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Hope City Board

By Mark Keith, 03/2/22 2:38 AM

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

First up, the board heard from Rob Middleton and redistricting  the city wards.  There has been some population shrinkage and shifts.  The aim is to get all the wards around 1,278 in population. Three of the wards must be majority-minority per the settlement of a 1992 lawsuit.  Also, an effort would be made to preserve incumbency.  Middleton said all but Ward 7 lost population.  Middleton’s first option would have had one ward with two incumbent members.  Option 2 would not have any incumbents in the same ward. There were also two other options.  He said he could only come up with four options that would meet the requirements.  Mayor Don Still said they will study the maps and come to a decision at a future meeting.

The board heard a request from Charles Lester about putting a food truck on the city parking lot behind his office.  This is the city parking lot at Elm and Division.  Board member Kiffenea Talley had concerns about the fairness of letting just one vendor stay there full-time.  Lester said they would move the trailer to go other places and work festivals.  Lester said if the food truck was successful they hoped to open a restaurant.  Lester does have his tourism tax permit and business permit.  It was suggested a trial period might be a good idea.  The board agreed to let Lester park his trailer on the lot for six months.  The city attorney will draw up an agreement.

The board heard from a group of residents of the Timbercreek Addition at the end of Southland Drive.  The subdivision was developed in the 1980’s with the streets being designated private drives and maintained by an improvement district.  The Timbercreek Improvement District proposed the city would accept the private drives into the city street system.  The Improvement District would devote its assessment cash on hand as well as pledge the assessments over the next five years. All this would contribute towards the overlay of the streets.  After the five years, the Improvement District would discontinue assessments.   If the City Board agreed to the proposal, the streets would be overlaid as part of the 2022 street program.  This was projected to cost $117,266.  Board member Kiffenea Talley asked about the cost of base work to the street would be about $6,000.  Neighborhood resident and attorney Charlie Walker represented the residents.  One resident asked about the assessment.  City Attorney Randy Wright also suggested tweaking the land development code for future development.  The board agreed to the proposal.

The board looked at milling bids.  The board accepted a bid of $2.74 per yard from Dustol Company.

The board looked at asphalt bids.  The low bid was $109.80 per ton.  The board accepted this bid.

The board looked at bids on herbicide spraying.  The board accepted the low bid of Chempro Services for $10,615.20.  The board accepted this bid.

A rezoning was on the agenda but was tabled.

The board approved an engineering contract with Jeremy Stone for the pocket park downtown.  This contract is to not exceed $4,900.  The Downtown Network has donated $7,500 towards the engineering and the project.  The board approved the contract.

Under the city manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted the landfill baler is now in operation.  She noted the pedestrian crossing has been approved with Kiamichi for the Street Scape project.  Cook said they hope to bid that in April.  A street committee meeting is needed according to Cook and needs to happen as soon as possible due to the 6th Street project.  Cook said the city has two economic development site visits in the next few weeks.

Board member Reggie Easter reminded the board the courthouse open house continues Tuesday.

Under Citizens Requests, Lori Morrison spoke. She said was disappointed in the condition of several neighborhoods and wanted to know what the city might do.  Morrison said she feels a number of streets are not maintained.  She specifically cited the north side of Hope although she didn’t name a specific street.  She did cite a previous meeting discussion on cleaning one street with an excess of litter.  Board member Mark Ross said he has been in discussion with the Scouts and HAPS.  Police Chief J.R. Wilson said the police department has adopted Greenwood to the bypass to pick up on clean-up days.  Kiffenea Talley suggested Morrison contact the public works department or Kenneth Harvill for potholes and street problems.  It was noted the next clean-up day is in April.  Board member Dr. Linda Clark suggested some planning on the issue. Morrison says she hopes to unite the community and was impressed by the attendance of the Timbercreek residents.  Morrison said she wanted to know the proper procedure to present issues to the city and/or the board.  She asked for guidance and development.  Mayor Still said maybe they need to look at a clean up day for the roadside.  Morrison is urging curbing and guttering for some of the streets on the north side of town.  Mayor Still said he hopes the city can get back to demolishing dilapidated houses.  Board member Steve Montgomery noted curbing and guttering existing streets is cost prohibitive.  He also explained the Timbercreek Assessments that will go to the city over the next five years to pay for the overlay there.  Mayor Still also noted the curb and guttering on Greenwood was the result of a state project.  Cook noted the city generally spends $500,000 yearly on overlay.  In contrast, the proposed 6 block reconstruction of 6th Street is expected to cost $2.1 million and be paid for in part with state funds.  Cook also explained the street committee protocol for getting streets resurfaced.  Mayor Still explained there is some long-term planning on streets but the process can be slow. Dr. Clark told Morrison she thinks she’s interested in more than just streets.  Board member Ross suggested Morrison look into possibly working with the Hope Beautification Committee.  Cook also suggested Morrison look at the city website and info on the 3-1-1 program.  Mayor Still thanked Morrison for coming.  Director Ross suggested the media promote the city’s 3-1-1 program.

Director Ross suggested the board look at moving city board meetings back to City Hall.  No one was opposed and the board decided to hold the next meeting at City Hall.

Mayor Still noted fire trucks are now assisting on ambulance runs and he thinks the city should get a smaller truck for ambulance runs.

The meeting then adjourned.