By Rick Kennedy, with Wednesday update
Residential garbage collection was the big beneficiary of the night at Tuesday’s Hope City Board of Directors meeting as the board purchased both a new truck for $139,250 and new garbage bags for another $39,960. It was all in a night’s work for the city board, which also dealt with topics ranging from a rezoning to a future ordinance for cell transponder attachments.
The new residential garbage truck was the big ticket item, and the board of directors opted for a 2019 Freightliner with New Way Cobra Rear Loader, which was the second-lowest bid by Arkansas Municipal Equipment.
The first bid — and low bid — also from Arkansas Municipal Equipment — did not meet specifications, according to City Manager Catherine Cook.
“This new truck will replace a 2010 Sterling model which will be retained for a backup truck,” Cook said.
In connection with its residential garbage pickup, the City of Hope has long provided plastic bags for residents twice a year, and an annual purchase for the City is a new supply of the bags for distribution.
Two out of three bids, one from Central Poly and the other from Houston Poly, were from well-known vendors, who had done business with the City of Hope before as a bag supplier. Central Poly had come in as the lower bid, at $39,400, compared with $39,960 for Houston Poly, but Sanitation Department Head Nathaniel Holyfield touted the better quality of the Houston Poly bags as he bought samples of each vendor’s bags for the board to examine.
Cook concurred saying, “For $560 more, we believe our residents would be better served and happier with the better quality bags. Our recommendation is for Houston Poly.”
The board approved both the truck and bag purchases unanimously.
In other board actions Tuesday night:
• The board approved a request from Rainbow of Challenges to block off certain streets within downtown for October 26 in connection with the group’s ROCtoberfest Celebration. Jennifer Block of ROC said she was also speaking with other groups in connection with other celebrations, like the annual Trunk or Treat, to make the downtown Halloween season even bigger.
• The board heard from Steve Saum of Hope Water & Light regarding cell transponders on city utility poles and other municipal properties. Saum said local ordinances and standards needed to be developed, so that wireless companies could not come in randomly and set up equipment. Cook said the city and HWL were coordinating efforts to develop a local ordinance for the city board to consider later this year.
• The board also approved a rezoning ordinance, which did involve Reginald and Sarah Easter, so Easter himself had to abstain from voting on the measure. The rezoning, for a doublewide mobile home, had been previously approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Hazel Simpson, however, spoke up, mentioning Easters’ property was adjacent to her own, but that she was not properly notified. Easter, for his part, said he sent out over 48 certified letters to property owners regarding the change.
“He has been next to me for over 48 years and didn’t say a thing to me,” Simpson said.
Kathy Akin, a P&Z commission, said she believed Abstract Company either overlooked Simpson or did not have complete information on the property owners.
• In other City of Hope news, Vice Mayor Don Still said the Kopecky House would soon be removed at a cost of $11,000, which he said would be paid for by the Tourism Commission, which he said would meet this week. Still said the goal was to have the Kopecky House completely removed by the time Bill Clinton showed up on April. Still said plans are to develop the land in to a parking lot for tourists, noting that 10,000 persons a year visit Hope to see the Clinton birthplace.
• In an update Wednesday, Paul Henley confirmed a special-called Tourism Commission meeting set for Thursday, February 7, at 6 p.m. at the Tailgaters Annex.