Hope City Board

The  Hope City Board met Tuesday November 20th.

The meeting opened with a report from Josh Williams on the Bicentennial.  He noted speakers for Hempstead Hall on December 15th at 10am will include Mack McLarty, Joe Purvis, Ellen Turner,and Lavenski Smith.  Williams noted there will be a parade at 1pm and music downtown following the parade.  He said booths are wanted for the downtown event and persons interested in having a booth can contact the Chamber of Commerce.  Williams noted the the event will conclude with fireworks that evening.  He also encouraged all to write a “letter to the future” for the time capsule. Williams said each community is encouraged to put a box of.memorabilia in the time capsule.  Also highlighted were the Bicentennial t-shirts and the commemorative silver coins.

The board considered a proposed ordinance to re-establish the  property tax for the city at 5 mills. This is the same rate at last year.  The ordinance passed.

The board approved the annual millage rate for the firemen’s pension.  The millage was originally set in 2002 at 1 mill.  It is not an increase.  The ordinance passed.

The board discussed a possible change in the requirements of the Municipal Health Insurance.  This would allow the city of Hope and Hope Water and Light retirees yo keep the city health insurance as long as they pay the premiums themselves.  Right now to be eligible you have to work at least 20 years and be at least 55.  Some of the city employees are quite young including some under 21. Conceivably, these employees could retire at 48.  In such cases now the retirees couldn’t keep their city insurance. The board voted to allow employees with 20 years of service who retire at any age to keep this insurance as long as they pay the premiums.

The board looked at the five year capital improvement plan for the Hope Airport.  The program proposed infludes the drainage work at the airport. Currently the city is working in phase 1 of the drainage program which costs approximately a half-million dollars.  Phase 2 will be about$108,000 and the final phase will be about $2 million dollars.  Included in the presentation were pictures of runway flooding at the airport.  The board approved the plan as.presented.

The board looked at a request from the Hope Police.  A police car was in an accident (not the officers’ fault) which resulted in a police car being totaled. The police are asking the board to allow them to use the insurance money of approximately $20,000 to purchase the newest, low milage Chevy Impala from Hope Auto GM.  Board member Mark Ross asked why the person whose car was totaled is driving her personal car at the moment. Lt. Jimmy Courtney and the City Manager noted the officer in question, Assistant Chief Tomlin, would probably respond to a call with another officer in a patrol or police vehicle. The board voted to pursue purchasing a used Impala from Hope Auto for Assistant Chief Tomlin.  The board voted to waive competitive bidding on the purchase and to begin working with Hope Auto on obtaining a suitable vehicle.  The vote in favor of the purchase and waive bid ordinance was not unanimous with Director Mark Ross voting against. The police will stay within the insurance settlement funds.

Under the city manager’s report, Catherine Cook showed the city’s website and noted the citizens mobile “3-1-1″ portal is up on hopearkansas.net.  She also noted the”code red” portal on the website.

Cook gave details on the annual city employees luncheon in December. She also noted the Chamber has requested the city continue it’s agreement for services with the Chamber for another year.  The board considered giving the annual city employees’ Christmas bonuses.  Board member Mark Ross moved they make the bonus $125 this year. The bonus passed.

The board discussed changing the time for the December 4th meeting due to the Arkansas Symphony concett.  The board decided to move the meeting to December 10th at 7pm.  The board also voted to move the meeting scheduled for January 1st to January 8th. The meeting then adjourned.