Hope City Board

By Staff, 08/17/21 8:30 PM

The Hope City Board met for their second meeting of August on Tuesday.

The board moved into considering a waive bid ordinance on buying two Hoffman blowers for the west wastewater plant.  Upon checking, the city learned it would cost $50,228.68 to repair the city’s 40 year old blowers.  The city has also received two bids on refurbished blowers for about $50,000.  Another bid for refurbished blowers came in at $59,376.  A bid for two new Hoffman blowers from Jack Tyler came in at $71, 864.  A bid on two Inovair blowers came in at $108,240.  The board approved a bid for two refurbished Hoffman’s from Red River Pump for $50,228.  They also approved a waive bid ordinance allowing the purchase.

The board discussed applying for an outdoor recreational grant.  City Manager Catherine Cook and Parks Director Summer Powell suggested the board pursue a grant to construct a pocket park on East 2nd downtown.  The project had much support during a recent public hearing.  An artist’s rendering of the proposed park was shown. Cook said she estimates a total cost of $109,900.  The city’s share would be $55,000.   Adding a restroom was discussed.  Mark Ross suggested that the electricity needs to be enough should a band play there.  A cost estimate on a splash pad was $320,000 in 2017 and would probably top $400,000 now.  Cook also noted the staff will probably approach the board next year with a plan to relight the ball fields.  Kiffenea Talley suggested the city allow food trucks downtown if the city pursues the pocket park.  Cook noted food trucks are not prohibited now.  The board voted to pursue the pocket park and add two bathrooms (at an estimated cost of $50,000) to the project.  The board voted to approve a resolution allowing the city to apply for the grant.

The board considered a waive bid ordinance to repair part of the “Hexion Curve” of the city’s rail spur in the industrial park.  The problem is the city builds up the base and due to the soft ground the track sinks into the ground.  Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson said the city spent about $55,000 working on problems in that area last year.   The city has had a problem getting someone to do the dirt work while the weather is dry.  The city has recognized the need for almost a year and a half.  The city reached out to Bobo and Bain for the dirt work and they have quoted the dirt work at $19,500.  A company called “Trac Works” can also do the track work for $10,539.94.  Wilson asked the city board to approve the work.  Wilson said if the work isn’t done it is highly probable the city will have more derailments.  If approved, the work would be done September 11th,12th,and 13th.  The waive bid ordinance for the work was approved by the board.  .

Under the City Manager’s Report, Catherine Cook complimented the park staff and other city departments on their work for the Watermelon Festival.  She told the board about some funds through the state which may become available to fund wastewater work.  She said they have put together projects that could be funded by these funds.  The possible work submitted included holding pond overflow.  This proposed project suggests possibly spending $2.7.million on filters to filter solids from these overflows and treat them with ultraviolet light.  Also she noted a grinding motor  is needed that would grind items thrown into the wastewater in some industrial sites.  Cook also noted some pump needs and the repair of some equipment at the West plant caused by the winter weather.  Also suggested was some more blowers at the wastewater plants.  Cook also said the city proposed $3.6 million in wastewater facility rehab.  Altogether, the city’s engineer identified 48 potential projects.  Cook said she will keep the board apprised as to whether the funds become available.  Cook said she knows the city may get some criticism on seeking grant funding but she noted if there are grants available, someone is going to get it so the city might as well seek them.

Cook addressed the census numbers released this week. She said probably no one in southern and eastern Arkansas is happy with the figures. She said she would not try to defend them but she noted the city did everything they could to get people to respond to the census.  Cook said she is not aware of any type of challenge option this year.  She said if they get information on areas which have housing but doesn’t show people, she thinks this might be an area that can be challenged.

Cook talked about efforts to get city employees vaccinated.  She noted numbers have gone down some but the active cases peaked over the weekend.

Kiffenea Talley suggested the businesses on west 2nd between Hazel and Walnut will need “restricted signage” when the courthouse comes. City Attorney Randy Wright said he didn’t think that could be legally done on a public street.  Talley said one business has already put up such signage.

There were no citizens requests and the meeting then adjourned.