was told that the City’s part would not actually be money, but “in kind” services. Board member Don Still noted that before the Downtown Network started, the Farmers Market was one of the bright spots downtown. Coffee said that if the Market is moved, there is a risk that it could move out of the downtown area.

Hazel Simpson invited the Board to the dedication of the Northside Park pool marker on July 6th at noon.

Jodi Coffee asked to speak again and noted that the minutes from a couple of years ago stated that the Board didn’t intend to move on the property unless an entity wanted to pledge to develop something. She also noted that the Farmers Market was the catalyst that led the City to ask the Graves to donate the property.

Willie Walker asked if the City planned to landscape the Northside Park marker site. Mayor Montgomery replied that they would talk to the Parks Department about improving the site. Walker then asked if the City could clean out and start bush-hogging an area at the park; the Board agreed to look into it. Walker asked about about a grown up area between Northside Park and the Bypass and was told that property is privately owned. It was noted that cleaning out the ditch ” could cause flooding”; Public Works Director Larry York noted that the Corps of Engineers controls that.

Washington Farmers Market Manager Billy O’Rourke asked if the Graves property was donated specifically for the Farmers Market and urged the Board to support Coffee’s efforts.

Board member Reginald Easter asked about a trailer stolen from the Wastewater Department.

There was an update on the Dox Building and it was noted that an agreement could be signed with a contractor Wednesday.

Board member Mark Ross addressed the problem of people parking on the wrong side of the city streets. Police Chief J. R. Wilson said that the police  historically have not enforced minor traffic violations downtown in his 14 years. Chief Wilson stated that if the Board wants them to enforce those violations they will. Board member Kiffenea Talley suggested warnings then tickets for repeat violations. Ross stated that he thought it might be more of a warning ticket situation. Don Still noted that when the Courthouses moves downtown there will be more issues. Chief Wilson said that the biggest things they address now are motorists parking and blocking the road and people illegally parking in handicap zones.

The meeting was then adjourned.

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