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Hope City Board Meeting

By Staff, 12/19/17 9:32 PM

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The Hope City Board held their last regularly scheduled meeting of 2017 on Tuesday December 19th. The board heard from Mary Fair of Garver Engineering concerning drainage work at the airport. The board revised their Capital Improvement Plan to accommodate a 5 year plan to do extensive drainage work at the airport. The ultimate cost would be $1, 278,000 with the city being responsible for 10%. Arkansas Aeronautics would assist with the city’s share. The first work scheduled for 2018 would begin to alleviate the problem of dangerous flooding due to.one or more collapsed drainage pipes. The board voted to revise the Capital Improvement Plan to include the work.
The board adopted a budget for 2018. The budget is just over $10,716,000.
The board looked at joining a class action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. Many Arkansas communities are joining the lawsuit. Police Chief J.R. Wilson noted there was a recent death in Hope due to an opioid overdose. It was also noted that there are 114 opioid prescriptions issued per 100 people in Arkansas. Chief Wilson also noted occasionally the city’s pharmacies are targeted by gangs from out of town burglarizing the drug stores for opioids such at oxycodone. Chief Wilson also detailed an opioid that can harm people if they just touch it. The board voted to sign an engagement letter on the opioid lawsuit.
Under the City manager’s report, Catherine Cook gave the holiday closings.
Under Citizens Requests, Rhonda Moritz spoke to the board about a call she had gotten from Hope Water and Light about increased water usage. Her son also spoke. Moritz said Water and Light later said they had employed an incompetent technician who misread the meter for several months and the November bill contained the additional water usage the technician misread. The son also detailed problems some of the neighbors on Spring Hill Road experienced due to the inept technician. Mrs. Moritz said Water and Light also said they had checked for a leak and didn’t find one. The Moritz’s also expressed confusion about variances on past bills. City Manager Catherine Cook and board members looked at the bill and tried to explain the bill. The Moritz’s expressed concern on how Water and Light handled the matter. Mayor Montgomery noted he would bring it to the attention of the Water and Light Commission at their meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning. Vice-Mayor Don Still said he had been approached by several people in recent months with water issues. Director Kiffenea Talley asked Mayor Montgomery to make sure he brings the matter to the attention of the Water and Light Commission. Rhonda Moritz says she believes the consumers shouldn’t be penalized for the incompetency of the technician. Moritz said Water and Light said they will allow them to pay the extra amount out over several months. Mayor Montgomery assured Moritz he will discuss it with the Water and Light Commission. John Akin weighed in on the matter citing residents on Fulton Street and 15th who have had similar experiences. Steve Atchley also detailed his experience with a bad meter. Catherine Cook noted the ultimate responsibility rests with the Water and Light Commission. The meeting then adjourned.

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