The Hope City Board met this week, September 15 at the Hope Fair Park Community Center for their first in person meeting since the pandemic began. Having it here allowed the board members and members of the audience to properly social distance and meet while still following COVID-19 guidelines. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Steve Montgomery. The board reviewed and approved the minutes from their last meeting after invocation and the pledge.
The board considered two different ordinances during the meeting. One for the General Fund Millage and another for the Fireman Pension Millage. The proposed General Fund Millage ordinance sets the City’s real and personal property tax rates at 5 mills. The City is required by the State of Arkansas to re-establish the rates each year. The Quorum Court, will formally establish the rates for all taxing entities in the county upon receipt at their November meeting. The rate in the ordinance is unchanged from the rate for 2020. The City received an amount of $459,762 in general property tax revenue from 2019. The board adopted the ordinance. The proposed ordinance for the Fireman Pension property tax rates at 1 mill for both real and personal property. The rate in the ordinance is unchanged from last year. The Firemen’s Pension Fund received $85,778 as a result of this millage in 2019. The board adopted this ordinance as well.
Since the Atwood’s and Kopecky properties were bought by the City of Hope and Tourism Commission, the Board has requested information about how the works on property donation of the parking lot, so the National Park Service might continue. The first three steps in doing this would involve the City. City Manager, Catherine Cook requested information from Ms. Armstrong to determine if the property will need to be surveyed and evaluated. There will need to be discussion to determine the section of property that the City wants to retain for the Veteran’s park, but this will be brought back to the meeting for discussion when more information becomes available.
City Manager, Cook gave an update on some current projects in her meeting report. She began with saying that the 2020 Census will be done around the 30th of this month but an extension is being considered to allow for as many participants as possible. She said the numbers of people doing their census is not as high as they’d like. She shared further the importance of filling out your census saying that it benefits all communities in so many ways. Cook later shared information on the Class IV landfill, saying that project work is due to be complete within the next month or two. She shared that the rail spur project has been delayed due to rain and weather conditions. Don Still, Vice-Mayor shared that he was receiving phone calls from individuals pertaining to the parks being partially shutdown for the pandemic. He shared that he believes the business brought in by the park to some of our local restaurants and business is being taken away due to the closing of the park. No immediate action was requested but the topic needs to be rediscussed over the next few weeks, he shared.
Director Mark Ross mentioned the old Boy Scout building on the fairgrounds and Cook answered that the board had agreed to tear it down and build a storage unit for the parks and recreation department but the project was put on hold after the pandemic began.
The board meeting was adjourned and they will reconvene at their next monthly meeting that will most likely held in the community center room for social distancing.