Hope City Board hears Tuesday night of project to fix airport drainage system, agrees to assist Tyson hatchery project

Jordan Culver from Garver Engineering updated the Hope Board of Directors on financing options for drainage work at the Hope Municipal Airport

The second regular City of Hope Board of Directors meeting of February took place Tuesday night, as can be seen in its entirety on the city's facebook page, beginning promptly at 7:00 p.m. with two items not on the agenda: a proclamation of Black History Month and then news pertaining to the project to fix drainage and grounds issues at the Hope Municipal Airport. Then the board moved through several other items. An executive session lasting ten minutes took place with no action announced prior to adjournment.

Before the meeting, the city directors posed for photographs which will be placed in the hallway outside the board's meeting room.

After the call to order, the invocation and the pledge of allegiance, Mayor Don Still recognized City Attorney Randall Wright who read a proclamation making February Black History Month in Hope.

Next, Jordan Culver of Garver Engineering said the cost of the $1,255,000 project to repair drainage issues at the Hope Municipal Airport will be covered by federal and state funds except for a $95,000 shortfall. He recommended applying for an additional grant. If the grant is not won, he recommended a grant be applied for that might pay off in 2024.

Interim City Manager J.R. Wilson recommended the project be continued, since it would eventually be fully-funded by state and federal sources, except for a ten percent allotment from the city that would be reimbursed by the state. The aye votes on a motion to continue the project were unanimous from the board.

Then Mike Davis from Tyson Foods appeared at the podium to advocate for the city to become the conduit for $71 million in industrial revenue bonds to finance a new hatchery in Hope. The Agenda Information concerning the bonds said, "The City would not be called upon to pay any costs or expenses incurred in connection with the authorization and issuance of the bonds, and all such costs and expenses would be paid out of the proceeds of the bonds or by the Company." Davis thanked the directors for their help. City Attorney Randal Wright then read the resolution for the plan. The directors voted in favor unanimously.

Next, a policy was changed with regard to listing items on the city's Fixed Asset list. These items would be "assets which are purchased for long-term use and are not likely to be converted quickly into cash, such as land, buildings and equipment." The city's auditing firm recommended that items below $5,000 not be listed. Wilson recommended the directors vote in favor of this policy to simplify the accounting process. The directors voted unanimously in favor of a motion to do so.

For the next item, Hope Street Superintendent Kenneth Harvel presented the 2023 Street Milling and Overlay Program, which lists 14 addresses to be treated, including the 1400-1800 block of North Spruce, expected to use 783 tons of material, and the 1000-1200 block of Park Drive, expected to use 674 tons. The cost as budgeted was $358,494, but it is expected to cost $390,857. The expectation, said Wilson, is that funds from the Timber Creek Association will help address the gap, but if it doesn't, a budget amendment may be necessary. The directors approved the program unanimously.

The next item involved a request from the Hope Downtown Network. Wilson said, "What downtown network is asking the city to do is to let the City of Hope Tourism Commission sponsor both Train Day and Trade Day, we believe that there could be some benefit and reliability purposes and less costs to the Downtown Network." If both events continue to take place the same day, (this year's is May 6), liability claims against the Downtown Network can be avoided. The Hope Advertising and Tourism Commission would have to vote in favor of this merging prior to its implementation. No action was taken.

The January Financial Report was presented by Cindy Clark, Finance Director. Board members asked her about items from the 16-page report that appeared to show spending ahead of a pace to exceed 2023 budget projections. These most often reflected one-time expenses or cost increases. The motion to accept the report passed unanimously. During the discussion the idea again was mentioned by Director Kiffinea Talley of the city requiring licensing for cats. "That would help fund it," she said, referring to Animal Control's facility, She said she'd like to see this on the agenda in the future.

To take advantage of a pilot program whereby the Arkansas Department of Transportation reimburses cities for the mowing and trimming of grass at interstate interchanges, the city passed a resolution to take part.

During Wilson's City Manager Report, he told the directors to expect agenda items soon on airport fencing repair, structure lights around City Hall and a value report on the city's timber. A drainage issue reported at the 700 block of West 15th Street is receiving the Street Department's attention but a more permanent solution is needed that may be brought to the directors. Two protrusions of electrical grounding rods at The Pavilion Park will need addressing as tripping hazards.

Wilson also announced that a lawsuit had been filed against the city pertaining to a car accident. City Attorney Randall Wright said he believed the city could be allowed out of it since it had likely been served to the city in error. The Hope Housing Authority would have the liability should the suit be successful.

A Freedom of Information Act request had employees working on fulfilling it by providing payroll records. Wilson said he didn't know whether Hope Water and Light had received the same request.

At this Mayor Still called an executive session. The directors absented themselves for ten minutes. When they returned, Still announced no action would be taken.

The meeting ended with a show of photos from both the Sixth Street and Streetscape projects, which are in the construction phase.

  • Street Superintendent Kenneth Harvel

  • Finance Director Cindy Clark