Hope City Board

By Staff, 12/1/20 9:55 PM

The Hope City Board met virtuallyTuesday for their first meeting of December. The first item was another look at the recently approved ordinance governing city purchases. Police Chief/Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson brought out some info in the ordinance concerning electronic receipt of sealed bids and an omission regarding legal authority to conduct online reverse bid auctions. City Attorney Joe Short advised the board on what they needed to do to make the changes. The board is expected to have an ordinance to repeal the previous ordinance (#1684) and an ordinance to replace ordinance #1684.

The board looked at a proposed budget for 2021. The proposed amount was $12,567, 563. Questions were asked concerning whether the city sends bills to landowners whose property they clean, about some funding that comes from cell phone fees, questions about contract security the city provides, revenue generated by the various city facilities in rental fees, and other budget items. There was also a proposed $1,000 across the board raise for employees. Also discussed was performance evaluations for employees with possible merit raises. The Fire Department was discussed and the fact that acting fire chief Todd Martin is soon to be named as the new fire chief. City Manager Catherine Cook also noted acting Parks Director Summer Powell is to be named the Parks Director. The budget for the beautification committee was discussed. It was noted the sanitation budget will require some reserves to be used. Over $200,000 in proposed expenses were cut from the sanitation budget. A discussion ensued on what will need to be done in the future on sanitation. The board is expected to look at the sanitation situation after the first of the year.

Discussion on the proposed budget lasted until 9:25pm. The board took no action but is expected to take the budget up at their next meeting.

Director Dr. Linda Clark commented on how nice downtown looks. Catherine Cook noted that people have come together to make downtown look good.

Mayor Steve Montgomery noted City Attorney Joe Short will be leaving that job soon. He noted two people have submitted applications, Randy Wright and Ashley Moritz. Board member Kiffenea Talley asked if it had been advertised and Cook noted it had not been. Talley suggested the position be advertised. Board member Mark Ross asked what the procedure was when Short was hired and Cook noted that was before her time with the city. Short was asked what the procedure was when he was hired. He was also asked if the position required the person hired to be a resident of the city. Short noted that there may not be a requirement to live in the city but probably the person holding the job should live in the county. Talley asked if the position will still be open to other applicants and Mayor Montgomery said he believed it is. Cook suggested having applicants to send in applications by December 10th to city hall and the board agreed by acclimation.

It was noted the city is getting $399,000 from the CARES Act to reimburse the city for extra expenses during COVID. Mayor Montgomery suggested giving city employees a $1,000 Christmas bonus. Director Mark Ross moved that the city’s 101 employees be given $1,200 for a Christmas bonus. It passed unanimously. The mayor also suggested using the remainder towards a sanitation truck. Cook said several things could be done with the money and she’ll get the board a list of potential projects.

Board member Mark Ross asked about the buses parked in the alleys around the ROC building on Elm Street. Catherine Cook asked Ross to see her about the issue. Ross was worried about the buses blocking emergency vehicles. Ross also suggested going back to live City Board meetings. It was discussed to meet again at the Fair Park Community Center. Dr. Linda Clark suggested meeting virtually in the next meeting in December and meeting in person in January. Mark Ross said the board may need to meet in executive session if they wish to hire a new city attorney. The board agreed to meet in person at the Community Center later this month. The meeting adjourned at 9:46pm.