Hope City Board

The Hope City Board met Tuesday for their first meeting of August. First up, Jim Hunter of the Klipsch Museum offered a proposal for the Klipsch Museum to lease and revitalize the Paul Klipsch Auditorium that occupies the second and third floor of City Hall. Hunter proposed that the city allow them to lease the auditorium exclusively. Their plans would call for using it in part as a demonstration room for Klipsch products, using it for classroom space, use it for events, offer a downtown presence for the Klipsch Museum, and possibly develop the space into a movie theater. The board asked questions and it was noted the auditorium has only been used twice in the last twelve months. It isn’t used very much since Hempsead Hall was built. It was noted it rented most recently for $100 per day. Hunter asked that the rent be comparable to the rent the Museum pays for their building at the airport. The board voted to allow Hunter to meet with City Attorney Joe Short to develop a lease.

The board looked at bids on new playground equipment for Northside Park and Fair Park. The playground committee, consisting of Dolly Henley, Stan Nix, Summer Powell, and Paul Henley, recommended accepting a bid of $104,946.60 from Parkworld Systems of New Orleans for Northside. The committee recommended accepting a bid of $104,879.50 from MRC, Inc. of Sea Grit, New Jersey for Fair Park. There was discussion on putting the Northside equipment in the footprint of the old swimming pool.. Board member Mark Ross also suggested putting a fence around the Northside playground as motorists frequently drive into the grass at Northside. City Manager Catherine Cook noted the bids are on budget. Board member Kiffenea Talley asked if benches were included in the bids and it was noted they aren’t. Cook suggested the civic clubs could possibly provide benches. The board then accepted the bids.

Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson provided the board with some changes proposed for the personnel handbooks. There was a discussion on comp time. There was a discussion on what constitutes” light duty”. Board member Dr. Linda Clark asked for some written clarification in the term. The board approved the policies.

The board looked at the financials for the city for the first six months of the year. They showed the general fund revenue for the first six months was $2,410,108.45 and the budget for the year is $4,944,769. The board of directors dues and printing cost was over $936, chiefly because the city had to publish a long ordinance in the newspaper. The police administration vehicle repairs and parts was over budget $456. Most of the budgets overall were in line on the budget. Cook noted the swimming pool maintenance is high due to some lightning damage due to pool equipment. Cook noted the pool chemicals are fine but the pool is cloudy and won’t be open to the public until it clears up. Cook says they don’t know what the problem is and it may not reopen this year. Cook noted the rail spur is almost finished and the airport drainage project for this year is finished. There were questions on airplane fuel. Leachate management was over budget about $12,000 because the city had to replace some pumps. No action was taken on the report.

Under the city manager’s report, Catherin Cook noted the city wide clean up resulted in 760 cubic yards collected, an increase of almost 50% over last year’s pre-watermelon festival clean-up.

Before the meeting adjourned, Director Mark Ross thanked the city for the roof on the Lions Den at the park. A .T.&T. was discussed and it was noted they aren’t responding to calls from the city. Mayor Steve Montgomery said the Fair Park looked good for the festival this weekend. Director Reggie Easter thanked the city for having three abandoned houses demolished. Board member Kiffenea Talley asked about the new Northside Park sign. She thought it was advertising the playground and not the park. Cook suggested they can change the sign. Dr. Linda Clark suggested metal signs like Fair Park has be installed at Northside. The meeting then adjourned.