City appointees all returned to new terms; Hall honored

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
As far as most nights go at the Hope City Board of Director, Tuesday night’s meeting was as straight forward as its own agenda as the board reappointed all commission terms, including the HWL Commission, Tourism Commission and Planning & Zoning Board, all by unanimous votes after a short eight minute executive session.
And, as also expected, there were standing ovations and tribute to speeches as Don Hall, the longtime Ward 4 board member, was honored for his 16 continuous years of service. Hall was appointed to the seat in 2002, after J.C. Winemiller, who was also appointed to the seat; he served eight years.
Current Mayor Steve Montgomery said, “Don has served the City of Hope and its citizens well; I appreciate his service.”
Former Mayor Dennis Ramsey, who was also present Tuesday night, said that he had originally approached Hall, before tapping Winemiller, and then approached Hall a second time about the seat.
When Don Still made his comments about serving with Hall, Hall joked back, “Still’s been up there a 100 years,” to an outburst of laughter.
Still praised Hall’s “open mind and good wisdom” during his service on the board.
The evening’s other big order of business were the city commission’s reappointments, which basically renewed everyone that was listed on the board’s own agenda issued before the meeting last Friday.
As expected, the board reappointed Dennis Ramsey to a new five-year term to the Hope Water and Light Commission.
Kathy Akin and Mike Smith were both reappointed to serve three-year terms. the Planning and Zoning Commission. Juan Rivera was also reappointed to his seat on Tourism Commission for four years, with board member Trevor Coffee approved for another one year term.
Finally, current board member Mark Ross was named to another one-year term on the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation. Ross was not present Tuesday night due to an urgent family health issue.
Montgomery said that appointees to the Airport Advisory board and Beautification board were still to be considered at a later time.
Other than the known incumbent appointees listed publicly on the agenda the week before, it was unknown or publicly unannounced whether other interested citizens had applied or expressed interest in serving.
In other business on Tuesday night:
• A special called budget meeting of the Tourism Commission was held following the regularly scheduled Hope City Board meeting on Tuesday night. SWARK Today was present, and there will be a separate short report filed later today. That meeting held saw board members Montgomery and Still join Paul Henley and Tourism Chair Sharon Caldwell in a budget review that lasted over an hour and a half after the Tuesday regular meeting at City Hall.
• City Manger Catherine Cook delivered short updates about three ongoing projects, including the downtown pavilion, airport drainage project, and rail spur.
• The board approved a $12,270 bid to repair the undercarriage of the designated city airport bulldozer used at the airport. HeavyQuip, Inc. of Little Rock had the low bid and will do the repairs.
• Civitan President Darrell Davis spoke to the board about using the new Downtown Pavilion for their annual community garage sale happening later this year; proceeds from the sale go to fund a scholarship, Davis said. The board voted the to allow the club to use the pavilion.
• Linda Clark, the current Ward 4 board member, was also absent Tuesday night.

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