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Hope City Board

By Staff, 11/16/21 8:58 PM

The Hope City Board met Tuesday for their second meeting of November.  Following the prayer and pledge, the board moved into the agenda.

Hope Schools Curriculum Coordinator Carla Narkesky gave a presentation on the RISE Initiative for Student Excellence.  She explained how the program focuses on reading.  She asked the board to support the program and also talked about “book nooks” that are in several businesses and noted she hopes to get 16 more.  She noted any businesses who would like a book nook can contact her through the Hope Public Schools.

Steve Harris of the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation asked the city to up their annual contribution to the EDC from $50,000 to $60,000 per year.  He noted their budget is static and the county and Hope Water and Light have recently expanded their stipends.  Harris noted the EDC budget is $187,000.  The board voted to discuss the increase when considering the budget.

The board voted to have a public hearing at the next board meeting concerning a petition by First Assembly of God to close two blocks of alleys running between land owned by the church.  The alleys are between Avenue “C” and “D”.

The board heard an  audit report from Chad Miller of William C. Miller, LLC.  The city chooses to have an independent audit and not go through Legislative Audit.  Miller explained some changes in funds and expenses and noted these are expenses that the city has no control over.  Probably the most noteworthy change was a lack of a “segregation of duties” finding that is common in many small organizations.  He explained why that wording did not have to be included.  Miller also noted how Hope Water and Light will handle the sharp jump in electrical costs this past winter.

The board looked at a proposed budget for 2022.  City Manager Catherine Cook noted the 2021 budget was $12,567,565.  The proposed budget for 2022 is $13,314,760.   The proposed general fund is $5,572,329.  The proposed budget is balanced.  The board looked at departmental expenses and Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson went over the street fund.  The board expects to look at Capital Projects at the next meeting.

Under the city Managers report, Catherine Cook gave an update on the rail crossing negotiations with Kiamichi over the Street Scape program on 2nd Street.  Bids will be opened January 12th for the 6th Street program.  Cook noted some new blowers for wastewater have been installed.  She noted a park truck was damaged in an accident and may have to be replaced.  Cook also gave a report on a Water and Light tour of North Side Park and located some areas where power is available for concert needs.  Also, a baler that is down at the landfill was discussed.  Board member Steve Montgomery reminded the board on behalf of Beckie Moore to vote for Hope on the Main Street Contest.  Board member Mark Ross noted there are dozens of Christmas Trees affixed to the light poles downtown and most of the downtown merchants are participating in Christmas Open House Thursday.  The meeting then adjourned.