Thu August 20, 2020

By Dillan Kelsey

Hope City Board Discusses Urban Hunting, WWTP Repairs, Streetscape, and Police Policy Updates

The Hope City Board met Tuesday, August 18, via Zoom for their regular monthly meeting. 

The board reviewed the minutes from last meeting and motioned to approve them before moving to the first item of business.

Every year the Board is asked to approve urban bow hunting in the City of Hope. Bow hunting season begins September 26, 2020 and ends February 28, 2021. City Manager Catherine Cook asked the board if they are in favor of approving the request, and they voted for approval. 

Sunday July 5, 2020, the UV System at the West Waste Water TP sustained extensive electrical damage after being struck by lightning. The 2020 budget for the WW Department did not include sufficient funds under the budget item to account for the cost of the repairs to the UV system. The system is completely down and not functioning at this time and chlorine is being used to disinfect the treated water for now. The total cost to purchase the equipment needed for reparations is $11,500. Current law requires a bid process for items exceeding $10,000 in cost unless the city passes a waive bid ordinance. The equipment needed is made by Trojan Technologies Inc. and is highly specialized, therefore it is not possible to follow the competitive bidding process in procuring the material for the repairs. The board approved the purchase of the equipment and voted to waive the bidding process. 

The board reviewed the options for the Streetscape Project that will take place downtown and going towards the Clinton Birthplace. The project engineer with ArDOT showed that the estimated cost for the project exceeded the budget. The original project budget equalled $575,000 with $480,000 that was going to be provided throughout ehTAPS grant and an additional $115,000 from the City of Hope through Tourism. An updated budget was provided showing $602,219 and $74,042 on railroad work. Cook said the ARDOT says no additional funds are available right now, but that the city could search for additional funding through the Tourism Commission or ultimately reduce the scale of the project to cut costs. The topic was tabled for this meeting and will be revisited after more information is obtained. 

Chief of Police JR Wilson was on the line to share information of the police policy updates. Wilson encouraged the the board to allow the police to make a few changes to the current Hope Police Department’s “Response to Resistance” policy. The main changes being discussed are regarding duty to intervene and adding statement about de-escalation, duty to care for people in police custody, cessation of force, failure to submitting to arrest, lateral vascular neck restraints and choke holds. Also, adding statements about when deadly force action is reasonable, safety, the departments goals to protect civil and constitutional rights and tactical considerations. The topic was tabled to allow the board to study and review the changes to the policy. 

Cook shared updates on projects and matters within the City of Hope. The basketball courts have been taped off but recently, the tape is being removed by citizens so the idea of temporarily removing the goals from the courts was discussed for consideration. Director Don Still shared that he was not in favor of restricting access to the courts because schools are allowing football. Other board members shared opinions on the matter resulting in Cook saying they will take action on the matter. Director Reginald Easter suggested signage take place on the matter. 

The meeting was adjourned and the board will reconvene next month for their regular monthly meeting.