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Hope City Board

By Mark Keith, 10/4/22 8:24 PM

 

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

Steve Harris of the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation showed a video about the proposed quarter cent sales tax to be earmarked for economic development.  The measure will be on the general election ballot next month.  Board member and EDC Board Member Steve Montgomery stressed the importance of such a tax.  He also said an industry is looking at Hope that will need some water and infrastructure work and if this tax was in place it would be a boon to such new projects.  Board member Mark Ross also spoke in favor of it.  Following the presentation, the board passed a resolution endorsing the proposed tax.

The Board looked at some options for bringing the Street Scape project into budget.  The budget is $694,000.  The bid the city received plus other fees would be approximately $1,184,000.  Further TAP grants (which would partially fund this project) are not available until the current bid funds are spent.  The board looked at two possible options.  Some of the proposed cuts included not using brick pavers and instead using concrete, reducing sidewalk widths, and taking out some lighting.  One option would would bring the cost down to $854,049 and an additional $258,343 would be needed if this option was chosen but it would not require a new bid.  Option 2 would be estimated to cost $621,358 but would require rebidding the project.  Discussion ensued.  The board approved option 1 which would add $258,343 to the project.  The board also voted to add back in some decorative lighting matching the lighting already in place downtown.  This would cost an additional $92,000.  Catherine Cook detailed where the extra money can come from.  The board also approved the changed work orders.

The board board looked at changing the sanitation policy for solid waste pick-up in response to requests from the Hope Housing Authority but no action was taken on changing the policy.  The board has been having Housing Authority residents to pick up their trash bags at the Public Works Department.

The board discussed engineering services for some airport projects.  The board got two bids, Garver Engineering and Pinnacle Management Consulting.  A city committee, after reviewing and ranking the proposals the review committee recommended hiring Garver.  The board voted to allow City Manager Catherine Cook to enter into negotiations with Garver.

The board looked at bids on the main runway marking.  The board accepted the bid from Custom Pavement Maintenance and Safety bid of $177,437. This was the low bid.  Arkansas Aeronautics will have to sign off on this bid.

Under the City Manager’s Report, Catherine Cook noted the board wanted a meeting on October 11th with the search firms which may be engaged to conduct a search for city manager candidates and the board agreed to meet.  Cook noted the city didn’t get a park grant for the proposed splash pad.  Cook said the state explained some things the board could do to strengthen a future presentation.  Also, Fire Chief Todd Martin noted the ISO fire rating has dropped from a 3 to a 2 starting in 2023.  The change can result in a drop of up to 3% on homeowners insurance.

Under Citizens Requests a resident Patsy White complained about some work the city has done in front of her house.  She said the city is stressing her and her cardiologist has said she doesn’t need to be stressed.  She said the city agreed to fix the street and have patched it with asphalt and it needs to be concrete.  Mayor Don Still noted it will be checked.

Another citizen, Louis Martin, accused board member Reginald Easter of fraudulent practices on some real estate transactions.  Mayor Don Still told the man they could listen but couldn’t expect any action on the matter.

Phillip Shaw asked the board to continue working towards getting a splash pad.

Sylvia Brown also made comments on the budget and talked about “Turnout to Turn Up Jams” event at the HUB Friday from 4 to 6pm.  The event will offer free hot dogs, voter registration checks, and music.  The public is invited.

Hazel Simpson asked about having so “no littering” signs placed on Compress near the old feed mill.

Board member Mark Ross asked that the city have code enforcement to check 102 West 2nd (the old Herbert Burns building) and Cook noted it had been checked and the city is attempting to work with the owner.  Ross also complimented the city on a new roof at the public works complex.  The meeting then adjourned.