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Oliver touts plans for 2019

By Staff, 12/27/18 1:40 PM

PRESCOTT – Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver talked about his plans for 2019, including there being a possible solution to the electricity situation.

The city has retained the services of trial lawyers should the electricity situation with SWEPCO not be resolved through talks. If necessary, the city is ready to pursue a potential lawsuit against SWEPCO because of the pancake charges that are costing the community $750,000 a year. Oliver calls the charges unjust, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory.

A major water project is also in the works. The city is working to replace the 16-inch raw water main from the river treatment plant to the water plant and Firestone. The current line is 16-inch ductile iron that was installed in 1964. The replacement pipe has been stacked at the Potlatch site until the project begins.

The city has a 25-foot right-of-way with the line within five feet of one side, leaving 20 feet of access on the opposite side, Oliver said. The line is roughly five miles long and will include pump control valves, surge arresting valves and air vacuum relief valves. In a recent meeting of the Prescott City Council, the bid was awarded to RBIS, LLC of Texarkana for $2,134,331. The city received about 15 bids for the project.

He said city leaders will continue working with the regional group, the Southwest Arkansas Development Alliance (SADA) to help bring business and industry to Southwest Arkansas. Through SADA’s efforts, he said, this region is getting better known. “We are no longer seen as remote and rural, but as being connected to other cities and to the three-state region that has so much to offer.”

According to Oliver, there is a stronger sense of unity within the region’s leadership and a clearer perception of the common interest. Prescott, he said, and other communities are thinking regionally, not just individually. Because of this, he added, there is better partnering occurring within the region to support economic development. “We’re seeing more and better city-to-city partnering of SADA with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and with the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District (SWAPDD) located in Magnolia.”

New jobs are coming to Prescott, he continued, with Smiles Family Dentistry opening in early 2019 and the Redstone Construction Group getting ready to do an interstate construction project using Potlatch as a base for up to two years.

“We must take pride in our houses and property,” he said. “Our code enforcer is seeking out our citizens that don’t. In 2019 tickets/citations will be issued for code enforcement ordinance violations.” In addition, money is being put into the 2019 budget to tear down old houses. Oliver said it’s also looking like the city will do a lease-purchase agreement to get a track hoe to knock condemned houses down.

The community-wide clean up, he said, will be bigger and better this year with the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, the city’s sanitation department and code enforcement officer working together to clean up and improve the looks of the community. A lot of volunteers will be needed when the cleanup date is set sometime in the spring.

In addition, Oliver said more money is being funneled to the city’s Independence Day fireworks show. The event was a success this past summer but should be bigger and better as more money has been budgeted for fireworks this year.

Along with this, the city has budgeted funds to seal the walking track near the Nevada County Health Unit as it’s well used by citizens for exercise and relaxation.

Oliver also lauded the Prescott Police Department saying it did a great job in 2018 in joining forces with the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department along with the Hope Police Department to help form the 8th North Drug Task Force, along with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office. These four agencies will continue working together to help reduce the drug problem in both counties. However, the task force does more than work on drug issues, it also works on major felony crimes.

The city, Oliver said, is working to get funding from the SWAPDD for a sewer project. The current system is rated at 850,000 gallons per day, but a new facility is needed, or major improvements need to be made to the existing one. Part of what’s needed is replacing the collection system, the force rain replacement system on Webb Street, the lift station on Washington Road needs to be upgraded and replaced, and the lift stations and pumps need to be replace as some were installed in 1950 and are still being used.

In addition, the installation of collection lines on Ron Harrod Drive need to be done.

Plans are to do some work on the road beside the TA truck stop as the side road needs to be repaired. Oliver said this project will run around $200,000. Otherwise, city streets will be patched until the electricity suit is resolved.