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Hope City Board

By Staff, 07/21/20 8:32 PM

The Hope City Board met virtually on Tuesday for their regular monthly meeting.  The meeting opened, as usual, with the prayer and pledge, approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, and a look at the financial report.

The first order of business was to look at a proposed Engineering Services Agreement with Jeremy Stone.  This is in lieu of having a city engineer on staff.  The proposal would pay Jeremy Stone $275 per month plus additional payment for specific projects should they exceed the base rate (which would cover five hours of work per month).  Stone has already helped on such projects as the animal control building, the new police addition, the Hub, and the swimming pool.  There was discussion on whether to engage an engineer via an annual contract.  Also there was discussion about advertising the position.  The board voted to approve the agreement.

The board looked at mowing bids for Rose Hill and Cave Hill Cemeteries.  There were five bids received for a two year period.  They included Nick Stuart $29,990 X 2 = $59,980,Mudpuppy Landscaping LLC $25,500 X 2 = $51,000, Adams Janitorial Service LLC $31,000 X 2 = $62,000, Justin’s Lawn Service $20,000 X 2 = $40,000. Jeremy Stroud $42,000 X 2 = $84,000, Silvey Lawn Care $29,800 X 2 = $59,600.  There have been concerns about the recent contractors on keeping up with the mowing.  This has been a wet year but there were still comments.  Cook showed some pictures she took earlier in the day which showed areas not mowed, leaves not raked, and grass clippings that were not blown off streets.  Cook pointed out the area to be mowed is about 25 acres and she called it “a hard mow”.  She noted the Rose Hill Cemetery board has sometimes contributed to the mowing and is willing to contribute more to the mowing.  Cook said she’s usually interested in getting the low bid but she thinks that may not be working in this instance.  She asked the board to allow her to work with Rose Hill Cemetery Association to see what they can do towards getting the cemetery back into shape, so the cemetery can look as good as it can look.  She said who the city is using now is not working out.  Director Mark Ross asked what the association has been doing recently.  She noted they had contributed $10,000 this year and she thinks they’re willing to go to $20,000.  Cook said it is going to take a lot of hours to get it back into shape including weed eating and the use of some herbicide.  Cook also suggested there might be some more activity coming from the association such as doing some of the type things that are done at family cemeteries.  There were questioned on who oversees the work.  Cook noted the parks department had until Paul Henley retired.  Cook also noted some trees that have fallen and have beaten up the ground and also at least one Magnolia tree has died and needs to be cut.  Board member Kiffenea Talley asked who Cook thought could do it, she noted she thought Stroud could.  Cook said she’d just like to hire someone to go get in shape right now.  Vice-Mayor Still said the big work will be the first effort towards it and he wasn’t sure if hiring one of the more expensive bidders would be the answer.  Discussion ensued.  Dr. Trevor Coffee suggested the board might consider trying someone on a trial basis.  It was noted the cemetery is being mowed on a month to month basis by Justin’s Lawn Service and Cook says she was prepared to terminate that.   Vice-Mayor Still said they might should give whoever is hired to get it into shape might need a couple of months to do so.  Dr. Linda Clark noted two months would get the cemetery through the worst of summer.  After rescinding a motion to table the matter, the board continued discussion.  Justin Devinney of Justin’s Lawn Service asked to comment but apparently was technically unable to.  Spectator Ashley McIver asked a question concerning how the needs would be addressed.  Further discussion ensued.  A motion in 2nd was made to hire Stroud for two months then rebid the matter again. This was rescinded.   A motion and 2nd was made to reject the bids.  The board then approved a motion to hire Stroud for two bids then rebid the issue.

The board looked at repealing an ordinance they passed at the last meeting .  This was ordinance 1677 that was approved at the most recent previous meeting.  This was the the ordinance in which the board voted to encourage residents to wear face masks .  Since then, the Governor has issued an executive order requiring face masks.  The Municipal League has suggested the communities repeal their ordinances.  City Attorney Joe Short said the executive order overrides the city ordinance and since their is conflicting language, the city ordinance should be repealed.  The board voted to repeal Ordinance 1677.

Under the City Manager’s Report, Catherine Cook noted there will be additional energy assistance funds in the amount of $8.5 million dollars through CADC.  Cook said they will promote that on the city’s facebook and website.  She also noted there was a landfill pre-construction meeting.  She said the contractor should be in before the month is over and the work can go up to 90 days.  Cook also gave an update on the census.  Cook noted Natasha Riley is serving as City Clerk and asked if Amber Murr could be designated as deputy city clerk.  The board agreed by acclimation.  Cook also noted the filing period for petitions for municipal elections is July 24th thought August 14th.  Cook also went through the requirements for city board candidates.  She noted three wards are up for election.

Dr. Linda Clark noted the residents of the Green Acres subdivision are in favor of changing the street names from the Confederate related names.  Cook noted she was glad to hear that and letters have gone out to the residents on changing the names.  Mayor Montgomery asked if any names have been suggested.  Cook noted one suggestion was naming a street after Dorothy Hoover and Ketty Lester.  Dr. Clark asked if the suggestions should be submitted to Cook and Cook noted that was noted in the letter sent to residents.

The board discussed signatures for the petitions of city board candidates.  Mark Ross asked about the swimming pool.  Cook gave an update on the progress, noting some of the parts that first came in were wrong and they should be in this week.  Also sand and gravel will be procured for the pool filter will be put back together this week.  Cook says they don’t know if this will work.  Dr. Trevor Coffee asked if Cook had sent a letter to A.T.& T. on utility relocation.  Cook said she thinks they have a new A.T. & T. representative.  She noted she’d talked to the Department of Transportation about what can be done.  She said Center Point wants to wait until the first of the year.  Cook said she plans to write the Public Service Commission.  Dr. Coffee asked about the gutters at the Hub.  Police Chief J.R. Wilson noted they have the parts and they are waiting on MAC Construction to be able to put them on.  Mark Ross asked if there will be warranties.  Chief Wilson said he didn’t know but he didn’t think so.  Chief Wilson said MAC Construction feels confident these will last.  Cook also noted she’s looking at signs for Pavilion Park.  Also the plaque honoring the Graves family has been sent for review.  Chief Wilson noted they’d looked at the water leaking into the storage room at the Hub and they think some bricks at the foundation need to be sealed.  He noted it would be inexpensive.

Warrent Thornton spoke under Citizens Requests.  He noted a group wants to have a “Justice Rally” on August 15th.  Thornton noted they understand they will have to meet Health Department standards and noted masks will have to be worn.  Food will be given out.  It would be from 3pm to 7pm.  Thornton said they will have to keep social distancing and Thornton asked what is 66% capacity of the park.  Discussion ensued.  It is hoped Thornton will hear from the Health Department by the next meeting.

Mayor Montgomery said civic clubs have asked about holding drive-thru meal fundraisers in lieu of the cancelled Watermelon Festival .  The Mayor said that may be brought to the board in teh future.  Vice-Mayor Still gave updates on the Watermelon 5k that will be held August 8th.  The meeting then adjourned.