Hope City Board

By Staff, 08/18/20 8:08 PM

The Hope City Board met Tuesday in a virtual meeting.  The board moved into their business after approving the minutes and the financial report.

The board voted to approve an urban now deer hunt within the city limits September 26th through February 28th of 2021.

The board looked at a consideration to waive bids on the U.V. system at the west wastewater plant.  The system was struck by and disabled by lightning July 5th.  The cost to purchase the required part is approximately $11,500.  The equipment is only manufactured by one company and competitive bidding isn’t possible.  Currently the city had to bid out purchases of $10,000 or more.  The board approved the purchase.

The board looked at options on the Street Scape project from downtown to the Clinton Birthplace on 2nd Street.  The original plan was to cost $575,000 with grant funds paying $480,000 and the city paying $115,000 through the Tourism Commission.  The project engineer showed the updated budget at $602,219 and an additional cost of $74,042 on railroad work.  City Manager Catherine Cook explained the proposed budget and some options for cutting.  Cook said the Arkansas Department of Transportation says additional funds are not available at this time.  The city could seek more funding through the Tourism Commission or just reduce the scope of the project.  Discussion ensued about whether to try and apply for more grant funds next year.  One suggestion was to ask Hope Water and Light to fund the lighting improvements.  No action was taken as the board wants to mull over the options.

The board discussed some police policy updates.  Chief J.R. Wilson spoke to the board.  The department is looking at Police Executive Research Forum suggested guidelines.  Chief Wilson said he is recommending the board allows the police to make changes to their “Response to Resistance” policy.  Primary changes include a statement regarding duty to intervene, adding a statement in regarding duty to care for persons I police custody, adding a statement regarding de-escalation, adding a statement regarding cessation of force, adding a statement regarding failure to submit to arrest,and adding language regarding lateral vascular neck restraints and chokeholds.  Other proposed changes  include adding additional definitions, adding language regarding when deadly force is considered objectively reasonable, and adding language regarding safety, tactical consideration, and the department’s goal to protect constitutional and Civil Liberties.  Other changes when include language on sanctity of life.  The proposed changes were tabled to allow the board to study the proposals.

Under the City Manager’s Report, Catherine Cook noted work on the street program should begin by the end of the month.  Cook noted there has been some park employees out due to exposure to COVID but the city is coping.  Cook gave an update on the landfill project.  Dr. Linda Clark and her fellow board member talked about school starting back.

Board member Kiffenea Talley asked is the basketball courts are open in the parks.  Cook noted they are taped off and closed but the tape is gone the next morning.  Talley asked if the goals could be taken down and Cook said they could be temporarily removed.  Vice-Mayor Don Still said he was not in favor of any more restrictions in the park and noted football is being offered at school.  Talley said that was different as there are adults supervising the football players.  Still suggested maybe covering the goals.  Board member Mark Ross noted young people are seen at private homes playing.  Mayor Montgomery noted something should be done.  He suggested covering the goals.  City Manager Cook said they will do something.

Vice-Mayor Still noted there’s a bad leak in the Klipsch Museum facility at the airport and said the city needs to look at that.  Cook said they have an estimate to fix it for $3,500 or replacement of the roof of $14,000.  Cook said they will have information at the next meeting.

Board member Reggie Easter addressed the basketball goals situation and suggested signage first.  Easter also urged fellow board members to follow the rules and set a good example.

Mayor Montgomery noted the City Manager’s review forms were sent out for the board members to look over.  The Mayor suggested the evaluation meeting be held next Tuesday at 7pm. Mostly it will be in executive session.  The meeting was scheduled.  The board then adjourned.