Hope City Board

By Mark Keith, 09/6/22 8:34 PM

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

First up, the board heard from Scout Leader Donnie Golden and his daughter Aunna.  Aunna is working towards her Eagle certification and her proposed project is to erect a pavilion over the reflection area between the Scout Center and Lake Huckabee.  Aunna explained the construction of the proposed pavilion and the structural specs.  She asked for the city to provide for concrete costs for the structure’s piers.  There was discussion on whether the pavilion would be in demand by the public due to its close proximity to the Scout Building.  The pavilion would be 30 feet by 40 feet over an existing fire pit.  The board agreed to fund the concrete cost for piers at approximately $1,000.  Aunna also noted if anyone wanted to donate towards the project can drop the money by Dr. Lester Sitzes office.

The board voted to apply for $160,072 in FAA entitlement funds and include an ADA grant in the amount of $17,853 for a total of $178,525.  This will be used for a drainage/runway safety program.  City Manager Catherine Cook gave detailed information on the whole project.  She also noted these funds were restricted to be used at the airport.  Board member Mark Ross and Cook elaborated on the restrictions on airport and street funds.  The board voted to apply for the grant.

The board appointed a committee to review engineering proposals for a five year period for the airport.  The city advertised for bids in the Democrat-Gazette on September 4th and proposals will be accepted through September 22nd.  The committee will include Cook, J.R. Wilson, Darrell Allen, and board member Steve Montgomery.

The board heard a review on sanitation department policies.  Cook said the city thought they had an agreement with the housing authority on distribution of trash bags but this proposal fell through.  The board heard from both city attorney Randy Wright and Nathaniel Holyfield of the Sanitation Department.  Cook detailed how families received trash bags by picking them up in person at public works.  Cook said she understands the Housing Authority would like the city to distribute bags to the Housing Authority units and also to offer rubbish pick up.  Historically the city has not distributed these bags in the multi-family housing units; instead, those families have picked up their bags at the public works office.  Holyfield said he’s afraid the city will lose a lot of bags if they distribute them directly to the Housing Authority units.  He also says the city has no way of knowing which units are occupied.  In the past the housing authority has done this the way other multi-family units until this year.  Housing Authority Director Leola Graves has cited a 1963 agreement in which the city has allegedly agreed to treat Housing Authority residents like other city residents.   It was noted that no other multi-family complexes have problems with this.  Discussion ensued.  Cook suggested that temporarily the city give bags to housing authority residents who come to public works with their proof of occupancy and their electric bill.  She suggested they give them two rolls of bags during this temporary fix.  The city will continue to work towards a permanent solution.  Rubbish pickup was also discussed.  Dr. Linda Clark will join with the city attorney to meet with the Housing Authority for a permanent solution.  Board member Reggie Easter said he’s seen the people steal bags in the past.

Catherine Cook said the city is looking at the two FEMA tents at the airport.  Darrell Allen noted they have considered putting out a request for proposals for someone to take down the the tents in exchange for keeping one and rebuilding the other at the Hope Public Works complex.  The board asked Allen to explore that option.

The board went into executive session at 8pm.  The board reconvened at 8:25pm.  Mayor Still said they discussed hiring a firm to look for City Manager candidates but no action was taken.

Under the city manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted there is action on 6th Street.  She noted Hollis Heat and Air has obtained an air conditioner for the Klipsch Auditorium and it will be in for the Mike Huckabee concert Saturday.  She noted the brick is in for the HUB sign is in.  Cook talked about the recent derailment on Elm Street and noted it was one of the more interesting ones she has seen.  Cook also noted more proposals are coming on the Street Scape program.  She said the recreation grant application has been submitted and noted the park is looking well as summer winds down.  It was noted signs are on the dumpsters noting they are not for residential use.  The meeting then adjourned.