The Hope City Board met Tuesday February 4th at City Hall. Following the approval of the minutes the board looked at a request from New Millennium. The company is asking to rent the airport hanger. The company wanted to use the hanger in April for a gathering of 50 people and for their Christmas party for 320 people. City Manager Catherine Cook noted the board had asked in the past that any rental requests come through the board. Cook said she has already had a call from an aircraft owner who rents the hanger who has concerns. Mayor Steve Montgomery noted he understood why the city wouldn’t rent it despite New Millennium being a good partner. Board member Mark Ross said he had talked with someone who had asked to rent the hanger but was told by a city representative the hanger was no longer rented. Cook noted she understood why owners would be apprehensive about their planes suffering damage in such a situation. City Attorney Joe Short noted a worse case scenario would be that damage would not be found to a plane until it was in the air. Spectator Randal Ross explained some of the situations planes could get into should there be a 40 mile an hour wind or should a propeller get spun while a magneto was hot. He named a couple of other situations which could go wrong. Board member Kiffenea Talley noted she had such concerns from the beginning. The board voted to no longer lease the area that encloses the planes as an activity venue.
The board declared a 2006 Sterling trash truck, a 2011 Freightliner commercial backup truck, and a 1991 Chevy pickup surplus property. The property will be sold via online auction.
The board looked at amending the Capital Outlay budget. The budget had been approved to purchase two new Dodge Charger sedan cruisers with the police package. Dodge is not producing those this year and Ford is not producing a police sedan either. The only vehicles available with the police package are SUV’s. Chief J.R. Wilson asked that the board allow the department to buy a Ford SUV Hybrid. This vehicle would allegedly save gas and offer more safety measures. If the department buys the Ford SUV the department would save $32,000 this year or $39,000 if they bought a Dodge Durango. The original budget was $90,000 for two fully equipped police sedans. The board voted to buy the Ford SUV Hybrid.
The board had asked the city manager to get an appraisal on the former Dox/Otasco property on East 2nd. The Hope Downtown Network had requested the city forgive the lien against the property which the city had placed against the property when they tore it down. It cost $37,500 to tear down the building. The appraised value is $13,000. Mayor Steve Montgomery suggested the owner, Tena Carter, donate the property to the city. Hope Downtown Network President Bob Erwin expressed his concern that unless a deal is struck the property will remain vacant. Board member Kiffenea Talley stated her opposition to the proposal. She and Erwin discussed their opinions. Board member Trevor Coffee made a motion the city forgive the lien if the lot is donated for the pocket park. The motion passed with Talley voting against the proposal.
The board looked at a request for a rezoning request from B & R Building Supply at 2215 South Main. The property is zoned C-3, General Retail and C-4 Office Commercial. The request is to rezone it C-2, Highway Commercial. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend the rezoning request. The board approved an ordinance approving the rezoning.
Under the City Manager’s Report, Catherine Cook updated the board on several projects. She noted the city has a received approval from Planning and Zoning for an appropriately 4 x 6 sign for North Side Park. Cook noted a couple of projects which are nearly complete. She noted the F.A.A. visited recently and asked the city to adjust their planning to reflect a lack of grant funding for this year. Cook said she had outlined the city’s request for several acres to be sold in the industrial park for a possible new industry. She also noted the city has received an ADEQ response on the city landfill. Cook said the city intends to give a presentation on the city’s plan for the property. She also talked about the Arkansas Municipal League Winter Conference. Mayor Montgomery asked about the Street Scape project from downtown to the Clinton Birthplace and Cook updated on the sale of the Atwood’s property on the north side of 2nd Street. Board Member Coffee asked about the proposed sign for Pavilion Park at Elm and 2nd. Cook explained about her efforts to determine if the desired sign can be produced. Coffee also asked about the drainage problems at the airport and Cook noted there hasn’t been any immediate improvement. She noted the pipe has failed under the main runway and it is not scheduled to be fixed until the end of the airport project.
Police Chief and Assistant City Manager J.R..Wilson gave a report on a recent ArDOT meeting detailing Issue 1 coming up on the ballot and the importance of this passing and continuing a sales tax to fund state road maintenance and improvements. Board member Mark Ross suggested passing a resolution in support of this measure. Assistant City Manager Wilson suggested if this measure doesn’t pass it could impact the new feed mill planned for the western part of the county.
Cook noted the 6th Street project is still waiting for Centerpoint and A.T. & T. to finish.
Patsy White of 7th and Edgewood told the board that her sanitation problems are due to the city. White says Centerpoint says the city should be responsible. The board asked that the city employees check White’s situation. White also asked about when her driveway culvert will be changed. She was advised the culvert was her responsibility.
It was noted The Garden Bros. Circus is coming this week but will not bring elephants. The meeting then adjourned.