Hope City Board

The Hope City Board met via Zoom on Tuesday for their regular meeting. After reviewing the minutes the board looked at an application for a COVID-19 grant. This grant would cover overtime related to COVID-19 as well as funds needed for supplies related to the pandemic. Assistant City Manager/ Police Chief J.R. Wilson had identified about $7,600 in funds needed. The application needs to be in to the Department of Finance and Administration by the end of the month. Chief Wilson said the police have spent about $920 in overtime to help at the first COVID-19 screening and in breaking up some gatherings as well as putting extra officers on the street in areas where there might be problems with gatherings. The board voted to allow the city to apply for the grant.

City Manager Catherine Cook gave an update on the City Hall roof. She noted Jerry Hollensworth of the Truck Hollensworth Architectural firm has put some plans together. Cook noted the city had anticipated the project costing from $90,000 to $250,000. Cook says the actual prices in the roof, excluding decking, would be between $90,000 to $102,000. Cook said if they don’t get it done this summer they’ll have to wait until next year. Cook said the roof is basically original and it’s 94 years old. The decking is a board decking not a sheet decking. She discussed the flat part of the roof but noted the problems are worst on the south side of the building. She traces this to some damage during the ice storm 20 years ago. She said the worst damage is to the tiled part. Vice-Mayor Don Still asked about slope and Darrell Allen noted there is about a 3 inch slope to the flat part. Allen also noted the flat part is peeling. Kiffenea Talley asked about the budget for the roof. She also asked about asbestos and Cook noted there could be a little but it wouldn’t be a major problem. The estimate provided by Hollensworth was $103,000. The projected cost approved in the budget was $125,000. Dr. Trevor Coffee moved the city seek bids, Linda Clark seconded,and the measure passed.

Catherine Cook gave an update on the status of the 6th Street Project and the Street Scape Project. She also noted the state is projecting turnback reductions of 15%. She said the state said revenue was down 28% for March. Cook said City Finance Officer Debbie Hall thinks the COVID situation has cost the city $60,000 so far. She noted the department heads identified about a quarter million dollars in potential cuts fon capital projects. Cook says they won’t know a complete picture until sales tax receipts are remitted to the city in June. Cook complimented the staff on their efforts as well as the efforts of the public on dealing with COVID-19. Cook also gave an update on the “Hope for All” initiative. Mayor Steve Montgomery noted he has heard from people on the pool and asked for the board’s direction on spending the money to troubleshoot the pool’s problems. It was noted Lester Sitzes of the Water and Light Commission has pledged their help. Dr. Linda Clark asked if Robin Lee has any advice on troubleshooting the pool problems. Cook said Lee, Paul Henley, Ronald Kidd, and Les Patterson have looked at the pool. Cook said it is believed the cloudiness of the water comes from a possible break in the line sucking in water and bringing in dirt that makes the water cloudy. She said they’re afraid the break might be under the pool and would require breaking through the concrete to troubleshoot. Both Cook and Mayor Montgomery noted there will be limitations on any opening of the pool due to social distancing. Kiffenea Talley said she would be in favor of the the budgeted troubleshooting. Vice Mayor Still suggested we skip this summer and get a head start on it next year. Most of the board was in favor of the troubleshooting.

Mayor Montgomery noted there is interest in renaming Kelly Field after Paul Henley and in naming a field after the late Coach Jack Williams. Trevor Coffee asked if the soccer complex had a name and it was noted it didn’t. Coffee said that might be a facility to be named for one or both of these men. It was agreed to take no action on the naming. Also, Dr. Coffee noted Interim Parks Director Summer Powell has done a good job, especially in social media, on sharing information on the parks. He also lauded Cook’s efforts on getting some of Hope’s census information in the Municipal League magazine. Dr. Coffee said the farmers market opened Tuesday and he asked about a plaque to honor the Graves family. Cook said they are working on language on the plaque. Also signage for the Hub property was discussed.

Kiffenea Talley asked about the dumping on Experiment Station Road. Cook said they will work on cleaning up the property and checking on “no dumping” signage. Talley also asked about the cameras on the traffic lights on Third. Cook noted these only help the flow of traffic. It was also noted how good the new downtown banners look.

Under Citizens Requests a census Representative lauded the board on the city’s efforts. She told the mayor she would try to get two videos featuring local officials to him for distribution to the media. The meeting then adjourned.