Fri March 19, 2021

By Dillan Kelsey

Hope City Board on HW&L Bonds and Sanitation Rates
The Hope City Board met this week with a couple items on the agenda. The meeting began with the pledge and invocation followed by approval of the minutes from the last meeting.

The board discussed the consideration of the resolution pertaining to the Hope Water & Light bonds and Russell Cornelius shared information on this item. The resolution was prepared by Ryan Bowman, Bond Counsel for HW&L relating to the issuance of revenue bonds for the HW&L Fiber Optic Project. The resolution allows reimbursement to HW&L project expenses that occur before the issue of the bonds and the resolution has been reviewed by City Attorney Randy Wright. It states, "The resolution declaring the intent of the City of Hope, Arkansas to issue revenue bonds and to reimburse itself for certain expenditures from the proceeds of such bonds: and prescribing other matters relating there to." Cornelius shared that they hope to provide 1 gigabyte with an average price of $55 to $60 a month and discussing offering packages. The resolution was passed after being read to the board by Wright with an amount of $16.4 million.

According to HWL records, as of December 2020 the City of Hope Sanitation services had approximately 3,665 residential customers and 510 commercial customers for a total customer base of 4,175. This is an approximate 88% to 12% customer ratio. Residential revenues for December 2020 were $55,263.63 compared to commercial revenues of $47,241.33 or a 54% to 46% revenue ratio. Revenues are calculated on a current residential monthly service cost of $15.30 per household and the average commercial cost of $4.25 per cubic yard. Residential customer revenues for the 2020 calendar year were $657,614.13. Commercial revenues were $591,642.43. Total annual revenues were $1,249,256.56 for these two services. The annual residential to commercial revenue ratio was approximately 53% to 47 %. Commercial waste collected is approximately 396 cubic yards per week (cys/w) and residential is approximately 200 cys/w. In 2020, Commercial trash contributed approximately 66% of the annual class 1 solid-waste while generating only 47% of the annual revenue. Over the past serval years, the Sanitation Department revenue has not been sufficient to meet the bare needs of the Department. Administrative staff made the following estimated adjustments to the proposed 2021 sanitation budget in order to present a balanced budget to the Board of Directors in December 2020. Evidence indicates that current revenues are insufficient to support ongoing Sanitation Operations over the long term. The agenda consisted of a printout of the attempt to provide sufficient and necessary evidence to support the changes to sanitation operations and rate structures. The City's Sanitation Department has been in the red area for the last few years and the board projects there will need to be an increase in the future to sustain their work. Assistant City Manager JR Wilson shared information with the board on this topic. With the City having 3,665 residential customers and around 510 commercial, the current service for residential is $15.30 per house and commercial is about $4.25 per cubic yard. Revenue for residential was approximately $657,000 and around $590,000 for commercial and Wilson stated revenue has been meeting the bare minimum for the last few years. The board took no action on the item and will re-discuss the matter after more evaluation at the next meeting.

City Manager, Catherine Cook shared under her report that the Patmos Road Project is moving at a good speed and is projected to be finished soon. She also recommended the city look into ways of better preparation for inclement storms like the one we have just experienced. She went on to share that the city is working toward opening the park more but is experiencing issues with people leaving on things like the lights over the park and action may need to be taken.

The meeting was adjourned and they will reconvene fot their next regular meeting.