Hope City Board Holds Second Virtual Meeting

The Hope City Board held their second meeting of April on Tuesday evening, meeting virtually once again to continue to adhere to the social distancing measurements put into place by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The Board had 3 ordinances to consider on the agenda and began with an ordinance to waive bids on the undercarriage rebuild of a 2004 Cat D5 Dozer. As this is a vital piece of equipment to the operation of the landfill and repair cost would be over $10,000, the landfill reached out to vendors to compare costs. Three quotes were received; $13,70.15 from Gilchrist Tractor Inc, $12,143.88 from Riggs and $11,581.55 from Heavyquip of Arkansas. City Manager Catherine Cook asked that the Board determine that an exceptional situation exists for these repairs and asked the Board to consider waiving bids due to the urgent need of the equipment. Mayor Steve Montgomery asked if the low quote would be the amount considered and Cook stated that it would be. Director Kiffanie Talley asked if the undercarriage on this piece of equipment had been repaired before and Cook stated that it had been rebuilt in 2013. Cook stated that they had hoped to be able to only replace parts but were unable to do that and it needed a complete rebuild. Director Trevor Coffee asked who repaired the equipment in 2013 and Cook replied that Riggs did the work for the first rebuild. The ordinance was read and the Board voted unanimously to adopt the waive bid ordinance.  

The next agenda item was for a bid waive on the repair of a Link Belt I 30XL excavator. Cook stated that the excavator was in the city shop for repair work. Several repairs were made in order to restore the engine’s power, but after numerous attempts, the units display continued to list electrical problems. Clark Machinery, of Little Rock, was contacted for assistance and upon examination of the machine, the technician identified a number of defects that could be the possible cause of failure. The technician removed the governor and fuel pump for testing and they were found to be malfunctioning. They were replaced with a rebuilt pump and new fuel governor. Testing of the ECU became possible at that time and it was found that the ECU was not functional and needed to be replaced. The repairs were performed at the Public Works Shop and charges for these repairs were billed on two separate invoices, in the amounts of $5,384.98 and $6,576.80, totaling $11,961.48. Current law requires a bid process for items in excess of $10,000 unless a waive bid ordinance is passed by the City Board. Cook stated that it was not possible to follow the competitive bidding process due to unforeseen circumstances and asked the Board for emergency authorization to waive competitive bidding for these repairs so that the equipment could be put back into service. Director Don Still asked how long the warranty was for the equipment that was repaired. Tim Blue, with the street department replied that there was a 6 month warranty. Director Trevor Coffee asked how old the machinery was and Blue replied that it was either a 2001 or 2002. Cook stated that this was equipment that was used regularly. Director Still asked if there was a plan to rotate it out and Director Coffee asked the life expectancy. Blue responded that it is relatively low on engine hours, but it has had a long life, he stated that they are going to try to get at least 5 more years out of it. The ordinance was read and the board voted unanimously to adopt the waive bid ordinance.

The Board was also asked to consider a waive bid ordinance on the repair of the City of Hope Rail Spur. Cook stated that on April 13, a locomotive operated by Union Pacific Rail Road along the City of Hope Industrial Park Rail Line was delivering materials to the rail-using industries in the Hope Industrial Park when four cars derailed. The derailment obstructed the rail line and resulted in damage to the main line track, rendering the track unusable and preventing the delivery of raw materials to the rail users. Due to the critical nature of the track condition it was necessary to restore the track to operating condition as soon as possible. The City retained Hulcher Professional Services from Shreveport, Louisiana to re-rail the cars. Total costs for the re-railment were $41,500.00 and included equipment, labor, travel expenses and related incidental costs. Cook stated that the actual charges ended up being around $37,000. Due to a bid process being required for items in excess of $10,000, the City requested the board approve a waive bid ordinance for these repairs. The sudden nature of this occurrence and the urgency of restoring the track to service did not allow for competitive bidding procedures to procure services. The ordinance was read and the Board unanimously voted to approve the waive bid ordinance.

Catherine Cook updated the Board on the actions of the City of Hope crews on COVID-19 response. She stated that the city is maintaining operations in light of the pandemic and everything is going well. Cook stated that they are maintaining social distancing and city services are being continued. The only place that has been closed completely has been the Depot, as that is a possible high risk location due to people in and out of the area. The parks are still partially open, citizens may walk in the Park and fish at Huckabee Lake, but the public is not able to use any park equipment. They are continuing to work on the fields in the event things open back up and games can be played. She stated that she is still watching COVID information. Cook also said that they have received the paperwork for the CARES Act funds for the airport and she will have it completed and sent off on Wednesday.

For the City Managers report, Cook stated that the street committee will be meeting soon with recommendations on which streets to overlay. She informed the Board that the low bidder for the Class IV landfill should receive his contractor’s license on April 24 and if so, those bids will be brought before the Board at the first meeting in May. Cook stated that per request, postcards on the 2020 Census have been distributed to restaurants to be placed with to go orders. She said that the 2020 Census response rate is close to 50%, but it still needs to be better. The sign at Northside Park has been installed and flower beds have been done at Fair Park. Cook stated that she hopes all parks can be branded with a similar sign over time.

Director Trevor Coffee asked for an update on the Atwoods Property. Cook stated that they will close on it tomorrow.

Director Coffee asked if she had received anything on the Industrial Park Survey. Cook stated that they received the survey last Friday, the appraiser is working on the appraisal and she has written the letter to the FAA, as well as visited with them to let them know the letter is coming.

The next City Board meeting will be held on May 5, 2020.

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